Thursday, April 9, 2015

I used to be the PERFECT mommy!!!....Then, I actually had children of my own....

So, I was that girl. Not married yet, no kids, mild responsibilities, and I. Knew. Everything. Seriously, how hard was it to be a mom? I mean, I had younger siblings, my mom had a daycare in our home for a little, and I worked in a daycare myself for a WHOLE year! I knew all the mistakes other moms made that I, obviously, would never make myself! This post is making me laugh already :). Because, what I didn't know, is that I really didn't know anything at all. Isn't that how we do things? We look at an isolated incident in someone's life, assume we know everything about them, and we pick them completely apart? Just me? Hopefully, but I don't think so ;). I've been learning more and more lately to realize I have no idea what someone is truly going through, why they do what they do, or even who they truly are. It doesn't mean I have to accept inappropriate behavior. But, I have been learning that I am {surprisingly} not always right ;).

So, just for fun, here a few of my mommy judgments, that I've since learned interesting lessons about.

Hmm. Let's see. My judgmental little Mommy self started younger than you might think. I was somewhere in the "younger than 4 years old" range, and overheard some mamas talking in the nursery about a little boy that I knew. He had taken off his diaper, and wiped all of it's contents on his bedroom wall. {note: This part might get a little graphic. If poopie grosses you out, skip down a few lines.}. My only thought was that I hoped his mommy cleaned that up before I went to his house to play next time. Until..... One of the mamas made the statement that this particular boy's mama needed to get control of her boys. Ya'll, she had 3 boys UNDER the age of 5. But, my little heart had no idea the challenges she faced everyday, and obviously this mama I was hearing knew what she was talking about. I have spent the past 30 years, remembering that family as those three unruly boys that needed much more guidance from their mommy than they were getting. Fast forward to present day haha. And I have a lovely, kind, caring child that not only dug into his diaper one nap time with his bare hands, but also smeared poop all over two windows, every crevice of his crib, and all in his hair and ears. Yes, my sweet, perfect child. And, lest ye think this was an isolated incident. Oh no! He did the exact same thing just two weeks later. Oh, yes. And while I was scrubbing windows and cleaning mattresses, I actually thought of that mom from my childhood. Was there honestly any reason for me to think she wasn't a good mom, other than the one comment I had overheard? No. I played with her kids all the time, and we had so much fun! And I have a hunch she faced many more challenges, with three young boys, than I know anything about, even today. Be careful what you say in front of kids. They will remember it! But that's another post ;)....

Oh, and then there was the time I ran into another mom in the grocery store parking lot. On a Sunday. Right after church. In the heat. Their dad had gone in for groceries, and she was trying to keep everyone occupied until they could get home to eat. The kids were hot, had probably been sitting since Sunday school hours before, and they were hungry. But I didn't see any of that. What I saw, were kids unable to sit still, purposely annoying their siblings, interrupting their mom, and generally just being kids. I was pregnant with my oldest at the time, and since MY BABY was behaving so perfectly, I drew the quick conclusion that this mom never made her kids behave. Therefore, they were obviously brats. Um. Yeah. Good one, Iris. I know this mom! She is a great mom!!! And I have since been in her exact situation almost every single Sunday, for the past 4 years! (except hubby usually takes one or more of our kids in with him, so I really have it super easy). Folks, WHY was I so hard on her? I still don't know why :(. But, I have learned that I was wrong.

What else? The parents that would let their kids stay up past 8 pm while visiting family or friends. How horrible. Why didn't they plan ahead so they could leave in time to get their kids to bed at a decent hour? Actually, I am literally laughing at myself as I type this. I don't know if my kids have EVER been in bed by 8.... and 9 is pushing it. That's usually the time we are all sitting down to eat supper. Yes, I am serious. And you are welcome to think I'm a bad mom. There are reasons we do it this way, just like all those other moms had reasons they let their kids stay up, too ;).

And, there's more... Parents that use their phones to occupy or pacify their kids? It used to seem so lazy. But now? I've been known to play a YouTube song {or two} in the middle of the night for a teething infant because I was too tired to sing myself, and I knew it would buy me 3 minutes 47 seconds of quiet.

There are many, many more thoughtless conclusions that I came to about other moms without having ANY idea the challenges those moms actually faced every single minute of every single day. Just because I had worked in a daycare, which is not the same, by the way, I assumed I had all the answers. It is so funny how we learn things, and then remember specific situations where we were so very wrong, isn't it? Now, when I hear a huge fit in the store, or another mom is relaying a particularly difficult situation she has recently faced, I try SO hard to make myself learn by how well that other mama handles that situation. Because I just might encounter something very similar sooner than I expect :).

Anybody want to share a lesson they've learned since becoming a mama?

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