Beth’s StoryBeth from Studio City, CA on July 18, 2012
My first baby was Tyler. Tyler was a sweet baby. Gentle, timid. Never a problem with other kids. I rarely got criticism from others in regards to Tyler (except the Grandma at the grocery store telling me “that kid needs a hair cut”, which I shrugged off). Then along came Audrey.
From the moment she entered the world she’s kept us on our toes. Audrey is feisty - full of energy. Because she was aggressive, I had to watch her with other children much closer than I had to watch Tyler. With careful watch there were still times she would hit or push another child, or bite her brother. When Audrey was about 18 months old, she hit another child at the park. The mother and I worked it out with the kids, and continued playing. Audrey and I moved on to the sand toys where another mother played with her little one.
When we got there, this mom said to her child, “Oh honey we need to leave now, this little girl is a hitter”. What? This mom had seen Audrey hit the other child and immediately put Audrey in some sort of “kid-I-don’t-want-my-kid-hanging-out-with” category? She grabbed her little one and gave me a passive/aggressive laugh and wave good-bye. I thought, She must think I don’t watch my kid. She must think I don’t care that Audrey hits. She thinks I’m a bad mom. I definitely felt judged by this mother for having the “kid that hits” at the park, (something I had never felt when Tyler was little). It took me aback, and I felt terrible.
This mom didn’t know me. She didn’t know Audrey beyond the hitting. She didn’t know how hands-on I am with my daughter, how hard I work with her to stop hitting. In the end that’s what I took comfort in: She didn’t know. She didn’t know us. She made assumptions. I wondered, “Did I react like that to another mom’s “hitter” or “biter” when Tyler was the only baby I knew?” Was it easy to judge another mom when the only perspective I had was mom of the “sweet boy” at the playground? I try my hardest not to judge other moms because I realize I don’t know their story - what they’ve been through, what they’re working on with their kids, if they’re having a hard mommy day (I’ve had plenty).
I don’t want to be a mom that contributes to another mom’s bad day, or the mom who is quick to rush to false judgments. I want to be a mom that knows every day with our kids isn’t perfect. Mistakes are made, learning curves increase, we pick ourselves up and start again, and through it all we choose to support each other… learning a little bit more of each others’ stories along the way.