Tuesday, March 24, 2009

shame

While watching the season finale of Jon and Kate Plus Eight last night:

GABE: Where are the twins?
NORA: I don't know.
GABE: Hm. [Thinks the conversation is over.]
NORA: I know. I bet Mady ate Cara so they sent her to juvy.

Then I laughed at myself really hard, then I felt bad for making fun of an eight year old girl who is obviously not ok.

It's easy to make assumptions and judgments about the Gosselins, and the Duggars, and the frackin' Octo-Mom, and all of the other parents who are doing things I would not. When comparing, I would lose track of everything I would do differently, either in my life or if I was in their situation. Becoming a parent opens you up to all sorts of criticisms and judgments, no matter what you're doing, and it's not fair- but those same parents who are made to build up defenses are trying to knock down the forts other parents build.

It's an ugly cycle.

I'm going to write more about this later, when I am not just minutes from the end of Liam's nap. I have things I'd like to talk about regarding the walls I have to build against criticisms and assumptions about me, and I have opinions I want to share about families who live their life on television.

In the meantime, tell me... do other parents make you cringe? Do you see moms and dads doing things ALL WRONG by your standards? Or are you able to always see objectively? What have you had to defend yourself against?

.

7 comments:

AndreAnna said...

I try to let most of it go, because I have no idea what moment in thier day I'm seeing. Did their mother just die? Did someone just lose their job? Is their patience thin for one of those reasons? So, regardless, unless it's physical violence, I try not to judge.

One thing that always leaves me slackjawed at my husband is seeing kids - YOUNG kids, toddlers, babies - out on the town late.

For us, our children's bedtime is something so paramount to their development and something we make a priority. We may stretch it here and there but never to the hour I've seen some children out.

Even then, I try and reserve judgement and think, "Well, maybe they NEED to be out this late." even though clearly, the situation shows that they don't more often than not.

Not my kid though. Not my problem.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. I know for a fact that I make tons of mistakes as a parent every day. I know that I often favor the easy route and an opportunity to be lazy over being the kind of parent I always thought I would be. I love my kids though, and they know that. I am fairly consistent, and have a few things that I stay the course on no matter what. The results that I have so far are- a toddler that is sweet and affectionate to almost every one, that is fairly well behaved in public, a super duper big brother, but a stubborn little monkey that won't give up his comforts without a MAJOR fight.

I feel that because I am so very honest about my short comings as a parent that, sometimes it's ok for me to have an opinion about someone else's. The biggest example of this would be how my father and his wife deal with their two year old. He is a total wild man, and a major handful- to the point that he is unpleasant to be around at times. This is because both my dad and his wife are so complacent with his behavior, and they don't provide the kind of structure in routine that children of this age thrive off of. Another example would be my friend Rachel, who (bless her heart) makes her kids the center of her universe to the point that they have entitlement issues, and think that they are above reproach. Now, in both cases, these children are loved, clothed, fed, and treated well, and while I don't agree with them, I can't take issue with you as a parent unless you are neglectful and of abusive.

I don't know. We all do things so differently, and have such different backgrounds that make us the parents that we have all become.

Star

Mainegirl/Pauline said...

... do other parents make you cringe?: Yes there are those who do. Mostly parents that are putting their children into the line of danger. I do count not properly having your baby or toddler into a car seat in this 'line'. There are stick guidelines made by athourities with medical safety reasons behind them. I've heard too many moms say "oh they'll be fine" when they are doing something against logic and THE LAW. I don't think that they are necessarily bad but they are wrong and it does make me cringe.

Do you see moms and dads doing things ALL WRONG by your standards?: As stated above yes at times.

Or are you able to always see objectively?: I try to look at it with an open mind but in some cases...as I've stated there are no excuses to the safety of the child.

What have you had to defend yourself against?: I have very strong personality children. They are determined to get their way no matter how much discipline and argument I give. I can imagine that someone may have thought out to dinner once or many more times, lol... that I let them scream and walk all over me too much.

Audreee said...

The only thing that I see that makes me cringe is people yelling at their children in public.I'm not talking about a "no, don't touch that", or "be quiet or we are going home". I once stood behind a woman in line at Wal-mart, who proceeded to curse at yell at her two daughters. The oldest was about four. I felt embarassed for them, sad for them. Children deserve respect as much as adults.
Katt Williams does a bit about people punishing their kids in public. "Maybe you're a bad mother! Did you ever think of that? He's a baby, he's supposed to like Skittles!"
I bet I could find it on youtube.

The only thing that I feel criticised about is the fact that I am "extended" nursing my twenty-one month old. I refuse to apologize for that, though.

Jenny said...

Sometimes other parents do make me cringe. Like previous posts said, I hate seeing young kids out WAY too late and when parents yell the crap out of their children in public. I see a lot of this since I work at Target. I've been cussed out before by parents IN FRONT of their children. Wonderful example, right?
But truly on the smaller issues, I try hard not to judge since I don't want to be judged by others myself.
The only thing I've been judged on is my age since I'm only 20. It doesn't help that I look younger than I really am. When I meet new people and I say I'm married and have a child, they always ask me how old I am. I feel like I have to defend myself around other parents too, which is why I don't have many friends who are moms. I hate it, it's like it's assumed I'm a bad mom by the looks I get sometimes. But maybe I read too much into it. I'm definitely harder on myself as a mom because of it.

Bridget said...

I feel like I get judged by the smallest things sometimes. Like if I am running behind in my day and have to go to the McDonald's drive thru. Even though no one really sees me I feel like a horrible mother who is feeding her child crap. Somebody would judge me for that :)I think I am a pretty good parent and it is sad that this society has made us moms parinoid and make us feel like the worst moms if we do one little thing wrong.

I can't help but sometimes cringe at other parents. It is drilled in me to think that what they are doing is wrong, just from what you read, see on tv, or what people tell you. I try not to judge people, but sometimes I can't help it. I mean I totally agree with the previous commenters about the parents who you see in wal-mart at midnight with their cart full of toddlers, that just makes me sad for the kids since they don't know any better. Oh, and the paren't that swear and yell at their children, YUCK! That is sad. I know there is really nothing I can do about it though and I know I would never do that to my children. All you can really do is ignore it.

As far as defending my parenting, the really sad thing is that most of the time I am doing this with family or at least the in-laws. I feel like I have to explain why I do everything or they judge me. I can't even think of a specific thing right now, but I normally feel I do this around people I know and not strangers. I think because I don't really care what strangers think of me and that is probably what the lady at wal-mart who is yelling at her kids at midnight is thinking too! :)

Lydia said...

I try to remain objective... only because I know what it feels like to be scrutinized for my parenting choices...
But that's just when it comes to different PARENTING choices... like my choices to co-sleep, not CIO etc... those are things I find I have to defend myself against, as I seem to be the only person I know IRL that parents that way! So I am careful not to judge someone for doing the opposite of me there...
And like Star said... I make mistake too, I let Aleric do things I never dreamed I'd let him do... like right now he's watching TV!! *shock!* I lose my temper occasionally... I skip his bath! But we're human, incapable of being perfect, so we've got to let some things go...

But the things I cannot remain objective about are the things already mentioned... smoking in front of kids, not buckling them in, keeping them up all night, cussing at them!
I have a friend who cusses like a dirty sailor in front of his toddler daughter, and imagine his shock when one of her first words was, "sit!"
Another single dad I know allows his kids (from the time they were 3or 4) watch R rated movies with hime that were filled with cussing, blood, gore and sex. I had it out with him, and he was just an idiot about it....
sigh... anyways...