One of the things that annoys me the most, now that I am a parent, is when women try to pretend their kid is perfect! You know the Mom I’m talking about. The one that never admits that her kid does anything wrong, or the one that looks at you with contempt when your kid acts up, or the one that pretends her kid is a well-behaved angel all the time. Sorry ladies, I call bullshit on that one!
ALL kids act up. Testing limits is part of the nature of being a child; it’s how kids learn and grow. It’s certainly not pleasant for us as mothers, but it’s part of parenting. I know personally, when my kid is being naughty and trying my patience, I look for support from other mothers that I know. Being able to vent to other moms who really know what I am going through, is a sanity saver for me. BUT… there always seems to be that one mom, who when you are trying to commiserate with her, makes you feel like a failure when she tells you, “oh, little Johnny never does things like that.” What? Is she serious? If your kid doesn’t act up and test limits sometimes, then there’s something wrong.
We mothers need to stick together and support each other. We have, by far, the hardest job in the world. Just as it takes a village to raise a child and it takes a metropolis to keep mothers sane! Instead of pretending that we are the perfect mother, with the perfect child, admit that you make mistakes and that your kid can be a little shit ass sometimes! It will make you a better mother in the long run. Striving for perfection is an unattainable goal and a giant waste of time and energy. Instead, use that energy to help yourself, help your kid, and help other mothers.
I never make excuses for my boys, nor do I get embarrassed when they start acting all crazy. I definitely get annoyed and angry and frustrated, but never embarrassed because it’s normal. Even when I’m out in public I try not to feel embarrassment. I also never give other moms dirty looks if her kid is acting up. Instead, I look at her with understanding and compassion in order to communicate that I know what she’s going through and it will be okay. I’ll even use humor and say something like, “kids are awesome aren’t they?” I find that humor and a smile can make things better and conveys kindness.
I am the first to admit that my 4 year old can try my patience like no other. He is too smart for his own good and this causes him to act out at times. Right now, my 2 year old’s favorite thing to say is, “nope” and he has zero patience for waiting which leads to a lot of yelling and crying. I am very strict with my boys and I don’t let them get away with much of anything. It’s important to me that they be raised right and grow up to be good men so I do everything I can to instill good values, manners, and behaviors in them. Despite, or maybe in spite of, my strictness, they still act up. I know it’s normal, I’m a child therapist for goodness sake, but it certainly doesn’t make it any less stressful.
When another mother is going through a tough time with her child or is sharing a story with me about a naughty moment her child had, rather than pretending that my kid never does anything like that or acting like her kid must be crazy, I commiserate with her and share my own stories of woe. This usually leads to the sharing of more tales of motherhood woe, which lead to lots of laughing (and laughing is good for the soul on so many levels). I don’t sugar coat and I don’t hold back in order to make myself look better. What purpose would that serve? It doesn’t help her and it just makes me a liar.
In my line of work, and with the communities I serve, I see a lot of poor parenting. What I tend to see the most, is parents making excuses for their child’s bad behavior and poor choices. I will go to the ends of the earth to support my children, but I will not make excuses for them. It doesn’t do them any good and it teaches them that they can do whatever they want and I will rescue them from punishment. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve experienced a kid do something horrible like beat up another kid, and when their parent comes up to the school to discuss it with the principal, you get nothing but excuses and blaming. So many kids in today’s society have no concept of taking responsibility because their parents lay blame and make excuses for their child’s crappy behavior. This gives the child the attitude of I can do anything and there’s nothing you can do about it. I’ve even heard kids say things like, “I don’t care if I get sent to the office. Wait until my mom comes up here. I won’t get in trouble.” And it’s usually true.
Making excuses for your child doesn’t do him any good, nor does it make you look good. Most times, parents are doing it to make themselves look better because they don’t want to take any the responsibility for their poor parenting. So if they lay blame and dismiss the severity of their child’s actions/behaviors, then they don’t have to admit to themselves that their child is a problem and so are they.
This goes hand-in-hand with those mothers who pretend their kids are perfect. I usually try to separate myself from those kinds of women, but sometimes it is unavoidable. I just hold strong because it’s usually the kids of those kinds of moms who eventually do something so awful that mommy can’t excuse it away and the truth is exposed. Do yourself, your kid, and other mothers a favor and stop pretending your kid is perfect when he isn’t. Instead, embrace the naughtiness for what it is- normal childhood behavior- and deal with it appropriately so your child can learn to make better choices. Also, always remember that as mothers the key to our sanity is that we need to be supportive of each other and seek support when we need it.