When I was younger, before I ever had kids, I worked in a preschool. I silently judged many of the moms. Specifically the stay at home moms that dropped their little one off and bounced out the door for their day at the gym, the spa, the mall, or whatever else they might be doing. It never made any sense to me, that a stay at home mom would pay someone to watch her kids. What did she do while they were gone? And to find out that the same mom also had a housekeeper--my brain nearly exploded. I mean, how lazy can someone get?!
Fast forward 10 or so years and I am starting to get it. Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, I drop my twins off for 4 hours of preschool. 4 hours of blissful, (mostly) quiet time. 4 hours that I can utilize to go to the grocery store with only one kid in tow, catch up on laundry, go to the doctor, or perhaps take a quick nap. I need these 4 hours to maintain my sanity. I love all of my girls, but I do need a little break from time to time. And besides that, they desperately needed the socialization!
Not only have I shipped my kids off to preschool, I have also paid someone to clean and organize my house. When I still had approximately 40 unopened boxes in the garage a year after we moved, I knew I needed to call in a pro. I am SO glad I did. And the cleaning, oh god, the cleaning... It never ends! I can clean the house floor to ceiling, but 5 minutes later, it is a wreck again. It never ends. I'm happy to let someone else tackle it every once in a while. Go ahead, call me lazy.
Other things I would "never" do:
Bribe my kids. Ha! That's an almost daily occurrence here...
Let my baby have a pacifier past 1 year. Avery was well over 2 when we finally got hers pried out of her mouth, and the twins were around 18 months. No clue when we will take Maren's but it won't be anytime soon...
Let my appearance slack. Doesn't everyone want to be the mom that looks put together every second of every day? Sure, but who actually has time for that shit?
Lose myself in my kids' lives. Sadly, this has happened. I feel like I no longer have an identity outside "That mom with peanut butter on her shirt and spit up in her hair." Most of my day is spent running kids to their various activities, and I haven't made any time to explore my own interests. I am trying to change this, though.
Have a child that has to be practically dragged out of a store/restaurant/other public place. Yeah, this one is completely unavoidable with twin toddlers. My own personal hell was served up to me last summer when I dropped Avery off at art camp and Elizabeth realllllly wanted to stay. It took me 45 minutes to get her out of the building. I mean, what can you really do when you have another toddler and you are also carrying a newborn? It was terrible. I was hoping a kind stranger would take pity on me and hold the baby while I wrangled the angry twin, but no such luck. And I won't even tell you how long it took to get her through the parking lot and into the car.
Let my kid eat/drink xyz... Ugh, yeah. My kids have gone through such extreme hunger strikes that I would let them eat practically anything they wanted. Things I should be ashamed of. But, guess what? I'm not!
Sadly, there are so many more things I judged other moms for. I feel so silly looking back at it now. I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt now and realize that most of us are doing the best we can. Some days are better than others. I'm sure I have been judged many times, with many more to come. But it never fails that the ones who judge most harshly are those that don't have a clue what it is like to walk in our shoes...
Were you a parenting critic before you had kids? What did you judge most harshly?