Sunday, 5 February 2012

Judgy Me



One Sunday whilst I was pregnant with our first child, The Architect and I were having a leisurely breakfast at Sassafrass (one of our favourite breakfast haunts).   A couple walked past pushing a pram, but they were carrying the baby.  So just to be clear - the pram was empty.  And I thought that was the stupidest thing I had ever seen.  I remember looking at The Architect and scoffing “did you see that?” “WHY have a friggin pram if you’re not going to put the bloody baby in it!”  He thought the same.  We both shook our heads at these crazy people.

And then we had the baby.  Oh God, we had the baby.  Sometimes the baby didn’t want to be in the pram.  Sometimes the baby just screamed and cried, back-arched and dry-retched until I was obliged to pick it up and... what do you know, I’m pushing a pram but carrying the baby!

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.  Where’s your self-righteousness and judgment NOW lady?  Huh?  HUH?  It was at the moment that it clicked.  I had that ‘a-ha’ moment.  That moment when you think to yourself “OK.  I get it now...”

I’ve had a lot of those moments since we entered the world of parenting.  Too many to count, and no doubt there’ll be many more similar instances.  The difference will be that I know now.  I know that those parents (read: warriors) who go before me (into battle) know more than me.  They’re doing things for a reason.  That reason is: it works.  THIS works for us.

Like so much in life, it is so easy to sit in judgment when you’re not in the situation.  I got so much free advice from well-meaning people who didn’t have children.  And I wanted to just yell at each of them “I’m doing it this way because it works for us!”  There’s a little more clarity and understanding when you’re actually in the thick of it and living it.  Suddenly you have more empathy for those weary looking parents struggling with their energetic offspring whilst going about their daily lives.

I don’t recall this, but apparently I had made a comment to my mother about not letting my children watch television.  That thought alone sounds totally preposterous to me and I can’t believe I ever said any such thing.  But she is adamant.   In which case it would appear that I have done a complete about-face in the past few years as I let the kids watch TV everyday.  Gasp!  I know, I know.  I never thought I’d use the TV as an electronic babysitter, but I do.  And I make no apologies for it.  They love it.  Our whole family kneels at the altar of ABC2.  The Architect and I can get a sleep-in on the weekend and we’re all happy.  So sue me.

Another example is grocery shopping.  I could never understand how people could continue to do their grocery shopping with a screaming child in the trolley.  I mean, how do you DO that?  Can’t you hear that? Whenever I would witness these kinds of scenes, I could almost feel any semblance of maternal feelings ooze out of my acrylic nails and drip onto the floor, full of disdain.  I was smug in the knowledge that no kid of mine would ever behave like that!  No, never.

I am cackling now with maniacal laughter and you know that tears are just a tick-tock away.  My GOD how na├»ve could I be!  Obviously that whole attitude has disappeared, along with my acrylic nails.  My weekly grocery shop now involves Little Warrior standing (yes, standing) in the trolley seat with his arms wrapped around my neck like an anaconda.  Do you know how difficult it is to see when someone is squashing his little face into yours?  If I so much as hint that I’m going to try to sit him down, he will squeal so loud that you would think I’ve grabbed him by his almost two-year old gonads and yanked them back into my handbag.  All the while, I’ve got my iPhone clutched in one hand, reading the shopping list, and trying to steer the trolley with my wrists.  My WRISTS people!  Seriously.  Those things are hard enough to steer with two hands!  You get one dodgy wheel and it’s all over.

Then there’s threatening them with something and giving in.  You know what I’m talking about.  I used to think I would be the stoic and strong parent that laid down the rules and so shall they be!  All too often I would see parents threatening things that would never happen.  Stop that yelling or you won’t get a lolly.  I said stop.  I mean it.  You’re still yelling but here’s a lolly.  Judgey Me would scoff.  I knew what the problem was – you’ve got to stick with it!  They won’t know you’re serious unless you stick with the threat.  My God man, it’s basic Parenting 101.  Duh!!

What I didn’t realise was there’s a myriad of issues surrounding the threat.  Firstly, don’t threaten something that you don’t actually want to happen.  If you want to have a sleep today, don’t threaten to take away the movie at lunch.   Secondly, do you have the energy for this fight, because trust me, however much energy you’ve got, they’ve got ten times that amount.  They seem to have energy to burn. I thought I had a strong resolve.  Clearly I didn’t know strong until I met my own children.   Like water dripping on a rock, you get worn down and before you know it you’re unwrapping that Chupa Chupp and smiling weakly at the young girl behind you in line with the acrylic nails who’s staring disdainfully at you.

Don’t judge me.

One day this could be you.

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

4 comments:

  1. I was exactly the same, and i still have those without children giving me all sorts of advise. once again, I love your work. Its great to see i'm not the only one who has gone though this.

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  2. Hee hee :) Thanks for following Holly! So glad you're enjoying it. I'm loving writng these blogs and it's nice to know people are reading. Big hugs darlin xxx

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  3. Oh my God babe that is soooo funny. I love the shopping adventures you talk about as I too have steered those ...... things with my wrists and not smiling but glaring at the bitch behind me with those lovely nails as my little darlings suck on their lolly pops! Three cheers I say to those intelligent Mums who know which battles to fight!
    Goodbye February, it's been nice. Can't wait for the Marvellous March adventures of Dilettante Diva

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    1. Thanks! So glad you can relate (and I'm not alone...). Happy March!

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