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Judgement Day

February 13, 2011

Parenting and judging go hand in hand. And I mean the fingers entwined deeply feeling handholding that takes place with your first junior high sweetheart.

Today my friend Lindsay made a comment on her Facebook page about spotting a parent at the grocery store giving her 18 month old a Starbucks mocha. Tons of comments ensued. Some felt (and I include myself in this camp),  this was probably a slippery slope and an all around bad decision.Others sympathized feeling taking a small child into a grocery store might require pacification by any means necessary and includes a Costco sized bottle of Jose Cuervo for the mother (ok, maybe wishful thinking on my part there-that would make shopping for sales WAY more of a party though). Or maybe the coffee was decaf.

So I judged this mocha doling, pacifying mama. And I always try to not judge other parents.

Then…I got judged.

In my last post I talked about how I let my 2-year-old boy now play with a bit of independence in our fenced backyard. Our fenced backyard happens to run (fenced) along one side of the house to our small (fenced) front yard. I was hoping Jarah wouldn’t put those pieces together too quickly but he’s a pretty bright lad you know. So now he takes the occasional meander to the front yard, which I pick up on in oh, about 30 seconds. He’s pretty noisy so rather easy to track.

Today he made it to the promise land that lies at the front of the house and I peeked out the window and asked him to make his way back by the kitchen  patio. This is where I was sorting laundry (yes, my weekends are often the same as my weekdays). He didn’t like this option much and wanted help unlatching the front gate. This wasn’t too wise I thought because fenced yard exploration is one thing for a 2-year-old. Free access to roam the street and neighborhood might be a bit optimistic.

So I shot him down with a rationalized no and indicated I’d wait for him in the backyard where we could all play with his dinosaurs. He didn’t take the news too well. By which I mean he began impersonating a spider monkey in a hive of bipolar wasps. So I calmly moved to the backyard according to the plan I’d laid out. While listening to the tantrum in the front yard I decided to multitask and call his dad who was at the office to ask a simple question (yes, sometimes his weekends are often the same as his workdays too).

That’s when I looked up to see a scowling strange man. I believe I’d classify him as an aging ironic hipster who was now in my backyard holding a bottle of motor oil. Apparently he’d been working on his car up the street and wanted to know who’d left their small child unloved, unattended, uncared for and likely to starve in the front yard.

I tried to explain my purpose and then made a bold decision (bold for me that is). Nope, not feeling the nice card today. Not in my backyard on my turf while I’m still in my pajamas at 10am bouncing a 5 month old who just wet the diaper I just put her in. I can’t remember what exactly I said but I like to think it was imperial and superbly bitchy. It might have been slightly less eloquent though.

He left my backyard shaking his hipster head, pushing up his cool black glasses and muttering about my parenting abilities. I believe I have lost his vote for Mother of the Year.

And so in judging I too was judged.

But I still think mochas and 18 month olds don’t mix.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lindsay permalink
    February 13, 2011 4:03 pm

    I think the thing people don’t realise is that we judge just as often in a positive way and it is an integral part of parenting, but we rarely verbalize it because it’s much more fun to point out when people screw up. For every time I’ve judged someone for doing something that I would not like to see in my parenting repetoire, I have had just as many experiences where I thought to myself “nice one, I’ll have to remember that”. So maybe we (as a society as well as me personally) need to have more discussions on the positive things we notice. I have since learned my lesson and updated my facebook profile accordingly :). Thanks for the fun blog!

    • February 14, 2011 1:46 pm

      i get it and like it! judging the positives and celebrating them is very important. will try to include more of that in this space…

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