If you’re a new parent, and you’re wondering when it gets easier, let me tell you: not now, and probably not any time soon, either.
This weekend Jeff and I were thinking about the fact that we thought 5 and 3 would kind of be a breeze. But so far, it is not. In fact, I can’t even compare my thoughts now to those I had when I had a 2 year old and a newborn, or a 3 year old and a 1 year old. My worries used to consist of “Are they eating/sleeping/pooping well?” and maybe “Am I a good mother? Am I dividing my time well? Are they happy?”
Now it’s more like “Am I raising good people? Am I raising a person who will respond ‘I’m fine! How are you?'” to our neighbor rather than pretend to shoot him? Kids who will listen to me, not all of the time, because I get it, they are 5 and 3, but at least a good amount of the time so that I know their hearing works and I am not a joke? That would be nice.
This afternoon we had to do some shopping. I almost always dread it, yet I seem to have not learned my lesson and continue to take both of my children to the grocery store together. On the way there they were chasing each other on the sidewalk. A man commented, “You are so blessed.” I laughed and said, “Thanks.” (I think he meant it.)
In the store, despite my very best efforts and rising levels of stress, my children were acting wild. They were running around and not obeying. A helpful old lady took it upon herself to remark that I am “paying absolutely no attention to them. Look at how they are behaving!” She was outraged. It’s funny because people always approach me at a time when I really want to lose my patience with my kids, and then they say something, and it gives me the perfect opportunity to lose my patience at someone other than my kids.
But. What was a stressful trip to the store had now turned very sour. I was embarrassed, angry, pissed, in fact. Also hot, carrying lots of stuff and trying not to be an asshole to anyone in my immediate vicinity.
I don’t know why people continue to want to raise my children for me. Why would anyone, seeing a mother who is doing her best, think it was acceptable to get involved in such a judgmental, nonsensical way? Why?
I’ve had it. I’ve never put up with it, and I never will.
What bothers me the most is that this lady’s careless comment made me feel worse, even though I didn’t think it was possible. It made me look over my shoulder at the register to see if other people were watching/judging me. It took away the joy and relief I could have felt once we got out of the store (and I scolded my children accordingly). Instead we walked home grumpy and mad.