This list is not a complete list, because lets face it, I don’t have that kind of time and frankly, you all may think I am insane and we just met
People I am suspicious of:
- People who don’t laugh or smile when dogs have their head out a car window.
- People who don’t use a turn signal.
- People who hang out in the left lane and are not aware of why the left lane exists.
- Women who say their husbands are “babysitting” their own children.
- People who never went through an awkward phase in Jr. High. If you don’t have a photo of yourself in a terrible outfit with braces and awful hair, we can’t hang out.
- Women who say they don’t have other women friends because women are “bitches”
- People who do not vaccinate their children
And now for a list of people I am not suspicious of:
- Stay at Home Moms
- Full-Time working Moms
- Stay at Home Dads
- Women who breast feed
- Families who use formula
- Families that make all the baby food
- Families that buy all the baby food
- People who keep their children in one piece (for the most part) for the duration of their lives, since let’s face it, this can seem like an impossible task some days.
What is my point? We are, as a whole, a judgemental bunch of assholes when it comes to parenting. We think, simply because we have had one or two children that what worked for our baby will work for all the other babies we ever meet ever.
In my very, very short time of being a parent I have discovered that babies are constantly developing and are essentially Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Their personalities are always changing and since their brains are developing every single second of every single day (whereas mine is basically tapioca pudding right now), what worked for my son yesterday, may not work today.
Now apply that same principle to another parent you meet that has a new baby that you know nothing about. You can submit your advice (I mean don’t but you do you), but you cannot judge. You cannot go back to your home and tsk tsk them for whatever path they are going down, assuming they are clothing, feeding, loving and caring for that child. Don’t be that person that shames another parent for their choices.
We need to be each others biggest champions and not assume the worst about each other. If you see a fellow parent struggling, say hi and smile. Tell them their baby is adorable, even if that baby is screaming in your face. We have all been there. Ask how it is going. If they seem rushed and out of sorts, forgive them. If they look like they could use a hand, offer it up.
We live in a world that is dark sometimes, and full of hate and vitriol, and the last thing we need is parents, women especially, tearing each other down, for trying to raise thoughtful and kind children in an environment that sometimes doesn’t make it easy.
So make the pledge, even if you aren’t a parent, to be the kindness a parent needs. If you are in an airport and see a parent with a baby, don’t give them the stinkeye, let them see you make goofy faces at their baby. If you see someone with a stroller, hold the door for them. If you see a mom sitting alone on a park bench with her baby in the stroller, with a kind of distant look in her eyes, smile at her and maybe ask her how old the baby is and the name, because sometimes it is the only adult conversation she has had all day, and it might just make her day.