Monday, November 19, 2012

Perspective

I believe the most condescending words one parent can say to another are oh, you just wait

Usually this is the response of a parent of older children or teenagers if you bring up any concern about littles. When they're teenagers, all hormonal and crazy and defiant, you'll be longing for the no sleep, potty training, won't-hold-your-hand-in-the-parking-lot days. This part's a breeze. How I wish my kids were blah blah blah.

Really? This is helpful and supportive? Um . . . thanks?

Because even assuming it's true, that someday I too will wish for these days, what good is it doing to point it out to me? Why not instead show empathy and understanding? Were you not once right where I am now?

What our days look like now
And I wonder . . . will I do that? Will I completely forget what it is like to be lost in the crazy throes of young children and toddlers? Will I be convinced that my new day-to-day, whatever stage that happens to be, is more challenging than ever before? Will I someday have the same slightly mocking reaction to meeting a mother whose daily life is where I am today?

Or worse . . . do I do that now? When I learn a particular family does something outside the mainstream, is my first reaction one of judgment? Do I look at new mothers, struggling with one infant or toddler and think, lady, you don't know how easy you have it. Have I completely forgotten that having one child is hard work? Have I, just 6.5 years into motherhood, already lost perspective?

I hope instead that no matter where I am on my journey I will listen and respond with compassion and not diminish any mother's experience, no matter where she is on her journey.

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9 comments :

  1. You just wait, I HATE that comment!!!! Noting gets my blood boiling over more than you just wait. It's not helpful and really the statement is saying-you don't have problems, I do.
    I hope I can remember how overwhelming this stage of life is one day when my kids are older. I know I'll long for the good times with my little ones, but I'll never, miss the tantrums and potty training. Maybe as kids get older parents forget just how difficult some days are with little kids and they only remember the good stuff?

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    1. I do think to some degree we all block out the worst of it, choosing to remember the better parts. I know I tend to get super nostalgic about the newborn stage, remembering that cute baby smell and early morning snuggles while ignoring the exploding poop and sore nipples.

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  2. Empathy and selflessness/humility helps us respond the right way to people. I can only pray that God helps me to respond in love to people, even when they don't seem to "fit" my perpective.
    Thanks for sharing, visiting from SITS and congratulations on being featured!

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  3. I've had many friends homeschool, and my middle child has several friends who have either been homeschooled or are being homeschooled now! I think its great what you are doing!
    Certainly the challenges are different at each stage - I remember feeling so tired all the time when my kids were little and now that they are older, I feel the same way. Its just a different stage...different challenges, different busyness. Yes teenagers are hormonal, but they're also pretty independent, which is nice! I try to think people who say things like that mean well for the most part and are just trying to make conversation...and I think that people tend to forget too how busy it was or how hard it was at the last stage...that out of sight, out of mind type of syndrome. You're absolutely right though...we all need to respect where everyone is in the journey right now, because parenting isn't always easy!!

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  4. Great post. Every stage of child rearing has its own unique joys and challenges. I hope to be able to remember the joys and be thankful to have outgrown the challenges.

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  5. It's funny how we tend to judge each other, even if we try not to. This parenting thing is hard. We should be supportive!

    Happy SITS Day!

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  6. Enjoy your choices. I was a stay at home mom in the seventies and eighties and it was almost a betrayal of the right to work for women. Enjoy your SITS Day, too.

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  7. Oh how I LOVE this post!!! It's so true...every word of it! May we all take a good hard look at ourselves, and turn to each mom in compassion of where they are at NOW. Such an important message!! Happy SITS day!!! So nice to meet you!!!

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  8. Love that you see the big picture. Visiting from SITS!

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