The Shame Game
If you follow along on my Instagram, then you probably already know that the girls & I recently spent a week away with my mom in Hilton Head. My sister came and joined for the weekend. We had the best time, and ate all the best food! We spent days by the pool letting the kids play, and walking the dock to look for boats and mermaids. It really was such a fun girls getaway!
One afternoon while we were there we had the girls out by the pool. It's the most perfect pool with a gradual decline that feeds out into a lazy river. It's the ideal area for the kids to play. We had been the day before, and the girls had been around & around the lazy river. I’ve had them in water since they were six months old, and they always wear puddle jumpers just in case. That day the water was particularly chilly, and Elsa is not a fan of anything that even slightly inconveniences her. She was floating around the lazy river on a float, puddle jumper on, and I was watching her from a short distance away. After being in the sun for a while she decided she was ready to brave the chilly waters, and I watched as she carefully slid off her float into the water. I saw the panic on her face when she realized what she had done. It really was freezing. The pitch of Elsa's voice is like a bell. It's sweet and has a ring to it when she speaks to you, but even the slightest bit troubled it could shatter glass. She proceeded to scream at a decibel that only dogs should hear. As the current pulled her farther & farther from the ladder, despite her fierce paddling, all she knew is that she wanted out of that icy water immediately. Upon seeing her dismay, I put her baby sister down, got up out of my chair, and began making my way to her. Suddenly I saw an elderly lady frantically trying to run through the water to get to her while giving me a disapproving stare. I reached out into the water, and grabbed my daughter right before grandma lifeguard got to her. She then looked at me and snapped ‘This water has a current, and she can’t touch! It’s deep out here!’. I thanked her and made my way back to my chair. Elsa quickly headed off to the small heated pool.
There are so many things I wanted to say to that lady, so many ways I wanted to defend myself. She didn’t know that Elsa has been raised in pools and springs. She didn’t know that Elsa was pitching a royal fit because she hates cold water. She didn’t know that the girls had been around that lazy river the day before until they were dizzy. She also didn’t know that Elsa could give even "Game of Thrones" a run for their money in "dramatic performance”, but I did. I was sitting right there watching my kid. If I had any doubts, I would’ve been in the water with her. Do accidents happen? Yes, but even under those circumstances no one deserves a judgy eye from the next girl. The shame game is so real that I’ve found myself not posting pictures, or sharing stories because I don’t want to be judged on how I choose to raise my kids.
When we go to dinner I usually order the kids food when I order our drinks. I don’t think kids should have to sit still for an hour and wait on food while listening to adult conversation. When they’re done eating I totally bust out their kindles or my phone, and let them watch Netflix while I eat my food in peace. Time and time again I look around the restaurant and wonder if other moms are judging me for giving my kids electronics, but you know what I see? I see other moms giving their kids electronics. I see the mom cussing under her breath that she forgot the magical "peace device" while her kid climbs on her head, and dumps their drink in her lap. Maybe your kid is perfect and waits patiently for their grilled cheese to arrive. Maybe your kid has never needed any kind of entertainment. I'm equally as happy for you as I am jealous, but everyone’s situation is different. I’m completely guilty of getting caught up in the judging game too. We're all human. I see a couple posting pictures of their tropical vacays all over Facebook every couple of months and I think “Where are their kids?!”. Frankly, it’s not my business. Maybe next time I’ll ask them to take me along…
What I’m getting at is whether you vaccinate or not, whether you breastfeed or not, or spank or not, or take your kid to the doctor or use homeopathic medicine...it’s no one's business. This whole mom thing is seriously hard. I fail daily, and I have one kid who really knows how to push my buttons. Honestly though, it would all be so much easier if we could all just be supportive. My advice? Find your tribe. I have a few close mom friends that I know I could go to with anything. One of my closest friends makes medical choices for her kid, and I make different ones for mine. We can have a completely honest conversation about it, and at the end of the day we are still choosing to do what we think is best for our babes. Plus we are still choosing to be close friends with zero judgement.
Don’t be Grandma Lifeguard. Support your fellow mamas. Sometimes raising kids can feel like Jurrasic Park, and you have a way better chance at getting out alive with a good support system by your side!