Thursday, January 24, 2013

Not So Secretly Judging You

So far, it hasn't happened to me, although for sure I have deserved it.  I have heard it is very common, and I wonder if I've avoided it is because of my gender so far.  My sister had it happen to her the other day for the first time. 

She was running an errand and a complete stranger told her that her son needed a coat.  She immediately began justifying why he didn't, and she was absolutely correct.  Now, I've known my sister for a long time…as long as I've been alive actually.  Justifying her actions to complete strangers is not really in her character makeup.  Yet, she did. 

I would like to think I would have a witty response ready to go. 

“Your right, I’m terrible at this.  Do you think you could take them, or would I be better off reaching out to CPS?”

A small part of me hopes I just go off on the person, but since my kids will be there, I don’t really want them to see me handle conflict that way. Yet, I know I will do the exact thing she did — I’ll half justify my reaction and half walk away.

Like most parents, I've been not so secretly judging you ever since my first child was born.  You’re a terrible parent, and if you were a better parent, than your kids would be more like mine…ya know…perfect.  It is simple really — if my kid is perfect and your kid is not, then the only two options are genetics or parenting…right?  If I were a woman, they would call this “mommy wars.” The idea is that there is a right and a wrong way to parent.  Guess which side you fall on?

I just have enough tact to not mention it directly.  This may shock you, but I even let my friends make multiple parenting mistakes without ever letting them know.  I’m nice enough to point out that they have a piece of food in their teeth but not that they may be ruining their child.

Why does having a child make us ALL so judgmental?

While the most popular mommy wars involve breastfeeding, co-sleeping, home schooling, and car seats, I have never heard anyone refer to “daddy wars,” which I think is more a product of our culture than any superiority or non-competitiveness on the dad’s part. What would ‘daddy wars’ Sound like?

“You’re raising your son as a Notre Dame fan?  You do know that studies have shown this will lead to your children over estimating expectations and constant disappointments?”

“Yeah, well at least he will know the word champion!”

Let’s allow for some over generalizations here.  I think we do not see daddy wars for a few reasons.  Number one: culturally, dads aren't invested in parenting like women are cultured to be, so we don’t care about your kids.  The media is constantly stoking the flames of resentment for women, dragging them into arguments, they otherwise wouldn't care about.  Dads are just as competitive, but as a result of the lack of media attention, your kid being perfect doesn't prevent mine from being so as well. Number two: it is easier for us to admit that we have no idea what we are doing.  Mainly because society tells us we shouldn't.  Finally, and sadly, there are not enough dads who are actively engaged in their children’s life.  Those that still think the bar is set at not beating your wife.

The truth is there is no right and wrong way to parent.  As long as you love them, then you are doing it right.  When asked, my number one piece of advice for new parents is simple.  Trust your instincts, they have been working for thousands of years.  Our family has a list of what is important to us.  It helps to keep out all the white noise and make decisions.  Call it a family mission statement.

Play- —No flash cards, no baby geniuses, just focus on play.  Ask thoughtful questions while you play.

Sleep — Sleep is as important as food.  You wouldn't starve your children; don’t make them sleep deprived.  Our boys go to bed at 7 p.m. and wake up at 7 a.m.  J naps anywhere from two to three hours in the afternoon.  This often means that T and I miss out on things we would otherwise want to do.
3   Consistency — This applies to almost anything.  Consistent rules, punishments, schedules, and diets.
      Respect — This has recently been officially added, but it has always been important.  Respect your toys, yourself, your parents, your house, everything.

This is just what we use. You may feel free to judge us if you like.  Just keep your comments to yourself, unless you’re willing to take over full time.


  1. Craig, the mommy wars typically refer to working moms vs. stay at home moms. The rest is just catty judging.

    Also, there's nothing better to hope for your child than that he become a Notre Dame fan. You're doing a great job!

    1. Thanks for the positive feedback, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      Their mother-in-law would disagree with you, but this season def helped. She is trying to turn them into badger fans.

      Also I keep hearing about this 'catty' person. I would like to believe that there really was a person named catty, and she was an insensitive, high maintenance, condescending B***. HA! I wonder what the positive and negative version of my name would mean...