Monday, January 14, 2013

Never, Ever Say Never

Thought Number One:  Butting Out

A few weeks ago, Hubby and I were stopped at a stop sign when I looked over to the right and the car next to us had antlers and a red nose. I was prepared to laugh at the Christmas decorations, up to the point I noticed there was a toddler standing on the back seat.  Really... she was standing up.   I glanced up to the front seat and noticed the mom and friend were busy talking and smoking.  Now before you start labeling me a nosy, judgmental, bee-atch, I'll just throw it out there that  I usually try not to judge how people deal with their children.  In that instance, though, I was nearly ready to follow this chick home and bitch slap her.  I know...I know...not my business. I can only hope that this mom was right around the corner from her house and the little girl  was about to get some fresh air on solid ground.
So in my defense and not wanting to appear overly  judgmental,  I am going to share a few of my  basic rules regarding how I try NOT to stick my nose into other parents' business.   These guidelines were created in part because I have walked in their shoes and  I know parenting can be really hard.

Here are just a few of my guidelines:

1. I avoid  telling other parents how to deal with their children. (While most people wouldn't hit an older lady, I am not willing to take the chance.)

2.  I never state emphatically  to other parents that my kids are/were 100 percent perfect. (this does NOT pertain to grandchildren..I AM TOTALLY ALLOWED  to say my grandkids are perfect.  If by some horrible happenstance they don't remain perfect, their parents are the ones that will get blamed, anyway.  Win-win for me.....but again...I am sure they are and will remain perfect.)

3.  I try to never imply that  I have or ever had all the answers and that I was a perfect parent.
There are two points to be made with this guideline:
  • A. The word "perfect" is subjective.Mediocre and average are fine words as well.
  • B. There is always the chance that someone  will  remember one of my "mommy fail" moments then I will look like a lying hypocrite. 

4.  When I see a mom losing her mind with a child, I try to show compassion. Sometimes dipping into my sympathy bank is really difficult depending on how the mom is handling things but still....mommy meltdowns usually mean the child is winning the battle.  Score 10 for child, zip for mommy.

5. I would NEVER in a million years say that my child would have never done something or would never do something...because the minute it left my lips they would prove me wrong.  Egg on one's face is never attractive.

6.  While I am prepared to say there are a LOT of  great moms out seems the ones that laud their perfection over the rest of us mortals aren't always among that group.  You might recognize some of the self-proclaimed wonder-moms by the length and quality of their Christmas letters.  For those moms, I am fine to let them delude themselves.  Why burst their bubble?  More than likely their day is coming when the picture of perfection gets a crack or two.

Thought Number Two:  Parenting's auspicious start..The story of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel.

When you think about it, the very first parents...ever...had their hands full and things didn't go exactly as they hoped.  Of course, that's just a theory as I wasn't around at the time. I am assuming that some errors in judgement were made.

It was one thing for Eve  to talk Adam into eating forbidden fruit and getting them kicked out of paradise but just think about the fact, Eve's family became the  very first dysfunctional family.

Technically, these people are my ancestors, so I feel a certain amount of sympathy for Eve having to deal with Cain becoming the world's first felon...AND if that wasn't bad enough, she also would have been the mother of the first person to experience a violent crime. 

Did you notice the family resemblance? 

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momto8blog said...

after 8 kids I stopped giving advise....seeing how I broke all of my own rules!

Cheryl P. said...

To tell you the truth, I added the line about recognizing that there are great moms out there after I read one of your posts. Every post I read of yours tells me you are a terrific mother and I never get the feeling that you are one of the braggy, preachy moms. You rock and probably other mothers would do well to listen to your advice.
I was initially thinking of doing a post about some of the idiot moms I keep seeing at the Walmart. You know the ones that answer the question "Mommy where do babies come from?" with the answer " from too much alcohol". See... There I go sounding judgemental again.

Lia said...

Haha it does not surprise me at all that the first family to exist is dysfunctional. If anything, the world will be a lot happier if they just realize everyone has a dysfunction.

But I absolutely agree and respect you for those points about not judging. I see a lot of parents trying to live vicariously off of their children. It's a sad picture and often comes at the cost of their kid's childhood.

Smoking in front of your baby though?! I don't care if they lived AT the stop sign! That's just wrong...

Cheryl P. said...

I hadn't actually thought about the fact that the first family ever... had a murderer for a kid and another child that was a victim of a murder. Auspicious start for sure. I was reading a book that was talking about religious doctrine that related to the story of Adam and Eve. Really pretty interesting theories on the basis of the religious beliefs pertaining to them.

Yes, I try not to judge but sometimes it is just to outrageous to ignore. The lady in the car was sitting in a cloud of smoke with a kid standing. You are right...there is no way to spin that. That's just wrong.

chubby Chatterbox said...

I think you have an honest outlook on the difficult task that is parenting. Our son is 32 and we're still working on him. The task of parenting never ends.

Kathe W. said...

