Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A community service announcement for the Perfect (but as yet not an actual) Parent

It’s time to decant with a rant – and the recipient of this rile is directed at The Perfect (but as yet not an actual) Parent.

This gang get my goat often. They are the type who enjoy espousing their strongly worded opinions onto those more vulnerable prey (ie first time or overwhelmed mums) and harbour the belief that the perfect parent is not so much a myth but a plausible and achievable pursuit.

More often than not, they’re also yet to dive into the deep end of the child rearing pool, having no little people of their own on which to practice their apparently perfect parenting skills.   They also don’t quite grasp the concept that there is a difference between offering advice and butting in.  And when you haven’t had the pleasure of a child crushing your pelvic floor for 9 months (in my opinion) you aren’t qualified to put forward your unsolicited opinion.

The other day I came across a mum who was juggling her unhappy child in the midst of a crowded café, bustling with its lunch time trade.  Now I was not at all perturbed by the toddler shenanigans, and I envisage most other mothers present wouldn’t have been as well.  I was actually silently applauding her for keeping such a cool façade in the face of her son’s fracas, mentally taking tips for the next time my own child was due one of these scenes.  However once the lady left, a plume of vitriol descended over the table of two young ladies who had obviously not been enjoying their salad sandwiches.

 “If that was my son, I’d have taken him outside and shown him who was boss” one self righteously huffed, while her companion agreed emphatically, swinging her perfectly blow-dried blond locks over her well dressed shoulder.

“Imagine letting a child get away with whining like that all the time. That’s just not on”.

It was all I could do not to walk over and slap them into seeing sense.

ALL mothers know that these situations are unavoidable. I don’t care whether you have been awarded Peacemaker Mother of The Year, and your offspring are angels incarnate.  There will come a time when you or your child will have a bad day. They will channel the 80’s evil child doll Chuckie and ensure your every shred of patience and serenity vanishes quicker than an US retiree’s savings on the Stock Exchange. And it will likely all play out in some public arena, for the viewing pleasure of all in the vicinity.

So here’s a novel idea for the members of this nasty gang:  instead of attacking a mother behind her back for the way in which she chooses to handle her child in a temperamental situation, how about empathising with her and sending some love her way?  Even a sympathetic smile can make a world of difference, such as the other day when Master H went into full scale nuclear meltdown mode, throwing himself down on the tiled entrance of the Chemist, having been dragged in and out of the car one too many times that particular day.  The Pharmacist gave me a kind “sisterhood” smile that told me she’d walked in my shoes before.  There was no judgement, no butting in with unwanted advice, and no reproach in her eyes.  In fact she may well have been thinking “Damn I am glad those days are well behind me!” (I’d not have begrudged her that thought!)

Do not, as the not-so-nice-yet-blessed-with-youth hairdresser I was forced out of desperation to take Master H to once, huff and puff and snap angrily him, as he grew increasingly agitated with his personal space being invaded: “if you’d just stopped crying and moving around I’d have been finished right now”.  Part of me just wanted to shrivel into the cracks of the floor, as I made the decision to remove him from her wrath, with only half of his hair cut complete. But the more incensed side of me cast a curse on her as I skulked away with my screaming child; that once her child bearing days are due, karma comes back to bite her on the bum in the form of a screaming banshee baby. 

Because as we bone fide parents know all too well, what goes around comes around (particularly when it comes to vomit and poo…) so all of you perfect yet-to-be-actual-parents beware of what potential karmic consequences await J


Alex aka WHOA MUMMA! said...


Enjoy your smug child free life because karma's going to get you eventually!

Maxabella said...

I wish you'd slapped them. That would have made us all feel better!!! x

Julie said...

*cringe* - yes, I knew everything about parenting before I was a parent too. Unfortunately I now know NOTHING!

Salamander said...

Oh, I LOVE those perfect non-parents!!! They're my favourites. Just like the non-mother who espoused her opinions on foods with "numbers" and how she would never feed her children anything that wasn't organic, or contained "numbers". WTH?? Did she mean preservatives?? The same "numbers" I was shoving in my toddler's mouth to keep her happy?? Humph.

Fox in the City said...

You totally deserve a standing ovation for this piece!

I love the non-parent opinions on parenting . . . it is oh so helpful . . . as it gives me a place to focus my rage! Silly people who, more than likely, will find themselves on the receiving end of such judgement and just want to melt into the floor.

Kellie said...

Now don't get me wrong, I love my bestie to pieces - but she needs to read this. I will make her read this and follow it up with a smack to the back of the head, so next time I have to drop the phone to run and settle an argument about Duplo, she might just understand why!

Fussy Eater's Mum said...

It must be that somewhere between young adulthood and parenthood, some people lose the ability to remember what little devils they used to be. You're right about karma though!

If These Walls said...

Oh standing up and applauding at your post. I wish a few people would read this!!

Glowless @ Where's My Glow said...

I've always looked at parents with screaming kids and just thought "that will be me soon, don't judge", and now it is.

Tricky started throwing tantrums just after his birthday - I thought I had another year or loveliness before they started... nup.