Before becoming a mom I was an aunt for 15 years and had worked in after school programs for 5 years. I thought that meant I knew kids. I thought that gave me the right to be annoyed when you could not control your kid’s meltdown at the store or did not respond immediately when they called your name for the hundredth time. Oh yes, I thought I knew it all. For that I would like to say that I was wrong, and I am sorry.
The thing about not having kids and being a really good aunt is that you get to be fun with the kids more than responsible. Then you get to go home and sleep (or take an uninterrupted shower, watch a show without singing inanimate objects, eat sitting down for an entire meal etc. . .)
If you do not have kids the thing about being a really good youth worker is that you get to be on your very best game with the kids whenever you see them. Even if you are tired, for those few hours you can totally be on point, engaged, and correcting every behavior appropriately. Also, you probably are not taking really young kids on boring errands that have to be ran. So if my 3 year old is sleepy and can’t hold it together until we leave the grocery store, am I supposed to leave the milk that my other baby needs so he doesn’t disturb you? Go ahead and have an opinion. Then you get to go home and sleep (or take an uninterrupted shower, watch a show without singing inanimate objects, eat sitting down for an entire meal etc. . .)
Also, parents are their kids’ most comfortable and secure place. Kids may save their worst behaviors for their parents. Keep in mind too that kids are born with different dispositions and have different needs. So you can witness a tantrum, have an opinion on it. Then you get to go home and sleep (or take an uninterrupted shower, watch a show without singing inanimate objects, eat sitting down for an entire meal etc. . .)
Being a parent is constant, and when you see something you are only seeing a small piece of the entire picture. Some days we are on schedule, well behaved, eating without being picky, and picking up after ourselves. If you see a piece of us on those days, I bet I look like I am rocking this whole parenting thing.
Then other times one of the kids may have started teething. Even though we were on a good schedule, now they have been up for a week straight. Now I have only gotten a few hours of consecutive sleep for several days before having to go pretend to function like a normal person at work. If a childless, well rested person saw a piece of us on one of those days, I may not look so great to them.
Becoming a mom has made me way less judgmental. There are some scum bag people in this world who should not have the privilege of being parents, but I realize now that most people are just trying their hardest to do the best by their children within their circumstances. I am not saying that everyone without children judges parents. I am saying that I did, and I am sorry.