My friend Molly had a bad day this week. She took over-tired kids to the grocery store and they had a meltdown, which is what happens when you bring over-tired kids to the grocery store. Sometimes you just need to buy some damn milk, you know? And sometimes your kids are happy, well-rested, well-fed, and total angels right up until 20 seconds before you hit the checkout counter and THEN they have a total meltdown. Weathermen – who are wrong like, 80% of the time! – are better at predicting stuff than parents. At least if you walk outside and get wet you can reasonably assume it’s raining. Ask a 3-year-old how they feel and you’ll get a response like PEANUT BUTTER TICK TOCK PIRATE SHOELACES. That is not helpful in judging store meltdown likelihood threat levels. (It’s basically always threat level double red anyway.)
Your children having a meltdown in a store doesn’t make you a bad mom. It makes you a MOM. Not getting everything one hundred percent right one hundred percent of the time doesn’t make you a bad parent. It makes you a PARENT. That’s why parenting is a THING. If kids came out of the womb as fully functioning human beings they wouldn’t be kids, they’d be turtles. Miniature versions of adults left alone to fend for themselves. God, I bet being a turtle mom is the BEST. No one hangs around the sunny log at the pond judging that one turtle whose offspring always have dirty shells and swim in circles screaming “Poop! Butt! Fart!” all the time. No, we get the grocery store full of judgement and withering looks and people laughing at us while we struggle and plead and do the the very best job we can to not raise monsters who set your house on fire some day.
Remember this: every single person who is judging your parenting used to be a baby. They crapped their pants. They threw up on themselves. They ate something disgusting off the floor. They drove their parents crazy in all the ways your kid is currently driving you crazy and probably 4,365 other ways your kid hasn’t even thought of yet. Even if that dude laughing at you while you wrangle a vicious rabid badger disguised as a toddler into your cart never has kids of his own, he used to be a little shit too. He still is kind of shit for laughing. Someone should go laugh at his mother.
NEVER FORGET: You are doing the best you can with the incredibly raw materials you (or someone else) grew in their very own human, imperfect body. Go easy on yourself. Go easy on other parents. Go easy on your kids, even if it means you have to lock them in their rooms for 20 minutes while you bang your head against a wall. Just be sure to teach them to go easy on each other. And remember – no one will die if your kid screams the whole time you’re buying that damn milk.