Sunday, March 8, 2015

Listening ears

You know the ones? The listening ears? The ones you ask your child to put on morning, noon and night? Yeah, those ones! Todays post is about when the listening ears don't work, selectively turned off at the most inopportune times. 

After a great morning of shopping, playground activities and an excellent demonstration of sharing a most-coveted swing with a friend, The Babe, Baby Macaroni and I continued to enjoy the outdoors with a walk with a friend around a nearby lake. Exercise was had, snacks were eaten and no ducks were harmed in the process of circling the lake. By all measures it was a success. Then it was time to pack up and get in the car. And this is when we all began to unravel. Because when The Babe stops listening and acting out, I get embarrassed. Yes. Embarassed. When embarrassed at her behaviour, one of two things happens. I either over-discipline or under-discipline. I yell or I beg. I stop her from running away from me by bear hugging her or I threaten to never ever ever bring her to the park again. (Of course we will go to the park again. That is just a ridiculous notion altogether.) I silently curse her for making me look like a bad parent. 

BUT SHE IS 3! She has not spent the last half hour scheming as to how she can make me look. She has been looking at ducks and eating popcorn and doesn't want it to end. Or, if it must end, can't it end by dancing around the trunk space of our Subaru? She is not malicious and she is excitable, so why does it bother me so much? Why do I care what anyone thinks about my parenting? Why do I presume they think anything at all?

Mom-shaming is a buzz word right now, but here's the thing - no one has shamed me except me. No one has said anything negative to me about The Babe or Baby Macaroni. No one looks at what I feed them and dress them in and comments on it. No one says, "wow she is very badly behaved". I'm the one who chastises them and myself for not living up to some invisible standard of behaviour and discipline. So it is time to change that because I have some pretty awesome kids and I don't say that enough. It's time to get over myself and say, "yeah, I probably wouldn't want this fun day to end either, so I get why you are acting crazy when it is time to leave." And then breathe. It's time to stop caring what other people think, because they probably don't care one way or the other; they probably don't notice at all.

~ H

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