I'm a judgy mother. I wish I were free-thinking, live-and-let-live, love everyone like my inner hippie idealist espouses, but my inner critic always shuts that peaceful bitch up. Maybe I'm just in a bad mood because it's been raining for a week and I've got a migraine.
My worst judgment is passed on parents who complain about the drugery of taking care of their children. It drives me insane. I'm certain the reason it annoys me so much is because I'm envious these superfertile breeders have the balls and ovaries to take for granted something as sacred as parenting. Something so serious, so special to subfertile me, who counts her blessings every day the thirteen months of stressful visits to the fertility specialist and medication and timing finally worked and produced our proudest creation: Katie. How could I whine and sigh and post complainy Facebook comments about how frustrating it is to be her mother after all the trouble I went through to become a parent?
I rolled out of bed at 10AM and popped some more Ibuprofen. My tablet was laying where I left it last night when I gave up after trying for centuries to get through level 13 of Angry Birds. I woke it up and saw I had some Facebook notifications. When I opened my Facebook app, instead of checking my notifications I got side-tracked and noticed a link to this post from a fellow mom friend. I read through it in a hurry--Katie was calling from her bedroom where she had been patiently playing with her Legos until Mommy dragged ass out of bed, asking what's for breakfast.
Hrmmpf! Well if the blogger's so "tapped out" and frustrated with parenting, why did she have five kids?
Katie called again, asking for eggs, so I brought her a banana and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Here, eat this until Mommy gets the kitchen clean enough that I can cook you some eggs. Right now the stove is covered in dirty pots and pans."
When I walked out of her bedroom I went into the kitchen and decided to brew a pot of coffee. I needed some caffeine to get energized enough to do the dishes. I played around on my tablet some more until the coffee was done. I poured a cup of coffee and went downstairs for a minute to use the laptop. I needed to share a link on Facebook real fast and my tablet was not cooperating with the concept of copying and pasting URLs.
After I shared the super-important meme, I looked up Jen Hatmaker, the author of that mommy blog that ticked me off a few minutes before. I wanted to see her full story before I started going off on her on my own blog.
The nerve. Bragging about her slacker mom ways to the whole world. How dare she not take her job as mother seriously?
Then I read that she's this wonderful, saintly, spread-love-and-peace kind of mother and I felt bad. She adopted two of her children from Ethiopia. That's why she has five kids. That's why she's pulling four more fistfuls of hair out of her head each day than I am.
I was immediately reminded of the time I ate lunch with Katie at her school. I'd been writing and working at the library a lot lately and she was feeling neglected, so she asked if I'd come to her school to have lunch with her. I sat at the table with her little friends and we had a great time. But I couldn't help myself, judging the lunch of the kid who sat immediately in front of me. Inside his Angry Birds lunch box he had three Special K cereal bars and a Capri Sun.
What kind of parent packs that kind of lunch for her kid? I bet the poor thing packed it himself. What kind of parent makes a first grader pack his own lunch?!
Later I found out Special K Kid's mom had just had a baby, and that he, at seven-years-old, was the oldest of three. I pictured what my life would be like if I had a newborn, a preschooler, and a first grader to take care of and I cut her some slack about the crappy sack lunch.
It's so easy to judge parents we don't know. But once we know someone, and we know they're doing their best and some days their best is shitty, as is the case with all of us good parents out there, it's easier to forgive others. And ourselves. I should write a blog post about this topic.
Hold on a sec. Katie's calling. Again. It's after noon and I gotta get the dishes done so I can cook my super, special, miraculous kid some eggs.