Go Easy

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.

Caroline is sad

I asked her to smile for a photo – something she’d been doing for the past 20 minutes.

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6 Responses to “Go Easy”

  1. Molly says:

    Oh Suzanne, I love you. I read all the comments on my post and I know I’m being too hard on myself. We all survived and the people who laughed don’t matter. But I will think twice before I take my two goofs to Costco again :)

  2. Erma says:

    Can you repost this once a week, every week?! It’s such a nice reminder that all parents are doing the best they can and kids are just being kids.

  3. Audrey says:

    I don’t even look at other people when my kid is having a meltdown in public. I just pretend they aren’t there and they don’t matter. Cus mostly they don’t and there are never as many people as I fear there are paying any kind of attention. I’m a much happier person now that I live in Audrey’s fantasy land. This is especially useful now that I have to run errands with 3 kids in tow.

  4. Leah says:

    Whenever I see a parent having a difficult time with their kids, I smile at them because, dude, I get it. I try to smile understandingly but I hope it’s not construed as being laughed at. That would be terrible.

    After showing us 16 house in 3 days our realtor was watching both kids flip out in a front yard and said, “I understand why you guys drink.”

  5. Sarah says:

    It is so easy to feel like the worst mother in the world when your kids are doing shrunken monkey impressions in public – or when they had such bad simultaneous tantrums in the car that my sister in law suddenly remembered she had forgotten her pill that morning and dry swallowed it immediately. Yup, those are the moments – when your kids are providing birth control to everyone around them…

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