A few weeks ago, while I was checking out at my local Sam’s Club, the cashier was just going on and on about this little boy who was maybe 4. That poor kid was having a breakdown, just throwing a terrible fit. She was talking about how her kids would never have acted like that and how embarrassed the parents must be. She went on about how he was entirely too old to be acting that way. She said all of this to me while my 3 and 5-year-olds were fighting with each other in my shopping cart over who got to put the 2 pound bag of shredded cheese on the conveyor belt. They were being loud and obnoxious, as usual.
I politely said that maybe the little boy was just overly tired, perhaps they had been out shopping most of the day. She didn’t waver.
I looked over and tried to have my kids chill out before I had to hear that my kids were equally terrible little people. She ignored them and me.
She talked about how she imagined that the child was going to be in so much trouble once they go to the car.
I couldn’t help but think about how, if it were my kid, I’d just be happy to get out of the store where people weren’t staring at me like I was the most incapable parent on the face of the earth. Where I wouldn’t have to worry about people talking negatively about my child. MY CHILD, who may not be the most well behaved, but is a person who deserves kindness and respect just as much as any adult. Where I could just buckle the kid in his car seat, turn up the music and let him calm himself down without nosey onlookers. Honestly, if it were my child, he’d probably fall asleep in the first few minutes of being in the car and be in a much better mood once he woke up.
By the time I got out of the line I was so pissed that a woman who said she had raised 3 kids was being so judgemental about a 4-year-old. A freaking 4-year-old. Seriously, why do we, as a society, have to judge everyone? Why do we expect kids to act like perfectly behaved adults? Why can’t we just mind our own damn business and chill out? Why, if we see parents who are struggling, don’t we offer words of encouragement or understanding instead of trying to shame them?
I feel like there is so much pressure to have perfectly behaved kids. Little zombies that you can take out in public without fear of a toddler tantrum, because well-behaved kids don’t do that. Well behaved kids aren’t loud and obnoxious. They don’t try to take off running down the isles at the grocery store. They don’t say no when you tell them to hold your hand so they don’t get ran over in a parking lot. They just do what they are supposed to do and are quiet so no one knows they exist. That seems to be the general consensus on how kids are supposed to behave.
As a parent, you’re also supposed to be able to get your child to act this way without raising your voice or feeling like a totally insane person. You should only have to give your kid a command one time and they should instantly follow said command. You should never get angry or frustrated, that’s not the sign of a good parent. You shouldn’t have to ask for help or need a break, after all, you had those kids so it’s 100% you and you alone who should take care of them. It doesn’t take a village, it takes YOU!
Well, I call bullshit on all of that.
My kids are the ones that keep on standing up in the shopping cart. They ones who sing at the top of their lungs while we’re out trying to have dinner. The kids who have breakdowns at the store when I won’t buy a giant box of cookies at Costco. They are the ones that are wearing muddy clothes and have dirty faces because they played outside for 4 hours straight before I bribed them to get in the car so we could go to the grocery store. The kids who are wearing mismatched clothes and shoes because that’s what makes them happy and I’m far too tired to fight over something so trivial. They are the kids who are refusing to hold my hand in the parking lot. The one’s who are talking about farts and poop in public and think that they are hilarious.
My kids are the ones that are acting like kids who are allowed to be themselves. The kids are that are learning about natural consequences for their actions. The kids who are learning from their mistakes. They are kind, generous, helpful and empathetic. They love deeply, laugh often and are happy, healthy individuals. They’re imaginations run wild on a daily basis. I couldn’t be more proud to call them mine.
I am the parent who has 3 strong willed, wild ass kids. The parent who feels your stare and hears your whispers. I am the parent who feels like they need an extra set of hands and eyes in the back of their heads in order to keep up with the kids. The parent who gets tired of breaking up stupid pointless fights. I am the parent who is trying to get their kid to play the quiet game just to get 30 seconds of chill in a day full of crazy. I am the parent who raises their voice to reiterate how important it is to not stand up in the shopping cart. I am the parent who is slowly learning that my kids are who they are and a book of nitpicking rules and punishments aren’t going to calm them down. The parent who needs a break and isn’t afraid to ask for help. I am the parent doing the best they can to raise happy kids who aren’t afraid of being themselves. And, I am the parent who doesn’t give one shit what you think about it.
So, here’s to all the moms of wild, heathen children. The moms who have discovered that just letting the kids be kids makes life so much better for all of you. To the moms who understand that you’re kids don’t need to be perfectly behaved to be good people. To the moms who are DOING THE BEST THEY CAN.
Know that you are a good mom and don’t ever let anyone make you feel any different