I have been thinking lately how sad but yet truly funny it is the difference between my parenting styles when I am at home alone vs. out in the ever critical public eye. Granted there are days when I am too tired to care who is watching or what they think, but for the most part I think we all parent a little different when people are watching. Below are a couple examples.
Your big kids are smothering the baby in kisses and hugs, resulting in a screaming baby and fighting over who gets to hold him.
At home mom “What in the world are you doing? What are you thinking? You can not sit on your brother” After which you proceed to hang all over your 5 year old, patting her head and smothering her in kisses. “How would you like it if I just did this to you all day? Is this fun? Do you like this”
Costco mom. “Ummm honey, why don’t we give your brother a little space. I really feel like he might be feeling a little overwhelmed with all this love. Why don’t we find something different to do.”
You are dishing up your kids food for lunch, while dishing up you hear constantly. “Mom I sirsty”, “Mom I want milk!” “Mom I want the Hello Kitty Cup”, “Mom I am so sirsty!!”
At home mom. “I am GETTING you milk!”, “IF you ask one more time you will not have another drink all day!” “You are not going to die of thirst in the 2 minutes it takes me to dish up your food!” At which point you grab any cup besides the Hello Kitty cup because you refuse to give in, and set it down a little too forcefully in front of them. Which results in your cleaning up spilled milk and the tears of your 3 year old.
At church mom “Ok Sweetie, I am just dishing up your food right now. But if you can just wait one minute, mom will gladly pour you a glass of milk in whatever cup you want.” “Oh you are too thirsty to wait? Ok Ok I will do it now.” At which point you stop what you are doing, get the milk and pray that you are fast enough to avoid a public tantrum.
You are in the middle of working on something important, when your baby starts to fuss, which you know will soon turn into wailing,
At home mom just keeps right on cooking dinner with the screaming baby hanging on her feet. Her legs become the snot rag, and her nerves get frazzled, until she finally calls out, “Isabella get in here and get your brother now!” “Did you hear me? I said Now! Or you are not eating tonight! Now child!!”
Winco mom stops patiently in the cereal aisle. Puts down the two boxes of cereal she is debating over. Comforts her poor baby and wipes his snot nose with a tissue. She than digs a snack or toy out of her diaper bag and gets him content and happy before continuing on.
You are trying to leave somewhere and your 3 year old is throwing a total fit because she doesn’t want to wear her shoes, or get her hair combed, or get dressed, or do pretty much anything
At home moms voice escaletes and her threats get more and more irrational. She acts like she is going to leave said child home alone, and when that fails to work she pulls out her phone and shoots a video. Why a video you may ask? For one to use to make the child realize her ridiculousness later, and two to make daddy see what mommy puts up with all day long.
Mom visiting at a friend house squats down to the kids level “Honey, I know it is really hard to leave, when we are having fun, but it is time to go. If you don’t want to put on your shoes I will just carry you” When that fails she leans down real close and says quietly, in her at home voice, “Get out to the car and I mean, NOW!” and when that fails to work she moves onto quietly whispered bribes and pleadings. “Please don’t make mommy carry you out of here screaming, I will stop for ice cream? I will buy you a treat? A trip to Disneyland? Anything just please, please stop!” And when that doesn’t work she scoops up the kid, snuggles her close and apologizes while making excuses on her behalf. “I am sorry, she was just up too late last night. I didn’t feed her properly today. She only napped for 22 minutes today, she usually naps for at least 30.”
You have been having a very hard time lately. You have been sick non stop, your baby is up what feels like hundreds, if not thousands of times a night. You are couped up in a tiny apartment most days and feel like you do everything alone with your kids cause your husband has been working so much.
Church Nursery mom, while rocking her baby peacefully “Yes, I have been trying to get back to eating healthy as well too. I just really need to cut down our sugar and fake food consumption.Oh it is not that bad, you just get used of no sleep, and doing everything as a single mom. I know there are so many people that have it more stressful than me. Yeah you are right, teens probably are more work! And I am really so blessed and just lucky. I love to be a stay at home mom it so hard but it is so,so rewarding.”
At home mom buckles her kids into their car seats, because it is the only way they are not undoing all her hard work on the house, fighting back tears of exhaustion the whole time. She runs through McDonald’s for a large fountain pop, and Krispy Kream for a donut, or maybe a half dozen, whose to say? She cranks up the sunday school music to drown out the kids, and when they finally get sick of screaming to be heard, they all pass out. She pulls into the nearest parking spot, pulls out her phone and loses herself in the world of facebook. She knows her time is ticking till they wake up and the insanity starts again. She has never been more tired, or strung out. But for now she has her sugar and her caffeine, and she can choose her own music, and she looks in the back at her beautifully sleeping kids and thinks “I am really so blessed and just lucky! I love to be a stay at home mom, it is so hard but it is just so so rewarding!”