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?
If you’re a mom with a baby turning into a toddler, you may be looking forward to setting up play dates. It sounds like a great excuse to dress up your kid, get out of the house, and spend time with another mom while your kids play together happily.
Looking forward to stimulating conversation? A heart-to-heart with a kindred soul?
Actually it goes more like this: You ask a question, miss the answer as you spend the rest of the time playing referee for the kids, then forget what it was you really wanted to know from your friend.
And then you remember when you’re on the way home in the car. So you text her later during naptime. Or send her a message through Facebook. That’s where moms really talk.
The play date conversation is more like this. Imagine you’re meeting your friend at a park.
YOU: So, how are you doing with the new job? Caleb, don’t put that in your mouth! Give me that!
OTHER MOM: Ugh, do you need a wipe? The job? I’m settling in. It’s harder than I thought…
YOU: (Interrupting) Where did he go? He was just here. Caleb! Caleb! Oh, there he is.
OTHER MOM: Oh, I wanted to ask you, is Caleb going to summer camp this year?
YOU: Yes, I’ve got him signed up. What about Jaden? Oh no, he’s trying to take that boy’s truck. I’ll be right back…
JADEN (OTHER MOM’S KID): Truck! Truck! I want my truck!
OTHER MOM: You didn’t bring it honey (followed by tears and screams).
YOU: What were we talking about?
OTHER MOM: Yikes it’s 11:30 already. We’ve got to run. It was nice seeing you!
At least it feels that’s the way it goes sometimes. How about your play dates? Any secrets to happy play and a great conversation? Or does it all smooth out at a certain age? Do tell!