I recently became the owner of a very super extra cool teeshirt from http://www.theindiebird.com. The tee features a sound of music style Julie Andrews, arms outstretched on the hill – with the caption, “This is me not caring.” And in a effort to tie my life into my blog with a neat little bow today’s blog theme is the same. Hey world – it’s me Erin. And today the hills are alive with the sounds of me not caring.
Now don’t jump too far or too fast down conclusion road. Anyone that knows me is aware that I care vehemently about many things. I care about my family, my friends, and the newest season of OITNB to name a few. But why this shirt speaks to me on so many levels is that I currently hold one of the most judged positions out there. You know the one. Mother. As in mother of two and “sweet mother of God, what are you crazy boys doing?” And lordy lordy if the world doesn’t love to judge a parent. So in honor of my new shirt and my old attitude, (FYI – my kids inherited my ‘tude too so there’s another avenue to judge if you are looking!) I’m ready to wear this shirt with pride.
This is me not caring if my child loses his shit in public. This is me not caring if you did it different when you had kids this age. This is me not caring to hear unsolicited opinions. This is me not caring about the “noise.”
I ordered this shirt a couple weeks back but it couldn’t have arrived at a better time as this idea of caring about other’s opinions was fresh on my mind. This past week I was chatting with a friend while our kids chased each other around. As we talked, another mother walked by with her two year old son who was in hysterics. She was clearly embarrassed about her son’s tantrum and it didn’t take long for her to admit to us that she was always scared she was being judged when her child was losing his shit. While I think it’s just fact that moms all deal with this from time to time (or hour to hour for us toddler parents) she was looking at us thinking that we were probably judging HER based on her CHILD’S age appropriate outburst all while in my head there was truly only empathy.
I thought about that poor mama for awhile after crossing paths with her. I felt awful for her. Not because her kid was having a tantrum – that comes with the territory. But because she was feeling an unnecessary burden over something that I wish I could help her shake off. And then there was the wave of relief that I watched wash over her as we both expressed that we were not only not judging, but we were also very familiar with the public tantrum. You could see her exhale and just open up. Had she had a thought cloud of her head I think it may have said, “Oh thank, God. My PEOPLE!”
The truth is, I gave up on caring about other people’s perception of my parenting a LONG time ago. No farce. I simply just DON’T care. And good gravy (this is me practicing not using my potty mouth) does it feel good to not care. I didn’t care last year when a woman made comments to me in Target about how HER children ALWAYS sat nicely in the cart when they were little. My reply? “Huh. Your children just must have been much better behaved than mine. Have a good day!” I didn’t care when my kid swan dove to the ground at the grocery store yesterday because I wouldn’t let him run the cart into a display of wine bottles. One nice woman said, “oh he must be tired!” And me, knowing that he just got up from a two hour nap and always a promoter of the truth replied, “Nope! He’s just two!” And while their behavior can piss me off, exhaust me, annoy me etc – the perception of their behavior by randos off the street – yeah, that’s a zero on my care meter.
And likewise, parent friends of mine – the odds are high that I’ve witnessed your child throwing a tantrum or lashing out or disobeying etc and so on. Rest assured that my not caring transfers to you as well. Your kid acting like *gasp* a kid and having an outburst isn’t going to nudge my care meter either. Children are emotional little people with limited self control who are still working on appropriate ways to emote. They deserve the time to grow and mature appropriately. You deserve a huge glass of wine and a fist bump. Random judgey McJudgerson deserves a stink eye.
My kids, like all kids, have the ability to be a HUGE pain in the ass. They can bust my hump and drive me up a wall and get on that last nerve. But nowhere in any of that do I worry about what kind of a parent that makes me look like or care what anyone other than my kids and my husband think of my parenting. I worry that my children might grow up in an unfriendly world. I worry that they may doubt themselves and their abilities. I worry about whether I am making them feel as loved as they are or giving them the safe space at home to be open with us as they grow. But that random sir or madam with a scowl on their face and a chip on their shoulder – I don’t worry about what THEY think of MY parenting, because that is just NOISE. It doesn’t come from concern. It isn’t meant to alleviate any current issues. It doesn’t help the child and it most certainly doesn’t help the parent.
So mom friends. If you are living in fear of your next public tantrum, take a tip from me and close your eyes, imagine your arms flung back ala Julie Andrews and your headphones on playing whatever anthem gets you through your tough days as a parent. This is me not caring what people thing of my tantruming toddler because between those typical childhood outbursts is a little dude who is pretty cool, super charming and 100% loveable who thinks their mama is doing alllllllright.