A few months ago Heather wrote about an incident in Washington DC where a woman yelled at Heather’s son for hitting a stick in her direction. Calling Heather and her husband “horrible parents,” she made her judgments about their family in five seconds.
Like any normal person, Heather took it hard at first then described this lady’s interaction with her family as her just seeing that tiny moment where they may not have been at their best. Brilliant!
When you think about it, what happens in a store, doctor’s office, school or elsewhere is just a glimpse of your life to someone else. It’s probably the only time they’ll ever seen you. Also, what you see of someone else is your glimpse into their life. One mistake, one flub or misjudgment can make us all look like horrible parents (maybe even horrible people) when really we’re just doing the best we can and struggling with that at that moment.
Because I don't care much about what people think of me (a wonderful, freeing feeling I discovered back in high school), I try to keep this in mind for when I start judging myself.
When a tiny moment of terrible is growing, it is most important to recognize where things are going wrong and fix it fast. Halting what I’m doing, taking a breath, collecting myself, or having my son do one or all of these things if he's freaking out is amazing at fixing what could be an awful situation. Also, I try to remember that moment for later when I may be in the same situation. When it comes by, I can stop the chaos before it starts. If I screw up – say, by yelling at my sweet, sweet boy – I apologize, explain myself as best I can to a three year old and try not to lose my cool again. I try to make that moment as tiny as possible (and I squish it and throw it on the ground and stomp on it…). Other times when it's not my patience being tested, like when the boy runs out into the parking lot when I, as his mother, should have his darn hand, are lessons for me to learn from and correct.
We don’t always have great days. We all do something that later we wish we hadn’t done. So, why judge yourself (or others) for a small time period where you weren’t the wonderful parent you usually are? My goal as a mother is to not have those small time periods add up and turn into something that I’m forever remembered for.
Erin Hill is a first-time mom to Lincoln, who was born in January 2010. She's learning as she goes and is experiencing everything a new mom goes through while seeing the humor, irony, and enjoyment in her adventures.
Erin is a full-time technical writer, a freelancer for Patch, and co-creator and blogger at SlimSavers.com. She lives in Plum with Lincoln, her husband, Adam, their dog, Roxie, and five (yes, five) cats, Nirvana, Gary Roberts, Elvis, Talbot and Forrest. (Anyone want a cat?)