I had zero child rearing experience before I had one of my own. Children were sticky little loud things I tried to avoid. I don’t know where I got my lofty ideas of how children should act, but I now understand that I was wrong about everything. I feel like I owe so many women an apology. After having a child of my own, I feel like I’ve walked a mile in another woman’s nursing bra. I get it now. I was such a judgey a-hole.
1. To the one who quit her successful career to be a stay-at-home mom. I’m sorry I rolled my eyes. Said it was sad to see you throw it all away after working so hard. Said I’d never do something like that. And now that’s me. I finally understand you weren’t actually throwing anything away, and gaining so much more.
2. To the woman who’s baby wouldn’t stop crying and she had to leave the restaurant. The one I gave the stink-eye to, like how dare she pollute my environment with her noisy child. And then it was me, feeling embarrassed and rushing out before even getting a sip of water. It’s happened more than once, and every time I remember being the one who was giving the dirty looks and what a total judgmental jerk I was being.
3. To the woman who’s kid had messy hair, a snotty nose and dirty hands and I wondered why she couldn’t take care of her kid properly. I’m sorry I ever questioned your mothering skills. My kid is usually barefoot, with shaggy hair and sticky hands. He’s happy and healthy and I just had no idea how messy, snotty and dirty kids can get in ten seconds, no matter how hard you try to keep them clean.
4. To the woman who’s kid isn’t talking/walking/potty trained by some magic age. There is no magic age. They’ll do it when they are ready and not a moment before that. I’m sorry I ever questioned any child’s progress. I’m now cursed to spend my days repeating “pee and poo go in the potty” because my 3-year-old son just doesn’t want to give up his diapers, while my mom likes to remind me I was potty trained at two.
5. To the woman who asked her kid to do something five times before they did it and I wondered why the hell her kids don’t listen. Now I have to ask my kid ten times and he may or may not do what I ask. Sometimes he goes out of his way to do the complete opposite. Guess that’s just a little payback for all those times I questioned someone’s disciplinary skills.
To all these women and many more, I’m sorry for judging things I knew nothing about. Nothing has changed me more and opened my eyes like the experience of raising a child. Now when I see a screaming tantrum, I smile and nod, while inwardly thanking God it isn’t me this time. The only thing I know for certain about kids is that they are unpredictable and they are all different. And what I know for certain about moms is we are all just trying our best to keep them safe, happy and healthy and the last thing we need is judgement from friends, family or strangers. We are all just making it work, in our own way, and that happens to be the best way possible. And they are worth every bit!
So, anyone you guys feel the need to apologize to?