This post from Jill Smokler, aka Scary Mommy, first appeared on Things They Can’t Say in 2012. Another Summer Flashback post. Enjoy!
If there’s anything I’ve learned from parenting, it’s never to judge another mother. (Having no fucking clue what I’m doing comes is a very close second.)
Before I was a mother, however, I’ll admit that I did my fair share of eye rolling. OK, more than my fair share. But, you can’t blame me! It’s just so easy to judge mothers before you are one. So natural to shake your head at children misbehaving at the mall and question why parents would bring an obviously overtired child out to dinner on a Saturday night. It’s second nature to snicker at a horribly mismatched ensemble some two year old is sporting and judge the three year old with the pacifier or the diapers or blankie in public.
But suddenly, you find yourself a mother and all the energy you spent on judging others seems not only like a compete waste of time, but purely idiotic. Suddenly, you begin recognizing yourself in them. You realize that you have become the source of the eye rolls and the snickers and the judgment.
When I leave the house with a daughter dressed in head to toe clashing pink and rain-boots on a sunny day, I hope that other parents just know I let her dress herself. When I needed to snag a few wipes from another mom at the airport, I’d just assume that she’d been in the same “blowout diaper with no wipes left” situation. When my kid eats a french fry off of the floor, though repulsed, I know it’s not going to kill him. And when the twenty something, child-less girl scowls at me, I’m the one rolling my eyes at her. Soon enough, she’ll be in my shoes.
Life is short and the kids are only going to be little for such a fleeting period. Finding matching socks just isn’t worth it at five o’clock in the morning and sometimes cereal for dinner sounds pretty darn good. Puddles are fun to jump in and a little ingested dirt never really hurt anyone. They’re just not fights worth fighting and I get it now.
Plus, I need to save the eye rolling for my kids. They’re the ones who really deserve it.