Here are some things that I remember about my pre-mom years: feeling young and fabulous under the summer sun. The freedom to move around, as I wanted. Watching movies in real theaters.
Oh, and I also remember judging those parents when their kids screamed all over the place, all the time!
I don’t consider myself to be a very critical person, but when it came to kids my opinions have always been set…
They were non-negotiable.
As in sealed and stamped, non-negotiable.
I’ve always had a clear picture of what my life would look like when I had kids of my own and I was ready to prove to the world that those parents didn’t know how to handle, raise and communicate with theirs.
Truth is, I was your average non-parent judgmental optimist!
I always felt like I was in control of the situation, until I actually had to face my toddler: that metamorphosed version of my loving-new-born-angel brought me down to earth.
And when this happened, I felt terrible. Not for being out of power for the first time, but rather for having judged those parents so badly.
They always warned me, but I never listened: kids command!
It’s ridiculous! (I thought).
But oh, so true! (I now think).
As a matter of fact, it’s the only truth that exists with kids.
And with this revelation, all my opinions went right out the window…
Even better, I now stand on the other side of the fence: I judge the non-parent-judgmental-optimists for being too optimistic! After all, what do they really know about having to face a toddler every day!
So the way I look at it, we live in a happy world that functions like a vicious cycle: they judge us for not being in control and we judge them back for not knowing any better.
But after all, who has the stronger judging stick: were we right to defend our kids’ unstoppable demands and tantrums? Or did these optimists have a point somehow: we were becoming too obedient to our kids, to the point of becoming… submissive.
In parenting, there is a fine line between happiness and submission. It’s a common belief that parenting without submission is not parenting. To some, submission even indicates love.
But how can we tell when the loving submission ends and the submissive-submission starts?
To me, this sounds like the optimistic masochist world of parenting!
Truth is, when it comes to parenting we need to learn when to pull back the balance of power in our favor in order to gain back the command.
Parenting is not about theories, ideas or beliefs we’ve heard from others or practiced for five minutes. They’re about open, continuous and constant communication, and it only gets better with experience (and lots of patience too!!).
And with time, when you get to know what you’re doing, you will control the situation (I think).
So, to all the non-parents out there (including myself when I was a pre-mom), here is what I have to say: handling a toddler and teaching him how to behave takes more than five minutes and the only way to understand what it takes, is to become a parent (my revised sealed and stamped, non-negotiable opinion).
So this isn’t about being knowledgeable.
This is about being experienced.
This is about being patient.
It’s about communication and cooperation.
In simple words, it about being a parent.
So the only judges are the professionals in this field, and the only decision-makers are…
The parents themselves.
(So non-parents, back-off please!)
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