Last year we went on our friends’ boat. We swam in the middle of the lake, which (much like many other experiences) I found very nerve wracking since we were unable to touch the bottom and were supposed to support our children while treading water. We played at their house which has an unusually steep outdoor staircase that our kids were oddly interested in. This past weekend we returned. This past year our friends’ had a baby. This time, they wanted to swim closer to shore because they were too scared swimming with their son in the middle of the lake. They had a gate at the top of the scary staircase. It’s funny how having kids changes your perspective.
I remember having a friend who felt strongly (previous to having kids of course) that there should be very little tolerance for pacifiers, specifically after a certain age. After having a child who was especially attached to it, she allowed the pacifier way passed the age she originally had deemed appropriate. Having a baby changed how she passed judgment on others.
I have said too many times to count that having kids has changed me. It’s changed me in too many ways to ever document…in some of the best ways and some not. And at the risk of offending any of my friends or readers who do not have kids, you don’t really understand until you have kids. Your brain is incapable of grasping the magnitude at which your life is like being responsible for human beings that would not be on the earth if it wasn’t for you.
After you have a baby, specifically your first, something happens to you. Maybe its a breakdown in your central nervous system, maybe its just an emotional derailment but something happens inside you that is uncontrollable and frequently even unrecognizable of any characteristic you have ever possessed. Of course we all instantly think about those crazy, ridiculous parents we know and think of them as the freaks that we talk about behind their backs. However, we all start to have some of those scary traits and we never can properly anticipate it ahead of time.
As the years go by and our babies get older, we start to go back to being more normal. We still carry with us some individual traits that are neurotic and crazy. Everyone has different ones (some of us more than others). Some have hot subjects. But everyone has some neurosis about their kids’ safety, worries they have about different circumstances, or craziness that they carry with them all through their parenting years.
So the next time you look at another parent who’s kid is doing something you disapprove of, or some situation where you would handle it differently…please pause. Remember that you don’t really know what its like to be them, have their kids, or go through life from their perspective. Be a little more open minded of a kid not behaving appropriately, a little more understanding of a parent worried about something that’s ridiculous, or compassionate of a kid at a different stage than yours. We’re all up against different things as parents, we all have different hot topics and parenting is not easy. We’re all just trying to do our best…or at least that’s my story.