Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Judge Not

Porter and Molly have been taking swimming lessons in the evening this month.  It's a hectic time of night, right before dinner.  There are multiple lessons going on at the same time, one after another.  So there are a lot of parents and siblings at the pool, in the locker room, and waiting in the lobby, where you observe the kids in the pool through big windows.

I ran into an acquaintance of mine in the lobby, after I had already deposited the big kids in their appropriate spots.  Cedar and I sat down, and she began to tell me the story of her day.  The gist of it was, her husband was out of town, she ran over her cell phone, and had to spend an hour at the cell store with her three kids (all of whom are five and under) in tow.  Sucks.  She was tired.  I was sorry.

And then right at the end of her story, another parent in the lobby taps her on the shoulder and points to one of her youngest boys.  He's banging on the vending machine, she says.  It's really loud.  My friend sighs, and makes a move to get up.  And then the lady says, I think he just needs some attention.  With a big fake smile.  I looked at my friend, and it sort of looked like she was going to cry.  But she got it together, basically ignored the other woman, and her son came back over on his own.  She got up quickly though, and waited in another part of the room.

I couldn't really say anything, because this acquaintance of mine, I don't know her that well.  But I should have.  I am blown away by other parents sometimes, and the way they feel they can pass judgement.  You really never know what's going on in somebody's life, it could be a whole lot harder than a broken phone.  This other woman was there with her husband, watching what appeared to be their only child take swimming lessons in the pool.  The grandma even showed up and watched.  They all doted on the boy afterwards, and I couldn't help but give them the stink eye.  When they couldn't even help the mom on her own with three little kids having a hard day.  Because really, that could have easily been me. 

But.  I suppose I have no idea what those other people are really like either.  Judge not.  Right?


  1. Oh man. That is such an important thing to keep in mind as a parent. Louie C.K. has this routine where he talks about how before you're a parent and you see a mom yelling at her kid you think, "What a bad parent." And after you have kids you think, "What did that horrible child do to that poor woman?" Except apparently for some people, having a kid doesn't even do it.

  2. sooo true. Moments like this happen so often as a parent, and everyone really truly has their own struggle going on.

    Over the years I have appreciated people who stepped up to the plate to help with my kids during their unruly moments. Now, that I don't have real young ones, I see that its my turn to pay the favor back and give a little extra to young ones needing a change of excitement, scene. It truly takes a village to raise a child and if everyone makes a little effort with other parents/kids than parenting would be less isolating. We're not meant to parent in a vacuum of help, or assistance. It should be a reciprocal exchange of help and positivity.

    And you're right about not knowing what was going on in the other peoples lives...I generally take the assumption that people are doing the best that they possibly can at that moment in time, given their background, life conditions, circumstances, etc. It could be called looking at the world through rose colored glasses, but I do think people do the best that they can. And maybe for that seemingly annoying lady who couldn't reach out and help, that was truly the best that she could give. Maybe she didn't have the animation or ability to engage the child or the know-how to simply ignore him and the loud noises he was making.

    What a crazy, wild ride parenting is.....