Judgy Mom-ness and Other Jewels of Parenthood

What would you say about the Mom who allowed THIS?

Guilty Confession: Once, to a friend of mine, I complained about a Mom  reading her Kindle while her kids were playing in the library playroom. I thought she must have not wanted to engage with her kids or pay them attention. I didn’t think that she might be trying to conserve and salvage the two good brain cells she has left and actually read a book that does not have a giraffe, a moose, a cat or a dragon in it. She was squeezing in me time. I totally get it. Now.

Dear Kindle Mom at the library,

I am very sorry I was so wrapped up in my mother-of-a-one-year-old self that I did not project I, too, someday would be dying to read a magazine while my toddler was busy not sharing trains with other kids in the library playroom. I owe you a coffee.


Humbled Mom of Red Headed Toddler

The Library: So there I was this past Thursday, reading a new magazine called Working Mom (Irony much?) while Parker played with other children. I was attentive in that Thank-God-my-child-is-playing-nice way and inattentive in the I-need-something-in-my-head-that-is-not-work-or-kids way. I was having blatant and public Me-time right there for all Judgy Moms and God to see. I kept my eyes on the other Moms—some were playing with their kids and some were taking my cue for Me time. But, I was still feeling guilty. Even as I write this I wonder if my Mom readers will agree or say “Only Shortcut Girl would come up with a way to entertain herself and her children. She’s so lazy.” But I’m willing to let y’all do that because well, I think we all do it from time to time.

The Grocery Store: I’ve rolled my eyes before at the loud screaming kid. I’ve said to myself “Just leave.” And then, like karma, I’ve been the Mom just trying to pick up a couple things at Target in the middle of a major meltdown. For weeks, Parker said, “I was kye-ing and you took me out of Target?” Yes. I was there, little boy. That’s what happened.

The Neighborhood Party: This summer, at the lake, we were invited to a barbeque. While most kids are teenagers around camp, there is one boy just eight months younger than Parker. He was excited to play with him and like the awesome-I’m-so-cool-and–pack-extra-stuff Mom that I am (or was that day), I offered him a juice pouch since Parker was having one.

Smug Mom:“No, if we let him have that then we will have to give it to him at our house.”

[Avoiding the implication that I feed my kid crap and his teeth are going to rot out of his head]

Shortcut Mom:“Oh well, it’s our summer treat, I guess.” [While shoving said juice pouch deep in my bag she can’t see the cookies and lollipops inside]

Smug Mom:“He has only EVER HAD milk and water.”

Shortcut Mom:[Look at kids and smile in the hopes that my head does not explode with embarrassment slash anger]

The Best Friend’s House: A close friend and I had babies three months apart. The boys are best friends and go to day care together. Whenever we go to their house, I play the worst tug of war of behavior you have seen with Parker. He always seems too rough, too bossy, too contrary or just too toddler-y compared to his sweet blonde counterpart. This week, she invited us for a nice dinner. And by nice I mean the food she made, not necessarily my experience. The experience included repeating-ordering-demanding-asking-bribing-begging Parker to just eat, take bites, consume, sip, smell, look at or even touch something to eat. He didn’t. His buddy did. His buddy got chocolate milk (my idea to bring) and he didn’t. We’re talking Stage 4 Toddler Nuclear Meltdown. We departed quickly. No words were spoken by Michael or myself on the way home. I shed a few tears of embarrassment. Of frustration. Of complete and utter—what am I supposed to do?

25 hiccupping-chocolate-milk-requesting sobs later, I was putting Parker to bed. “I have bad buh-have-orr, Mommy? I didn’t have chocolate milk?” Yup, buddy. I was there.

The Conclusion: Judgy Mom-ness is like karma. You get back what you put out. You criticize the family bed that your hippy dippy neighbor has, your kid then spends two weeks spooning your head. You don’t understand why your work friends kids won’t sleep through the night? Your baby girl begins waking at various half hour intervals on the same night you decided to stay up and watch Real Housewives.

They are kids and there are no guarantees. You only really have today. Today he is not pushing his sister. Today all he ate were three bites of grilled cheese. You can’t make predictions, assumptions or guarantees about any person. We all have our days of perfectly civil behavior and we those of yelling, through tears, while cleaning up poop on the floor.

A wise Mom once told me, EVERYthing is a phase. The good, the bad, the ugly. It’s all temporary. So, don’t spend too much time worrying–or gloating. Because sure enough, it’s going to bite your little Kindle-reading-in-the-library-playroom Mommy butt.



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