A few days ago, I was reminiscing about a favorite restaurant The Texan and I would often dine at when we lived in Orlando. Often, we would be out enjoying a great meal only to have our dining experience marred by a screaming toddler. I’d look down at the clock on my cell phone and nine times out of ten it was too late for a toddler to be awake, never mind being in a restaurant. The Texan would grumble something about the child needing to be quiet in a restaurant. I would defend the child – it wasn’t their fault that the parents were dragging them around theme parks all day, messing up their routine, and then expecting them to sit in a restaurant for dinner. I would shoot the parents a deadly glance. What is wrong with them?
As a parent, I still find myself judging other parents who do that to their children the same way. Though I find myself growing more tolerant of other situations that involve “willful” toddlers. I brought this topic up to the members of the Mommy Mindset, and I’m sharing our conversation below.
Cyndy: I am COMPLETELY less judgmental and much more understanding. It is a whole lot harder to judge others once you are literally walking a mile in their shoes. I have felt the looks of others on the rare occasions my daughter has had a meltdown in a store or refuses to listen and I don’t feel the need to inflict those looks on another mother. Often if I find myself at the grocery store alone and there is a mother with children behind me in line, I will let them go in front of me – especially if it seems like their child is about to run out of good behavior. We have all been there!
Emily: I find myself more tolerant of how strangers interact with their children than I am with how my friends and family members interact with theirs. That is likely because we tend to think that people who are “like us” will behave “like us” and strangers will be…well, strange!
Gena: I am less judgmental of other parents, for sure. I try to give a smile or an understanding word to a parent with a child having a temper tantrum in the store. However, I think I’ve become less tolerant of parents who belittle and curse at their kids in public. Parenting is hard, but there’s no need for that. It makes me sad because those kids are just like my own.
Darcy: I’m definitely less judgmental now. So many of my views have changed. Now if they are ignoring inappropriate behavior and just letting them run amuck in the store I don’t think that’s too cool, but when you see that familiar look on their eyes (tired, overwhelmed, stressed, and embarrassed) as they try to restore peace.
Lena: Totally. I had no understanding of things I have now. I went from “What is his mother thinking? The child is s-c-r-e-a-m-i-n-g” to “Yep. This is my child. Stop staring at me. She is just throwing a tantrum. What do you expect from 2 year old?..”
Ghada: I always cringe and hope I wasn’t judgmental in my singledom days – especially when I see a mother who looks like she is trying her hardest but her kiddlet just won’t cooperate. Like Gena said, I try to give a sympathetic smile to a mother who looks like she is just about at breaking point. We’ve all been there and I hope that little smile will keep her from cracking
Are you more or less judgmental of other parents now that you have children?