Great post- funny and very thoughtful!
and yep- all families are dysfunctional in one way or another...none of us are perfect (sorry...sad but true! )
We all muddle through parenting-some better than others dependent upon how we were raised to some extent. And for heavens sake none of these darling babies come with individual instructions or even a warranty!
Chubby Chatterbox is so right- we never ever stop raising our kids or at least worrying about them
(that's one of my many flaws- I am a worry wart)

Cheryl P. said...

Oh truer words were ever spoken. Parenting never ends. I know in my head these two kids of mine are now adults but my heart and my "tendency to worry" I think of them as small children.

lisleman said...

We have gone thousands of years without considering the Adam and Eve (who I don't believe had last names) clan as dysfunctional. It's only because psychiatry came along.
I like the win-win idea of guideline #2.

Wendy said...

I have found that children are not buckled in because they resisted and the parent(s) let them have their way. Having raised five children, I know they are not little adults,but in need of clear guide lines and direction,especially when their safety is involved.Once they know you are serious about maintaining the line, no more hassles. I was an easy going mom about most other things ( ie, experiments on the kitchen table, things on the floor) but safety was first and taught well. I too do my best not to judge. As parents, we all have our own style and limits. However, sometimes it is hard to say nothing.
These 'first family' dysfunctional pictures are hilarious, Cheryl. I had never thought of it that way before. I agree with chubby Chatterbox- the role of parent never ends...just like our parents see us!

Wendy said...

lol....ah, but you kept that thought to yourself ,didn't you.
Putting it here doesn't count ;)

Cheryl P. said...

To all of you that follow the of the comments didn't come through from Kathe W. over at It's a Snap...very cool blog BTW.... so anyway I am moving her comment over here.

Great post- funny and very thoughtful!
and yep- all families are dysfunctional in one way or another...none of us are perfect (sorry...sad but true! )
We all muddle through parenting-some better than others dependent upon how we were raised to some extent. And for heavens sake none of these darling babies come with individual instructions or even a warranty!
Chubby Chatterbox is so right- we never ever stop raising our kids or at least worrying about them
(that's one of my many flaws- I am a worry wart)

She brings up a valid point about not having instructions.

Cheryl P. said...

Yes, you are right that we wouldn't of probably been talking about Adam and Eve's dysfunction if we didn't live in a time of analyzing the psychology of it. AND there is the fact, we live in the time of reality TV. Adam and Eve's show would come on right behind Honey Boo Boo.

Cheryl P. said...

I think part of the reason it is hard not to be judgmental is linked to where our priorities lie. I was big into safety as well so when I see an unbuckled kid, it makes me crazy. I was also the kind of parent that regarded myself as the boss and didn't expect that my kids could call the shots on things that were not good choices. Hence the buckling them in...I would win on that one, I think. I am truly stubborn on some issues.

Still I was very laid back about other things so maybe it all equals out.

Cheryl P. said...

haha...yes, I am hoping that only a select few of my regular readers notice that I can be the judgmental bee-atch that profess not to be.

Cheryl P. said...

Oh and thanks for noticing the pictures. You wouldn't believe how long it took me to draw the cartoons and then have to cover their little genderless bodies with fig leaves.

babs (beetle) said...

I don't have children so I can safely say that IF I had children and IF I could drive, my kids WOULD be buckled in safely. Also, IF I had children I would certainly NOT smoke in the small confines of a car with them inside.

Lastly, IF I had children, I would be the PERFECT mother ;)

Wolfbernz said...

Hi Cheryl,
It's bad enough to see people racing down the highway without their seatbelts on, knowing what we know about seatbelt safety, let alone to see a mother or father racing down the road with an improperly secured child in the back seat. Accidents happen close to home and they happen fast - it plucks my nerves to see it.

Trina said...

As if the kid not being strapped in is bad enough, they addicting the kid to smoking too. Some people just need to be smacked.
Great advise on not butting in to other parenting situations... I sometimes feel for mommies having meltdowns, but you're right the kid wins when it happens. (I'm not gonna lie though, I have laughed pretty hard about a few meltdowns I've witnessed)
And, when you put a face to Eve, that poor woman! All by herself with just a snake to talk to. No one to help or pose a question to... no wonder Cain was such a mess.
Happy Tuesday!

Cheryl P. said...

Babs, I am 100% sure you would be in the small group of perfect mothers. See already you display profound wisdom by putting the kid in a car seat and not smoking within the car.

Hope you are feeling better.

Cheryl P. said...

Agreed,...if an adult chooses to be careless...that isn't desirable but still not being safe with your child is unacceptable. AND they say most accidents happen close to home.

Cheryl P. said...

Smacked is exactly what they need. I just won't be the one to do it. Let's hope Karma takes care of it. Sometime it's funny if the parents are kind of rolling with it. It upsets me to see parents screaming or yanking on small kids. I understand their frustration but still it can be hard to watch.

Yeh being the first and only woman had to be bad especially with a snake that is devious.

Riot Kitty said...

I have to muzzle myself and I don't even have kids. Some people should just not reproduce. Those were two separate thoughts, btw.

Jo-Anne said...

