It was 1996.
M was away on yet another medical military assignment (rotation).
His usual length away: 30 days.
I was playing the single parenting thing to two young toddler boys.
But the truth was that even when M was home- he wasn't really involved with the family because medical school was an all-consuming activity.
So it was a stressful time.
I thought I would do something nice for myself, however...
and go out with my kids to a restaurant.
Something we never did due to our limited budget.
So we got in there and sat down.
The boys were full of restless energy.
I was exhausted.
The restaurant was not fancy, it was a casual, family type restaurant.
We were sitting at a booth.
The boys were laughing and giggling.
They would go under the table- laugh and play under there- and then switch sides with each other.
They thought this was hilarious.
"Please stop," my tired voice pleaded.
But it fell on deaf ears.
We got our food.
The boys played with their food.
They were loud.
"Indoor voices please."
"O.K.!!" they loudly responded.
As we walked out a woman in a booth near us stopped me.
"Your children are horrible! They are totally out of control! I have never seen such terribly behaved children!"
In my mind: 'Please stop.'
I couldn't think of a reply. I was shocked. I didn't think they had acted that bad.
I attempted a weak comeback noticing that she didn't have any children with her- she was sitting with other adults. I thought- if she had kids she wouldn't have said that, she would understand, but I was wrong. "You probably don't have any kids." I weakly replied.
"Yes I DO!" she responded indignantly. "I have two girls and they are VERY well behaved. They have NEVER acted like that."
In my mind: 'Please stop.'
Then I just walked away.
It was the response I should have done in the first place.
I never put judgments on other parents (unless of course there is evidence of horrific mistreatment such as rape, severe neglect, molestation, attempted murder, etc.).
Sometimes I observe other families. Sometimes I think about their interactions and behaviors.
But their kid could be swinging like a monkey from the chandeliers and I would never blame the parent(s).
I have no idea what their lives are like, or what situation is going on with them.
I think parents need to help and support each other. Talk about the good times and the struggles.
Parents often don't discuss their challenges because of the blame game. I can't tell you how many times I have been flamed on this blog because of discussing a challenge I had.
The first thing that I said to the family I was sitting behind (in my last post) after learning the details of their adoption was to ask how they were doing and to express the challenges we had experienced. I did that so they knew I understood some of the adoption-related struggles. I always empathize with parents.
So, that is why I was upset that my last post may have come across like I was judging that family.
Ummmm..... they had like EIGHT kids and they adopted a special needs child too!
I was in AWE of that family. At the same time I wondered, knowing the exceeding demands of Piney, if I could have handled it if I also had young children.
Probably not. Our adoption agency also discouraged it.
But, that is not to say everyone couldn't handle it- and this family told me they were doing great.
So, like some of the commenters suggested, everyone is different and different people are capable of different things. Certainly adoption is always a miracle and a blessing for the children and the parents involved- even with the challenges that come.Have you ever had someone criticize your parenting skills? Did it make you become a better parent?
Labels: self help for adoptive moms