Recently I overheard a mom describe how mortified she was when her toddler wouldn’t pose for a class picture.
“I had to stand in with her just to get her to stop screaming.”
How exhausting, I thought to myself. Parenting is already more tiring than trying to stay awake during an episode of Caillou after taking Nyquil for the cold your kid shared by affectionately licking your eyeball; why waste time worrying what other people think?
I remember it well-- the exact moment I decided it was probably easier for all parties involved if I focused on what really mattered and less on giving a fork. I was in labor and just like in the movies I truly believed that the nurse was grabbing a sheet to cover me up; however she was actually grabbing my leg to allow for greater baby accessibility and much less mommy modesty. And so it began.
Of course it is always wonderful when your children surprise you and act like well-mannered, well-rehearsed royalty when we are out in public. This was the case yesterday when we scored a 2 for 1 trip to the dentist. I brought my mom along for reinforcements in case they flipped the switch into wild animal-mode where one bolts for the parking lot just as the other one is raiding the treasure chest. My kids were so good, other hygienists lined up in the hallway to marvel at my well-dressed, ridiculously compliant little angels. My girls loved it so much, we are skipping Disneyland another year and just booking our next 6-month appointment.
Do I often fall victim to the Facebook parenting anomaly where we only post pictures of our children holding hands and smiling in hopes that someone else finds it heartwarming? Absolutely, because no one wants to see a picture of me crying in the parking lot of Target, which I’ve done twice...this month...so far. I didn’t cry the time I got mom-shamed by a fellow mom because I let my toddlers ride trikes freely down the toy aisle—no that woman clearly has her own demons to work through. But I did cry the time I had to abandon our full cart of necessities because my youngest had taken it upon herself to try potty training in the public restroom and wound up ankle deep standing inside a dirty toilet. I felt zero embarrassment as I carried out one naked toddler and one screaming toddler; only frustration that Target doesn’t have a drive-thru window. See I prefer to spend my energy tackling struggles directly affecting my kiddos and anything I have left over I put towards dressing my girls in matching outfits.
If I had a dollar for every time my kids did something "embarrassing" out in public we could open our own restaurant where our motto would be, “Eat here where your children can tantrum, throw food, cause a scene--we’ve seen it all and we don’t give a fork”.