Ok first up if I had pulled up next to a car with a child standing on the back seat I would roll my window down and say do you realise your child is standing up and hope the parent wouldn't get pissed off with me about it......sometimes we don't realise what the child is doing. I had an occassion when Little Leo took his seat belt off and climbed into the boot of the soon as I realised I pulled over and went mad..................

Now while out shopping if I come across children being loud and naughty and a parent feeling harrassed I offer symphany but that is all..............

Cheryl P. said...

I don't think having kids is necessary to recognize good or bad parenting. I agree that some people shouldn't reproduce but strangely some of the worst parents have the best kids. Perhaps the kids try harder to compensate for their idiot parents. Of course then there are idiots that raise idiots.

Cheryl P. said...

I tend not to be very outspoken to strangers. I suppose if I felt that someone was being threatened or something I would step in. That Leo is a little character.

oldereyes said...

Sorry to have been "missing in inaction" here. I seem to be having trouble getting my year off the ground. I, too, try to stay out of other people's kid business. Maybe it's easier for me because some of my parenting didn't turn out so hot. I'm a much better grandparent. I have made the mistake of commenting on the way someone was treating their dog ... also a mistake unless you want to end up in an argument.

You look good in leaves, by the way.

Brenda said...

Yep, we see them everyday and their cars, in stores, etc., and it's hard sometimes not saying anything. I remember when my children were young (70's), having a car seat was not a law and parents seemed not to care about smoking around their children. My poor husband lived in a house with a chain smoking mom and dad. Times have surely changed for the better. While, I sure can't say I was a perfect mother, I am trying to be an ( almost perfect) grandmother to my perfect grandchildren!

Cheryl P. said...

Being a grandparent comes much easier than being a parent for most of us, I think. Looking back at all the things I would do different is futile, of course, but if there was a section of railroad track laid for every misstep I took parenting, I would take a train and come to see you and Muri....on my way to Japan.

Most of the people I know would take me criticizing their parenting skills much easier than me criticizing their dog handling skills. I am proud of you that you got into an argument if someone was mistreating an animal.

The glory of cartoon Cheryl is I can just smooth out the flaws. I seriously thought I might paint in some stretch marks for the fun of it.

Cheryl P. said...

You are so right about times changing. As our kids are the same era as your kids, I cringe when I think of how lax car safety was back then. Remember those cheap plastic baby seats for kids. Gosh, it is amazing I didn't do major harm to my babies.

haha...It's so much easier to be a perfect...OK almost perfect...grandparent.

meleahrebeccah said...

1. Um… STFD! The child was STANDING in the backseat while the mom was SMOKING? No fucking way. I would have flippppppped out.

I am much like you [no surprise] - and I would never tell other parents how to raise their kids either - but I'm sorry, that lady in the car needs a smack upside the head.


2. I cannot stop laughing. I freaking LOVE you!

Bodaciousboomer said...

They were smoking in the car and had a toddler in the back unbuckled? You were the soul of restraint. When I saw a toddler leaning outta a car window while going down the street I called 911 on the mom.

Cheryl P. said...

You are A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!! Yes, I was flipping out. I am sitting there looking her way with dropped jaw while she totally was having a chat-fest with her passenger. I considered calling 911 but then the light changed and off she went.

After a few WAFBs., I gained control of myself.


Cheryl P. said...

I seriously considered it. As we were sitting there discussing it, the light changed and off she went. I figured I would sound like a moron on the phone trying to convey some random car in that part of KC. Had I been behind her and had a license number I might of.

meleahrebeccah said...

No, YOU ARE!!!


abeerfortheshower said...

I'm sorry to break it to you but it's not Adam and Eve, it's Adam and STEVE.

The other day I saw a father lose his crap in Walmart. Took his kid's chips, slammed them into the ground and stomped them into dust, and started yelling. But I didn't intervene, because I didn't know what the kid did. I don't have kids, but I do know that kids have the potential to make me that angry, so I butted out. I still wonder what the kid did.

Cheryl P. said...

As you know, I am older than dirt so I have kids and grandkids but still, I would hate to stick my nose into someones business, uninvited anyway. I think if I ever saw a parent hitting a child I would take them on or be dialing 911 but everything else is a gray area.

Yes, kids are sometimes little shits but I can't imagine getting all that angry. There is just a crap load of parents that are just bad at parenting. Whatever that kid did, there had to be a better way of handling it than losing his mind in the middle of Walmart. Still better that he slammed the chips instead of the kid.

The earning potential for psychiatrists isn't in jeopardy anytime soon.

Nicky said...

I try not to judge other people's parenting skills because I know I've had my share of (epic) mommy failures - I always say my kids turned out well *despite* my parenting, not *because* of it - but leaving your kid without a seat belt... I don't think I would have been able to leave that alone.

Cheryl P. said...

I say the exact same thing about my parenting. My kids turned out great in spite of me. By the time I figured out how to be the parent I wanted to be they were grown up.

It was a dilemma as to what to do about "sh**-for-brains" but really by the time I was sitting there contemplating the light changed and that took away most of my options.