As I was thinking about this blog and my hopes for it I began thinking about the feelings of my readers. I want to strongly express to all of you the importance of not judging other parents, because that is the least helpful way for a parent to change. I am going to share with you a story about two sister in law's who both had daughters born very close to each other.
Once upon a time there were two sister in laws named Amy and Cathy who both wanted to get pregnant and both struggled with becoming pregnant. Amy had only been trying to get pregnant for a year whereas Cathy had been trying to get pregnant for several years. Amy was able to get pregnant by taking a fertility pill and Cathy had to go through the stressful and emotional process of in vitro fertilization. Both sister in laws were able to get pregnant, Amy becoming pregnant three months before Cathy. Both sister in laws were blessed to become mothers of beautiful baby girls. The two sister in laws did not live by each other, but talked often. Amy had her daughter first and her daughter was perfect in every way. She was beautiful and easy, in fact she was so easy she slept 23 of the 24 hours a day. The only fight Amy ever had to deal with her daughter was her unwillingness to eat, but other than that she was completely content. Amy thought that she was the most wonderful mother in the world because her daughter was such a great baby! 3 months after Amy had her daughter Cathy gave birth to hers. Cathy's daughter was also very beautiful, but was very stubborn and fussy. Cathy would often talk to Amy about their daughters and because Amy was such an amazing mother she would often offer unsolicited advice to Cathy, when Cathy probably just needed someone to tell her that it was o.k. and that she was an amazing mom. 10 months after Amy had her baby she became pregnant with a little boy who taught her a very valuable lesson.
Amy's 2nd pregnancy was very difficult and she was very sick. Her son was born at 36 weeks and for the first few weeks everything seemed to be fine. But once he become a month old Amy was awakened to the realization that maybe she wasn't such an amazing mom after all. Her son would scream for 6 hours every day no matter what for three months straight. Amy had several people tell her all of the things she "should" be doing for her son so he would stop crying and every time someone told her what to do she just wanted to smart off to them that she had ALREADY DONE THAT! It was during those three months of consistent crying that Amy learned to never judge another parent. Amy's daughter wasn't so easy because of Amy's amazing parenting but because her daughter had an easy going temperament. It was then that Amy called Cathy and apologized to her for all of her know it all advice. There were times when Amy wanted to throw her son across the room, she wanted to shake him to make him stop crying, she wanted to lock him in his room and have nothing to do with him. Of course she never chose to do any of those things because Amy was a good parent, but she learned that different people have different breaking points.
Amy learned that until you walked in the shoes of another parent it is not your place to judge them, but to be there for them and be whatever that parent needs right then the most.
As you read this blog I hope that you keep that in mind. I have been blessed in my life to have three healthy children who are what society would call "typical" children. But I also have five nephews who are what society would call "special." I have two nephews who have autism, 2 nephews who have FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder), and 1 nephew with speech problems. Because I have never experienced living in a home where there is a child who is "not typical" it is not my place to judge or act better than my brothers and sisters who do. I can be a listening ear, a babysitter, an aunt who loves her nephews just as much as she loves her nieces, but I cannot judge their parents for the way they choose to raise their children. Just as I do not have the right to judge you for the way you raise your children. I do not know your past, I do not know your current living situation or what fears and anxieties you as a parent have. All I can do is offer a place to educate you on a way to be the best parent you can be, and that is all that anyone else can do.
Please keep this in mind as you read other peoples comments and express your own comments. Also keep this in mind as I share the experiences of others that they are people just like you who are doing the best they can with what they know how to do. There is no such thing as a perfect parent - we all make mistakes and we are all striving to reach our full potential whatever that looks like.