Judging Parents

Parents are often judged for the choices they make. They are judged by other parents, but many times they are judged more by individuals who don’t have children of their own. The thing is, no one can truly know what parenting entails until going through it. And let’s face it - every mother and father has a unique parenting style. Jobs, financial stability, and personalities will affect how families are run. First and foremost, though, is the parent's personality. Some people are more patient than others. Personally, I think patience is the most important characteristic that affects parenting.

Photo courtesy of CarbonNYC David Goehring

I think back to times when I've made decisions that other people may frown upon. For example, picture this: I come home from work at 2:30am, don’t fall asleep until about 4am, and then wake up at 7:30am. On three and a half hours of sleep, there’s no question that I would be irritable and frustrated all day long. So when I start my day with chores, bathing, cooking, cleaning, feeding and more cleaning, sometimes I need my kids to watch some cartoons to stay out of my way. Children can be very challenging. If you tell them to brush their teeth, they most likely don’t want to. When you DO finally persuade them to do so, they want to do it themselves. They want to pick their own clothes (shorts on a winter day seems reasonable doesn’t it?), they aren’t hungry when they need to eat, they don’t want to wear their jackets, and all of this is happening while they ask you approximately 137 questions. No seriously, my son has asked me 38 questions in a ten-minute drive — I counted. Sometimes the questions are so ridiculous that you get frustrated that they even asked! My son has looked at other cars on the road and said ‘Mama, where are they going?’ at which point I would LIKE to answer “how the HELL do I know”, but I have to reply with “I’m not sure where they’re going — maybe work, or to buy groceries, or school”. Okay fine, the last time he asked me, I looked at him with a puzzled look and said “Joravar, I don’t know them, so I have no idea where they’re going okay? Pleeeease don’t ask me where people are going, it drives me CRAZY”. He hasn’t asked that question since (knock on wood).

Photo courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski

It's truly unfair to judge a parent based upon what we witness in a short time. I always want the best for my children, but sometimes simply letting them have what they want isn’t a bad thing. I may be fighting the clock trying to prepare dinner for my family when my son comes and asks for chocolate pretzels or something else that isn`t ideal. If I say no, there's a chance my son will have a break down then and there because he`s hungry and dinner isn't quite ready. Or maybe he's acting out because he woke up early and now he's sleepy. Sometimes we parents choose to give in to avoid unnecessary conflicts, but when someone who doesn't have kids witnesses it, they may think we don't have what it takes to be   'good parents' or they may label our children as 'spoiled.'

So the next time you see an imperfect situation between a parent and a child, please be compassionate. There is probably much more to that scenario than the few minutes of interaction you are watching.