Before we had children, my husband and I would keenly observe other people's parenting. Other people's relationships even before we got married. I remember we did this compatibility booklet together while we were engaged-my husband's idea-and although I don't remember really anything about it I do remember it being a reminder about how awesome of a match we were.
IT isn't until you are married and then have kids that you really get what it means to parent a child. I have always loved kids. I love babysitting, I loved doing respite care for special kids. I wanted to have like 5 to 10 kids when we got married (we both did) and then after having our first we quickly realized that all those judgments come toppling on top of you as you begin to navigate the world of parenting.
Don't get me wrong, when we were in line for redbox and a woman got her son Kick ass the movie because that is what he wanted to watch that night (he was maybe 10 or 11). I was guffawed-so I am not fully purged of parental judgments but in raising and caring, and loving your children I think you quickly have to learn to let passed judgments go and figure out how to thrive with the reality that faces you.
That kid that you once saw screaming in the grocery store and all the people are giving the mom and child dirty looks-is now your kid
That kid who bites another child (my second kid not my first was prone to this) is now my kid-and no they don't even get spanked at home and yes, we do have rules at our home
And this past Christmas when we were at Target as a family picking out new water bottles of all things our kids were literally running around in a circle and my husband turns to me and says
"WE are the parents of 'those' kids".
I have heard there is some retribution like the wild child grown up has a kid who is crazy hyper and it is 'payback' but neither of us were super spirited kids. So I can't say that I fully believe that
However, I do believe that God often in subtle ways prepares you for what lays ahead. In parenting, in marriage and in life.
I am grateful that when my husband and I were talking about our future selves, and how many children we wanted, and what kind of set up we wanted (me homemaker him breadwinner) that we both agreed on one very important thing:
That we would always have a home that is child friendly. That whatever we buy for our home-we have to be ok if it were to break, get scratched, dented etc. Not because there shouldn't be consequences or because it shouldn't be upsetting if something valuable was smashed but because there should be difference between helping curb or correct a behavior and being emotionally attached to "things" and then overreacting about whatever behavior happened"
And I Thank the heavens we made that pact because we do have "those" kids.
Recently, I had a box of crystal that we received as wedding presents get pushed over by an unhappy child. The crystal-although packed in bubble wrap and paper smashed and afterwards the first thing that popped into my mind was the pact we had made and I am grateful for that.
I pray for those reminders often.
I have come to the conclusion that we will never have the child who just hangs out and chills. That all of our children (if we are blessed another later on-only God knows when) will be busy. I don't plan anymore about having a stretchmark free belly, toned abs, a sleeping child, that we will ever have a baby that is not colicky. And most importantly, I have learned to have compassion for other moms (okay maybe not as much for the mom who lets a child rent an R movie) but no one said I am perfect. I certainly know I am not.
So, if you are a mom of one of "those" children: The extra spirited the ones who maybe even just need extra medical care, or are prone to being sick- or any other extra-know that you are not alone. I have grown to appreciate having "those" kids.
I give you a virtual high five and an Obama air fist pump. And for me when days and weeks seem extra long, extra tiresome, when the whining or complaining seems extra irksome I remember what the whole point of this motherhood thing is. To help make my human beings good citizens of the world. Not perfect but just positive citizens to society.....
....and I usually figure out a way to add a treat for myself in that equation