Yesterday I wrote about a person I had seen sitting in front of me at a show.  I saw that he was rigid and stone faced throughout the performance and I concluded that he was being cranky because he didn’t like the content/theme of the show.  Many people thought that perhaps this man had had a bad day and shouldn’t be judged.  Fair and correct point- I made an assumption based on what I viewed, but had no actual knowledge of the situation.  I know I have acted in inappropriate ways sometimes- I think every parent has.  I’ve been to the*%^$#& happiest place on earth, and have seen many parents lose their cool even though they are all at place where it should be fun, fun, fun.  Parents are allowed to have feelings other that absolute joy, and parents are allowed to show these feelings.  Your kids need to learn that everything is not always happy and pleasant.  And no one should judge what any other parent is going through at any particular time.  So I realize I made a snap judgement, and you should never judge another parent.

But….

FYI- I’m thinking of changing my name to But….. because I find that I use that word a lot….

I saw a middle school age girl almost jump out of her seat with excitement when John Green took the stage.  I saw her look at her Father.  I saw her smile drop.

I’m sorry- but I can’t help but feel for that little girl.

Middle school is hard for many kids.  There bodies are changing- that’s so much fun when all of a sudden things start popping out….And the emotions!  Oh- the emotions!  My kid was in this stage not so long ago, and to some degree she still has mood swings, but not like a few years ago.  They are confused and angry and they don’t know their place in the world.  Part of them longs to be an adult, but part of them still wants to be a child.  Their brain is developing, and they don’t quite know how to handle it.  One minute they’re crying, then they’re yelling, then they’re laughing.  The emotions of tweens is about as confusing as this paragraph.

So I felt for this girl.

I don’t know- but I think sometimes as parents we have to be better.  We’re the adults.  Maybe a parent needs to suck it up sometimes, and no matter how cranky they are, or how bad a day, they need to maybe smile- even if it’s just for the 10 seconds that your kid is looking at you for confirmation that everything is ok.   Yeah- I think sometimes a parent needs to be selfless.  I know it’s hard- remember- I wrote a whole blog entitled parenting sucks……By job description- parenting is not easy.

But this little girl- looking up at her father….and the mother was sitting on the other side of the father- if he was in a bad mood, why didn’t he take the aisle seat and have his wife between him and the kid?

See- because I can’t help but think about this girl…..

Now- lets switch this up a little. What if I said the parent was on their cell phone the whole time?  What would we think about a parent that was at a show but not paying attention?

I’d say the level of disengagement was exactly the same.  The parent was physically present, but emotionally withdrawn.

Let’s switch it up again.  What if the father was pissed at his wife, and that was the reason for the scowl?  Should you let marital problems interfere with your kids?

So, I’m torn- because I don’t want to judge anyone or their situation.  But, I also want kids to enjoy certain moments in their life, because I know that life sucks a lot of the time.

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50 thoughts on “Maybe I Was Too Judgmental…..

  1. As you said, I think a parent has to just suck it up and be the ADULT. So what if you had a bad day? Your daughter practically jumped outta her skin in excitement over the event, and you look at her all pissed off? Shake it off, Dad. And if you didn’t want to go, or didn’t feel well, or whatever, you shoulda stayed home rather than pissing in your daughter’s Cheerios (for lack of a better term).

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  2. I’ve never had kids, so I’ve been sitting this one out (I have no experience to draw on so keeping my mouth shut is my best option). It’s interesting to know that an actual parent struggles with the same conflicted emotions about the situation that I struggle with. It makes me think about my mom, and wonder what went through her mind when we were little.

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  3. I totally agree with you!! When you become a parent, it is suddenly not all about you anymore!! Are we going to be perfect, NO WAY!! BUT yes…. we don’t realize the impact we let on our children in moments like you just described! Think of the memory it would have created if he would have put his hands in the air and let out a little yell along with his dear daughter!

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  4. I was just writing a post and I was using lot of buts. It’s funny that I noticed that. Anyway…..being a step mom and seeing first hand what the c u next Tuesday has put my husband through I was wondering if that was the situation. What if he is recently divorced and she is just a royal pain the butt? He tries but nothing is good enough. For some reason maybe he was late and she just unleashed on him in front of the kids. Telling him what a bad father he is and if he cared about his kids he would be on time instead of making them wait and that she has better things to do than to wait for him and now he feels like a failure. Just a thought…

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  5. As someone who has to deal with the public for eight hours a day at work… yeah, it can be hard to plaster a smile on your face when you feel like crap, but sometimes that’s what you have to do to keep the peace. His kids deserved to enjoy themselves at the show. He could have stoppped glowering for their sakes.

