Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Stop glaring at my son and go back to pretending your kids are perfect

I guess the title of the post pretty much sums it up. Maybe you've never experienced this, and if not consider yourself lucky. You must have a child that is nothing like mine. I get those "looks" from other mothers all.the.time. You know, the "Why can't you control your child" or the "Make him shut up" looks. Still don't know what I'm talking about? Have you ever been in a church service where your child might make the smallest peep and you suddenly have the wrath of God upon you? I've been there. I've done that. Why is it that other mothers are always the ones to make you feel the worst in those situations? Aren't we supposed to have each other's back??

We went to the public library last night for storytime. I know, we are crazy. We like to live on the edge. Taking our 19 month old spirited boy to a place where he will be required to listen and sit still is like going on a suicide mission. But we were desperate. It gets dark at 5:30 p.m. now, and that makes the evenings very looooong. So, we do what we can to entertain ourselves, even if that means taking some huge chances.

We quickly discovered some things at storytime: 1) Most of the kids (like 80%--honestly) that were at storytime were GIRLS (hmmmm.....wonder why.....); 2) Miles' activity level is apparently about a thousand times higher than the majority of all other children in the world; and 3) He actually did VERY well and tried very hard to listen...he clapped along to the songs and did the actions with the other kids. We were very proud.

But, Miles is Miles. He likes to yell "Yaaaaaayyy!" whenever he can. What can I say, he's just happy! So, when the other kids were sitting quietly with their hands in their laps Miles was (literally) jumping up and down, doing somersaults, clapping, laughing and yelling "Yaaaaaayyy!" at the top of his lungs. How can we scold him for being happy?? How, I ask you???? We can't. We told him "Shhhhh". We tried to calm him down. We tried many things. But really he was just having FUN. How dare he.

And then came the glares.

I tried to ignore them. Their kids were sitting quietly, trying to enjoy the storytime. I understand. I can sympathize. But we are at storytime for kids, for God sake. We weren't at a funeral.

As time passed and Miles' enthusiasm level increased, I could feel the eyes of the other moms borring holes in my skull. Thankfully there was one mom there who was smiling and giving me the "He's just having fun, let him do it" look. Thank goodness for the sweet moms that DO truly understand. And thank goodness for my darling husband who was patiently trying to corral our boy.

Overall, the storytime was actually a good experience. If it hadn't been for the few bitches (sorry, but it's true) that were pretending their children's poop smells like roses it would have been a completely positive evening.

I think the bottom line for me is this: Never, ever judge other mothers. We all know how hard it is to be a parent. We all know that there are moments when your kids do not act perfectly. We all parent differently. We all make different judgment calls in situations. But in my mind we are also all in this together! It makes me sad that we have to draw lines in the sand with each other. Didn't breastfeed? There should be no judgment. Let your kid watch Sesame Street while you check your email? There should be no judgment. Allow your child to show joy in his own way in public? There should be no judgment.

And I especially think I need to turn this around on myself. I am my own worst critic. I should not judge myself. I often think "Ugh! Why can't you handle this better?" I am so hard on myself. I beat myself up. I think we all do that from time to time. But we shouldn't. It's like we are always trying to teach Miles: GENTLE. Be gentle to yourself. And be gentle to others.

Granted, Miles is sometimes the kid throwing the temper tantrum. He is often the one stealing the toys from other kids. He hits. He is naughty. But we're working on it, and doing the best we can. He is not the kid who sits quietly, or sits at all. He is who is he, and he is awesome! I refuse to squelch his enthusiasm for life because other moms think he should be quiet. I only wish I were half as smart, funny and engaged in life as Miles. I think I can learn a lot from him.

I just think next time we will do a tumbling class and leave storytime for the girls ;)


  1. I'm with you Anne. Raising boys (at least the kind of boys I think we both have) is such a different deal that I think a lot of people don't get. The thing I hate the worst is when I've totally thought through something and decided it would be okay for Isaac to do, and then someone comes along and tells him to stop. Let me be the mom!

