One of the most frustrating aspects of being a parent is the judgement that we face from others. It’s one thing to receive criticism from other parents (although I still don’t love it). However, it’s another thing completely to receive judgement from people who don’t even have children. After all, how do they know what it’s like to raise children when they don’t have any themselves. Unfortunately, criticism like this is all too common.
I can’t say much though. I hate to admit it, but I used to judge parents myself. Although, I am extremely shy. So, my judgement was kept in my head. Before my daughter was born, I would frequently see parents out and about and think about how I would do things differently. Dare I say, how I would do them better. I would never take my toddler through a drive through for dinner or let her watch a movie on tv so I could get something done. The horror!
Oh how I wish I could go back in time and give myself the smack in the face I deserved. I had no idea just how hard being a parent was back then. If there is one thing I’ve learned during my parenting journey, then it is to never say never. The parent I am today is nothing like the parent I thought I would be.
So, here is a message to all of you future parents out there. Never say never. Parenting seems so easy until you actually are one. That’s when reality hits. So, let’s all take a minute to reflect. Have you found yourself being a bit judgmental of parents lately? If so, I want you to listen closely because today I am going to share with you 5 parts of parenting you should never say never to.
Never say never to screen time
Before you have kids, it is so easy to judge parents for using screen time. However, you will quickly learn after you have children that screen time is a blessing in disguise. Now, I’m not saying you should use it all day everyday. That’d be ridiculous! All I’m saying is that it’s not the monster people make it out to be.
There are a lot of tough parenting situations where screen time can significantly help. If your sink is overflowing with dishes and you have a toddler clinging to your leg, then it’s okay to let them watch an episode of Little Baby Bum to help you get through. Trust me, their brains will not turn to mush from one episode. If you’re at the airport and your child is struggling to get through a long flight, then it’s okay to let them play a few educational games on your phone. Don’t worry, the other passengers will thank you for it. Parenting small children isn’t easy. Sometimes you just have to do whatever it takes to get through the day.
Never say never to tantrums
Have you ever been strolling through the aisles of a grocery store and witnessed a small child loosing their mind? The answer is obviously yes, because this situation happens all of the time. If you don’t have kids, then you probably sat there and thought to yourself how your children would never throw a tantrum like that. I know I did.
Well, it’s time for a reality check my friend. If you do decide to have children, then I can guarantee you will find yourself in the same situation at some point. After all, that child of yours is a tiny human not a robot. Unfortunately, they don’t always act exactly how you want them to 100% of the time. So, next time you see a mom struggling with an upset toddler don’t judge her. I can guarantee you she is already feeling stressed, embarrassed, upset, and self-conscious. She’s doing the very best that she can in that moment. Judgmental comments and looks will only make the situation worse. Instead, just keep to yourself and move along with your day. At some point you’ll find yourself in the same situation and you’ll hope that people do the same.
Never say to never to fast food
In a perfect world every parent would be able to feed their child organic fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and healthy snacks all day everyday. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the way the world works. Yes, this is the goal for many parents. However, executing it day in and day out is nearly impossible.
Let’s be real, the cost of feeding a family those types of foods is quite high. There are many families around the world who are struggling to make ends meet. For them, simply putting three meals on the table is a huge accomplishment. That’s okay! It’s okay to feed your children boxed macaroni and cheese, fruit cups, canned vegetables, or pizza. As long as their bellies are full and they are loved you are doing great! Also, sometimes a day is crazy busy. Especially when you’re a parent. So, sometimes finding the time to sit down and eat a full meal during a day full of errands is difficult. It’s okay to run through the McDonalds drive through every once in a while. If that’s the only way to feed little Jane between ballet practice and piano lessons than that’s what you have to do.
Here’s the moral of the story – don’t judge. Everyone chooses to feed their family a different way. You never know what caused the parent you are secretly judging to make those decisions. They may have a picky eater, a crazy schedule, a tight budget, or a difficult day. As long as their children are fed, happy, and loved just let them be. One day you’ll be a mom yourself and your child will throw the delicious vegetarian meal you spent hours cooking all over the floor. Then, you’ll probably throw some chicken nuggets in the oven and wonder why you ever tried so hard in the first place. That’s mom life for you.
Never say never to co-sleeping
Alright future parents, I want you to listen closely. If you are getting a full eight hours or more of sleep per night, then you have no right to judge someone who is lucky to get three hours. Sleep deprivation is real and until you’ve gone through it yourself you simply cannot understand how difficult it is.
Sleep is a basic human need. However, it’s especially important when you are a parent because you’ve got another person’s life in your hands. You need a good night’s rest to properly focus, to be patient, and to keep your energy up. In a perfect world a baby would be able to sleep soundly enough in their crib to give mama that type of sleep. Unfortunately, it rarely works that way. Babies crave the comfort of their mothers and often won’t sleep until they are close to them. Because of this, many moms choose to move their baby into their rooms or even their beds to survive. It’s important to remember that whatever way a mother chooses to put her baby to sleep is completely up to her.
Never say never to the mom car
Hey there, you cute twenty-something year old riding around in your sports car. Do you know that I see you? I see you watching the mom across the parking lot load her three kids up into her minivan. I can basically hear the thoughts in your head right now. You’re telling yourself that you would never be caught dead in a mom-mobile like that. You might even say that to your friend and get a good laugh in. Don’t feel too bad, I made comments like that all the time.
I’ve got some news for you – minivans are the bomb. You may think you are too cool for minivans now, but when you become a mom you’ll be dragging your husband to the dealership for a van of your own. Nothing beats the sliding doors of a minivan. You don’t have to worry about your kids flinging them open and dinging the cars next to you. Can I get a hallelujah? Plus, the sliding doors create a larger opening than traditional hinged doors. This is perfect for loading a rear facing child into the car. Especially when they are in the super fun tantrum toddler stage. Don’t forget about all of the space a minivan provides. You’ll have plenty of room to fit a growing family, strollers, pack and plays, sports equipment, toys, diaper bags, and more. When it comes to minivans – don’t knock it until you try it.