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  6. I agree with what you are saying about middle school. Also, the world is having its share of serious problems including job losses…maybe he is worried about providing for his family or he is just worried about the state of the world. This happens to everyone but yes, middle school is a challenging time for them and for us!

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  7. I think we as parents definitely need to stop and think about how we act and the messages we send with our behavior. It’s tough being a parent, but it’s also very hard being a kid at that age. I think I would have to know what’s going on in the parent’s head. Plus, everyone handles things differently. It could be something very bad, or not at all. Everyone’s different. I sort of feel like I’ve been in this situation my self so many times in just the last few weeks alone! IMO, you have to be selfless when it comes to things like this though. Find a way to put it all aside. You don’t get those moments back.

    This message is a great one for parents to think about our actions. Thank you for sharing it. ❤

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      1. It’s scary and true! I think about that a lot and want to do the best I can NOW. This is such a good reminder. Life can be so stressful and it’s easy to overlook these things. 💙

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  8. Your two posts, yesterday’s and today’s, leave me feel torn too. I know what it can be like when you’re sucked into some thing so deep that even if you know you should put on a brave face, you just can’t do it then. Faking isn’t always easy…

    🙄

    I am into the early years of tween moods…and I’m already regretting a million things I said or did or judged or handled, hoping I will learn from them and make better decisions next time. What this means is that I’m willing to give the dad a pass, even though I have absolutely no right to even say this.

    We don’t know what happened to the dad. We see (from your perspective in this blog) how the child reacted…and made assumptions. This is both normal and tricky…. I see how my one kid reacts to things I do or say and how immediately I want to justify why I do or say things…but can’t. Because he sees it his way and I see it my way and we’re at an impasse and everyone around us is judging us, or me in particular, because the child is innocent…

    It’s tricky.

    I just don’t know.

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    1. It’s definitely tricky. Because all things involving emotions are. I just want kids to have good experiences and parents to realize that their times with their kids are precious and short. I think my husband has regrets about not spending as much time with my daughter, but he’s only realizing it now, when she isn’t going to be home much longer

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  9. I feel for the little girl, too. I doubt that we’ll ever know the real story, but can only hope that this little girl comes to realize that what the adults around her do, does not have to influence her. Some kids catch onto this reality sooner than others.

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  10. I have read both posts and you pretty much have described my dad. I don’t feel for him, he’s a self centered ass. Maybe his whole world is crumbling beneath him while the show was going on but …. BUT doesn’t mean your observations aren’t correct. Call a spade a spade. I know that feeling of not looking too happy because his mood is crappy. My whole family had to walk on eggshells, hypersensitive to his moods. Things could only be truly enjoyable when he wasn’t around and now he’s not around at all because his adult children have had enough and don’t want their children exposed to his meanness.

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  11. Just a thought…maybe it was unusual for the father to act the way that he was…When I was young, my dad never wanted to do anything with us…If he had to go, he would act pissy. After awhile we grew immune to his attitude. It didn’t concern us anymore..Maybe this girl felt bad about some bad news that her dad received and felt guilty for having fun. She might not respond that way if her dad was always like that. But….who knows??

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  12. I have been substitute teaching at a variety of middle schools. The students in the public schools from a variety of backgrounds have a hard attitude. The other day I said to one, “I know that times are tough and things aren’t getting any easier but I am trying to help you with this today,” and pointed to the assignment. I helped a Syrian students the other day who was also autistic. She was so grateful that I felt I didn’t have to say anything to her because she already knew the world is a difficult place and it is not getting any easier. Perhaps this parent regretted having a child because he felt scared and he shouldn’t let this show but he realized he is now in over his head and the world won’t be getting any easier anytime soon.

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  13. Great post today. I think as a parent, and as a husband or wife, we sometimes have to fake it. We have to put how we feel aside, and at least try. It’s often hard. Sometimes I’m sick, tired, in pain, worrying about bills, or my boss at work is slowly destroying my soul, but I’ll suck it up for my family’s benefit.

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  14. I think it’s hard to watch those kinds of scenarios without judging, because we can see the pain on the person’s face at the treatment they are getting. It’s true we don’t know everything that is going on, and I have misjudged more than once in my life (many, many, more times), but I still think my reaction would have been the same as yours. Either suck it up and act appropriately or don’t come at all.

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  15. Couple of my daughter’s friends hate to go home. They spend all their time out. I was talking to her about those kids and how wrong it is to not go home and spend time with their parents. And my daughter replied with a one-liner “Why would they not go home if they felt good and loved at home?” .
    That said it all.
    I am with you on this. No matter what crap we are going through, we cannot let that take away the precious childhood from our kids.

    Liked by 1 person

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