  2. We need to get Lukey and Miles together. I can TOTALLY relate! :) Great post!!!

  3. I have a mostly reserved little girl, occasionally she'll be loud at the library or church but typically the "shushing" quiets her. Never had drama in public or tantrums....yet. However I think it's horrible for other moms to look at other kids/moms with a glare, no one's perfect and to each their own. Typically I have sympathy for mom if their kid's really bad, but we should rejoice in boys like yours who are loving life and not being naughty but celebrating happiness. But hey that's just me.

  4. I can't tell you how much I needed to read this today. My GIRL is just like your BOY. She would have been the one trying to run around in story time. I feel like such a failure as a parent sometimes because I just can't control my child. And it makes it worse knowing I'm being judged. Not just by strangers but my family too. Ugh!

    Thanks for sharing and encouraging me to just let her have fun and that mommy needs to take a chill pill.

  5. Sorry I didn't put my website on the last comment

  6. oohh I soo know your pain, infact i've written a post along the similar lines called "the loudest family in the world"...I'm waiting for my children to be permanently banned from our public library, i keep going back though, such a sucker for punishment. great blog :)

  7. Hi! I found you on MBC and am so glad I did! I live in Minnesota too, doncha know?!

    My 2 year old daughter, Sarah, when she was 5 months old, began SCREAMING at the top of her lungs when she was Happy! HAPPY! She was a very happy kid too.

    She would see something that made her happy and scream! OH the looks I would get! And the awful people that would come up to me and ask what was wrong. It was horrible. Some people were nice and could see that she was happy. Most would stick their noses where they didn't belong.

    I so enjoyed reading your posts!

  8. I can never fault the kids for being noisy at storytime - it's what kids do. But I was always annoyed with some of the moms, on their cell phones, having some too loud, too personal conversation with the mom next to them, when the poor librarian is trying to read. It's a library, shut your pie hole!

  9. I was in Kohls today and there was a little boy having a total meltdown and his mom trying to be patient yet firm in telling him to stop and that they needed to leave. I really wanted to say, "I understand" "kids are so dramatic aren't they" "I'm sorry" or just "look, i"m a mom too, I get it." But instead I just shot her a look. I tried to make the look as sympathetic as possible. I didn't want to say the wrong thing or draw attention to the situation and make her feel worse.

    Ok my point is that some of those moms may judge, but some may totally get it but just aren't sure how to say it or can't because of the situation.

    The best part of the Kohls incident? What that smart little boy said as he was leaving. As he was leaving his mom said "maybe Santa will buy it for you, but we don't have the money for it right now." The little boy's response? "But what if Santa doesn't have the money either?" Awesome. smart, and totally adorable. I got a laugh and smile on my face!

  10. Hi! All kids are born with there own unique personality. I think that because he is a bit unruly doesn't mean you shouldn't keep going to the story time. But just go every few weeks or so. It will give you perspective on how his behavior is improving under those circumstances without burning you both out. He IS only 19 months! And an active boy at that. I do agree with you that with his temperament and age that physical activities would be more successful for you. But of course he does need the structure required for library visits. He'll learn how to behave in the library. It just takes practice!
    BTW, I found you on MBC in the Calling All Commenters group. Love it if you'd stop by.

  11. I have 2 boys. They are sooooo different from my girl! LOL I gave up on story time for a while until they are a little older. Now, my 4 yo is READY for story time. He loves it. My 2 yo.... not yet. I so get this. Thanks for writing this today. I think I needed to read it from another source...... It's been a rough day today! I came over from MBC and will definitely be back!

  12. Amen!! If it makes you feel any better, my two-year old not-so-dainty daughter likes to stick her bum out (in public, of course), point to it and proceed to make farting noises. You should see the looks THAT gets me!! LOL Your little guy sounds like a fun kid!

    Thanks for the visit to my blog! I look forward to following and reading more!


I ♥ Comments. And I ♥ YOU! Thanks!