Picture this scenario: a mom is walking down the sidewalk with her child, a toddler, who breaks free from her hand and runs down the sidewalk, getting dangerously close to the street. What do you think? The typical reaction might be: toddlers can be difficult, terrible twos, high spirited child. Right?
Now picture this scenario: a mom is walking down the sidewalk with her child, a toddler, while also walking with her three older children and carrying a baby in a baby carrier, when the toddler breaks free from her hand and runs down the sidewalk, getting dangerously close to the street. What do you think?
Now, if you are honest, you might be thinking "She has too many children to look after", or something along those lines. You might make a judgment about the situation without really knowing what the situation is.
Case in point: me bringing my two year old pretty much anywhere. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know my two year old Talley is a handful and this is a serious understatement. She is sweet as can be and so loving and funny but MAN she is strong willed as hell. She will run and jump and stomp her feet and shout and shriek, she's just a wild gal, what can I say? That's her personality, and I love her for it.
So let's say I bring her to the grocery store alone. Chances are good she will climb out of the cart, or if that's not successful she will scream bloody murder until I let her out, at which point she will run through the aisles with wild abandon laughing her head off while I trail after her. There is NO letting her push the little toy carts in the store, NO WAY (OMG just no way, hahaha!). She would cause serious damage. And all this will happen whether I'm with all five kids or just with her, but can you imagine the difference in looks I get between having the whole gang with me vs. just her?! (ed note: even funnier are the looks I get when I take them all out to a restaurant by myself) But she acts that way regardless of whether she's the center of my attention at the store or if we are all there together in one big gang.
The funny thing is, with five kids, I'm even more hyper aware of people having this judgment of me, that I have "more than I can handle" and I'll even admit I give myself a hard time for it sometimes, when in reality, it's all relative. A toddler meltdown is a toddler meltdown. Yes, it is easier if you are alone and can scoop up that toddler off the Target aisle floor, but honestly I think my toddler is sometimes better behaved with her brothers and sisters around.
It's just another scenario where people will come to a judgment without knowing the entire story, and this rings true whether you have one child or six.
So next time you witness a parenting scenario and you want to think something like "That child is out way too late" or "She has too many kids to watch over" or "Why don't they have another child so she can have a playmate" or "I bet they are disappointed to have all girls/boys" remember that you don't know the WHOLE story, and it's not your story to know, and it's definitely not your story to judge. Might be best to just keep your mouth shut? Yeah, I think so.
If you wanna be helpful and supportive in these situations, be my guest, but if not, get out of my way because I've got a shrieking toddler to chase.