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Parenting frustrations…

February 16, 2011

This is mostly about a semi-sensitive topic, and I’m not looking for drama creation or venting. I know that not everyone agrees with my point of view, and that’s fine. Harsh judgments are exceptionally upsetting and out of place.

So, not long after we got home, (it’s been just over three weeks now! Yay!) my mom, Danny, and I went shopping on the local military base. Dan had an interview with the childcare facility, so we had a little time to kill.
Danny started out in the shopping cart, and when he got restless, I let him get down to walk – provided he would hold my hand. He was doing pretty well, until we were walking through some clothes – I’m having the darnedest time finding a long enough, cute skirt that would be work appropriate if I get a job! – and he dropped my hand and took off. If you don’t have a toddler, you really don’t know how fast they move. So I “bolt” after him, and pull out his monkey backpack. Everyone’s seen these – the tail has a wrist-strap for Mom or Dad to hold that allows a toddler more freedom than hand-holding does. He actually likes his backpack and doesn’t mind wearing it. Since he wasn’t going to hold my hand and behave as I expected, I figured the backpack was the best option – he could move around at least somewhat independently (thus not having me standing around pathetically with a screaming child in my cart) but I would know he was safe and within reach without having to hold his arm – which would incite more screaming and a full-blown, on-the-floor tantrum. Not my idea of an ideal shopping excursion.

As an aside, I’ve had so many more Braxton Hicks contractions with this pregnancy than I did when I was pregnant with Danny. Chasing him around like a mad woman makes them happen more often. Since I’m still nursing, I’m very paranoid about anything that could send me into pre-term labor and threaten this baby’s life. So having Danny “leashed” to prevent this seems like a fair trade, especially since he’s usually dragging me around by the leash, not the other way around.

Anyway, my mom went to check out, and Danny decided he wanted to keep walking through the store. So I’m chasing after him (and I will admit, I still don’t look very pregnant, just rounder…ugh.) while he’s attached to my wrist, and a young serviceman makes a snide comment to his buddy, right in front of my mom, about how I’m treating him like a dog. I’m grateful that I didn’t overhear it, but my mother did. And she ripped this young man a new one. I got back just in time to hear her tell him to keep his mouth shut until he had three under three (please, please no! I don’t want three under three!) and he was walking off.
I knew, realistically, that a lot of people take issue with these little backpacks. I’m used to the ugly stares and judgment faces. But to have a comment made like that really shook me to my core. Like many, maybe most, moms, I constantly have a niggling voice in the back of my mind that whispers to me about how I’m not a good mom. Things like this feel like validation for that self-doubt. And that’s why it’s still upsetting to me, even though it’s been about two weeks. I know it shouldn’t bother me, especially because it was just some moron popping off at the mouth who doesn’t even know our situation, but it does. I try so, so hard to be a good mom, and I know I’m not always the best parent I could be, but I’m not a bad mom, either.

That was also the first time that I used his backpack by myself. Previously, he’s only worn it once or twice, and with Dan both times. I have not used it since, partially because I haven’t had occasion, but mostly because I feel too paper-thin to do so. This has been a hyper-emotional pregnancy for me…probably because with Danny I was pretty even-keeled til the end. Uggggh.

Moral of the story: unless what someone is doing is ACTUALLY abusive, keep your judgy comments to yourself until you get into your car. You never know who is listening, or how much you can hurt someone with a snide remark. And particularly to those without children: you NEVER know how your life and opinions will change when you do have kids. You can say there are things you will never do, and then you do them. It doesn’t make you bad or wrong or a hypocrite (unless it IS child abuse…), it just means that you had to adapt. Be open minded. Every parent-child relationship is different.

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