I have a friend who always seems concerned about what others think of her as a parent. She worries what people think of how her daughter is dressed, what she says, the lunch she sends with her to preschool, and so on.
I only had a few moments of “what must they think?” in my parenting life up until a year or two ago.
For instance, there was a mom I really wanted to get to know better but every time she brought her child over for a play date, my son would do something like throw up or pee on the floor. I know she thought we were loony, though my son was perfectly behaved 95% of the time when she wasn’t around. Did your child ever do weird things in front of one particular person?
Now, I think I finally understand how moms can fret about what others must think. Kids will always have their moments – and it seems they happen in front of those other moms whose children are so well behaved.
But know this: those moms also have trying moments. You might be seeing their kids at their best, but there is no mom on this earth who doesn’t want to pull her hair out over her kids at least five times in a week.
And if they don’t feel that way now, they should know it’s coming down the road. I know, because my son was one of those who shamed others with his seemingly impeccable manners and calm demeanor – until he turned three.
Certainly, children are a reflection of their parents and home life. But should we really get wrapped up in what other moms think when they witness a meltdown at the end of a play date? Or when your kid tells a stranger they’re fat?
Kids are going to do and say embarrassing things, probably for the rest of their lives, I figure. I am going to try to give less thought to what others are thinking of me and my family while we’re doing our best to wade through the trying moments of parenting. After all, that other mom has her own embarrassing moments to contend with, right?
As I write this it’s sounding quite noble and perhaps a tad unrealistic.
Tell me, how much do you worry what others think of you and your children?
My toddler entered the kitchen and stopped in his tracks when he saw me. He said loudly: “Poop!”
Usually he tells me just after he has done a nasty in his diaper. But how can that be, I thought. I just changed you a minute ago.
Then I looked at the chunk of chocolate cake in my hand.
He thought I was eating the poop!
Thinking back to that very recent diaper change, yes, I could see how he might make that connection. The area where I normally change my baby was cluttered, so I’d laid him on the bathmat on the floor. Somehow the ball of poo had rolled out of the diaper onto the floor, to his amusement. (It was that not-yet-smushed-because-I-did-it-standing-up-and-didn’t-sit-in-it-yet kind of poop.)
After cleaning everything thoroughly, and lamenting a pile of other things that seemed to be going wrong that day, I had next ventured to the kitchen for some chocolate therapy. That’s where he found me a minute later.
“It’s CAKE,” I told him earnestly, grasping what he now understood one was to do with the poop after a diaper change.
“POOP,” he insisted, looking confused and skeptical.
It actually was the same color, though I certainly hadn’t been thinking of that when I was eating it…
“Cake, cake, cake!” I showed him the spot where the cake had been kept covered on the counter. Only now it was empty.
I was losing the battle. So I offered him a taste. He inched forward and took a tentative nibble. He said, “Good!”
I only hope now that I haven’t convinced him poop tastes like chocolate cake!
A neighbor once told me very directly – almost accusingly – “You know, your son looks nothing like you.”
It hurt a bit. I’m not really sure why. It’s a fact, after all, sort of like saying “his hair is brown”.
I know we don’t look alike at all. I love that he looks like a complete, tiny replica of my husband.
Yet there’s a nagging feeling that our son is mine, too, so why can’t anyone see me in him? (It’s there! Really, if you look closely, you can see he has a small patch of red hairs, maybe 5 or 10, right in the midst of his deep chocolaty brown head of hair.)
As fate would have it, our second son looks just like me. In fact, the nurse in the hospital referred to him as a “little white boy”, pretty much counting out my husband’s Indian heritage.
My husband figures that the first child always looks like the father, at least at first. It’s an ancient evolutionary fact, he says, that keeps the dad around. The thought is that if the child looks like the dad, it serves as confirmation he’s the real father, preserving the family.
I’m skeptical. I don’t know that you can tell who a newborn looks like. Though I’m a mother two times over, most newborns look the same to me. It’s after a few weeks when their features start to become more distinct, I feel.
Regardless, now my husband and I joke that we each have one. The funny thing is, though, the little boy who looks like his dad seems to have his mom’s personality while the one who looks like mom acts like dad through and through in his mannerisms.
And in the end, it doesn’t matter one bit who each of our children looks like. We love them just the same and wouldn’t want them to look any different.
What about your family?
Moms run the universe, and everyone finds this out when Mom gets sick. At least in our house they do. How about in yours?
What happens in your house when Mommy is sick?
- Not much differently – she takes whatever medicine she can and ploughs through it all in a fog.
- The babysitter and a maid are called in (otherwise known as grandparents and willing friends to some) while Mom gets much needed rest.
- Daddy takes over and most things happen as they need to (well, except for the massive cleanup required upon Mom’s recovery).
I found out that ours is a Type C household recently.
I came down with a stomach virus that knocked me off my feet for about 36 hours. I almost never get sick, THAT kind of sick, so I was pleased, grateful – and also vaguely unaware (at the time) of just what a great job my husband did taking care of the kids.
He did exactly what was needed to keep the kids safe and happy – all I could have asked for.
When Daddy takes over
My husband is not the sort of guy who comes home from work, juggles two whining kids, cooks dinner and ushers in bath and bedtime all by himself normally. (I know they're out there!)
While he has strategies for when he has to care for both at the same time, he’s never done it for more than two or three hours at a time – and usually one is sleeping.
I spent the entire Sunday in bed, delirious and shivering under mounds of blankets. My husband scrounged leftovers from the fridge for lunch, ordered dinner out for a special treat, and made sure he and the kids ate well. He had them bathed and in bed on time. There were few tears throughout the day, and both kids had a bit of mommy cuddling time – but not too much.
I was impressed.
Granted, when I woke up nearly normal the next day, the house was in complete disarray and laundry had piled up. (I’m sure the babysitter and maid would have made an appearance had I been sick for a week.) But all in all, I was just so happy to have been able to get the rest I needed to kick that stomach bug without the stress of worrying about the kids, too.
So, do tell. What happens in your house when Mommy is knocked out?