I recently came across an article titled A Letter to My Pre-Parenting Self: "You're Kind of an A-Hole". The author, who is now a mom, basically wrote herself an "I told you so" letter.
It hit me right here.
You see, I could have totally written that letter. I was a pre-parenting asshole. I was a judgmental bitch. If your kid was acting a fool, I was the first to roll my eyes. If your kid kicked the back of my chair, I cringed. I was intolerant of children and their 10,000 mood swings. I didn't like kids. I didn't want them near me in a grocery store, movie theater, or restaurant. I couldn't figure out why parents would drag their crying kids to a hot crowded festival, slamming their strollers into stranger's legs, taking up vital space where I could be walking.
And then I had a child. And you know what? Parents do that shit because it's the only frickin' time they get out of the damn house. Just because we have children doesn't mean we have to give up the things that we love. We just have to subject those without children to ours.
As a parent to an almost two year-old, the judgement now falls onto myself. Where I once glared at the tantrum throwing child and the mother ignoring him wondering why she wasn't disciplining him, I am now that mother. I silently judge myself. Am I doing this right? Is he a bad kid or just having a bad day?
Instead of judging a pregnant woman toting a toddler on one hip, I silently wish that was me.
When a child goes ape shit on an airplane, instead of rolling my eyes, I silently carry him to the bathroom to calm him down.
I look at pictures of my pre and post baby body and openly judge myself for not losing those last 12 pounds.
I still catch myself judging other parents. When I hear a tantrum two aisles down in the grocery store, I catch myself taking a huffed breath. Then I remember, I've been there. And suddenly I'm sympathetic, offering an "I know" smile to the mother.
In a way, I'm still kind of an asshole.
And I now deal with pre-parenting assholes. You know who you are. The one that whispers in your partner's ear, "God, doesn't he ever stop crying?" or "our kid will never be like that".
News flash a-hole: He will.
Or the people whose children are grown that verbally tell my child to just "stop that already!". Do you have memory loss? Because I can bet your children did the same thing.
I guarantee that.
I get it. It's hard to not to be a pre-parenting a-hole. You have never experienced this. Maybe one day you will. And when you do, you will get it.
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