When I was expecting, there was a group of parents I referred to as the ‘just you wait’ers.
I was a generally happy pregnant woman. No morning sickness, no heartburn, no major physical complaints.
I looked forward to the impending birth of both my kidlets with inexplicable readiness. I didn’t have an overwhelming fear of the process or the pain.
I even felt prepared for parenthood.
My attitude was one of all-round ‘I got this’.
Some people didn’t like that.
Whenever I’d express my enthusiasm, naive or not, they’d start their reply with ‘just you wait…’
Typical sentences included:
‘Just you wait until you don’t get any sleep.’
‘Just you wait until you lose your social life.’
‘Just you wait until your shoes don’t fit.’
Now that I’m a mum-of-two, there’s another group of parents I’m labelling the ‘I would never’s.
They might be the natural evolution of the ‘just you wait’ers, and they start too many sentences with… you guessed it… ‘I would never’.
It’s a not-so-subtle way of judging, even criticising, the parenting of others.
Instead of outright proclaiming ‘kids shouldn’t eat lollies,’ they wait for you to mention the fact your child had a Caramello Koala for afternoon tea and they respond with ‘I would never let my child eat chocolate.’
Real-life ‘I would never’s I’ve copped include:
‘I would never let my kids take plastic onto the beach’… in response to seeing my children open some Glad-wrapped snacks on the sand. We took the litter home – of course.
‘I would never let my kids watch a movie before they’d read the book-version first’… in response to me listing the films my daughter loves (she can’t read yet btw).
‘I would never take my children to McDonald’s’… in response to me recounting the details of a horrific road-trip in an electrical storm with a screaming baby. We pulled into the Golden Arches for some respite. So sue me.
Sadly, I could go on.
I understand we all have different philosophies, rules and beliefs about what’s right and wrong.
I understand that we all just want the best for our kids.
And I understand the importance of letting negativity roll off your back.
But, you know what? Sometimes we just need to practice a little more kindness.
We can all think a little more before we open our mouths.
I would never want my words to become poisonous baggage to be carried around by another.
Especially a vulnerable new parent.