Ok, Mothers of Children within the great land of Canada, seriously… ease up!
I’ve been doing this Dad parenting thing by myself for all of ONE WEEK and there have already been three instances of when the claws came out. One in particular stuck with me and it just came out as, well, a bit weird.
I decided to take the kids to McDonald’s as a Friday ‘treat’. They weren’t in there for very long, they had their toy that contained their interest of all of three minutes and I’m grateful that McD’s do salads to go along with their combos so that at the very least I’ll get more nutrition than the box that the burger came in. I took them to one with a large play-place inside so that they could burn off some energy as they were trapped in a minivan for the forty minute journey to Edmonton. This McD in particular boasted a three-level play-area affair with a couple of slides and bouncy pogo things that my tribe could unleash their particular brand of Mad Energy upon.
Mad Energy is more mysterious than Dark Energy, as nobody knows where it comes from, when it’s going to end and if time-outs or ice cream will be involved at some point. The expansion of the universe is boring if it doesn’t involve a McFlurry as far as my family is concerned, so Mad Energy is where it’s at.
All was going well and I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. I had prepped and asked the kids what they wanted, ordered at drive-thru, parked and then went inside to use the play area. It makes it easier than balancing trays and children, although the McD’s here is starting to *gasp* serve you like a proper restaurant with tracker things for your table and everything. I had a time limit on how long to be there, as I needed to pick up groceries from Superstore using their Click ‘n’ Collect website by an allotted time. The kids were given food and then were allowed to play for exactly 23 minutes before we had to pack up and leave. They were having a good time.
Suddenly, I wasn’t.
There was a grandmother who had come in with her
hellspawn grandchildren to our little part of the Golden Arches of Alberta and she had been studying Pup, our youngest, like he was a butterfly that she was just about to pin to a board. She seemed to be comparing him to her golden-haired child that she had brought. Our subsequent conversation started like so:
Grandmother: Is he yours? How old is he?
Me: Nineteen months.
Grandmother: Oh, well, ours is about the same age, then.
I gave the Golden-Haired Child a critical eye and decided that since he was easily a head taller than Pup, was probably about two and a half years old. I wondered where this was going.
Vicious Old Harpy: *sniff* Mine’s taller then.
And then she walked off.
I didn’t think that straight away because I didn’t let it sink in until later. I had three kids to look after and one stranger’s opinion didn’t really matter to me. It did later because of the other two instances that had happened in the past week and so in a quiet moment of introspection, I contemplated on that person’s irksome nature and how lovely it would have been to cut out that woman’s black heart with a McFlurry spoon.
These things in my mind happen. I also think that it would be funny that when I reach 87 years old it would be fun to speed through the hospital corridors in a wheelchair, unhook my IV line and bag and use that as a morning star on innocent nurses and doctors. I don’t know why that particular piece of medieval weaponry keeps popping up, but there you go.
It really got me down, how people can just look at your child and compare them to their own. Total strangers are pretty bad in giving their opinion about anything (see most Facebook comment threads on anything that trends) and should be rightfully ignored. It really comes down to choosing your friends wisely and who you invest your time with. Family is family, but if friends are starting to compare their children to yours and you end up doing vice versa, you have to say something as that’s a slippery slope. Comparison is a horrible part of life and has been magnified 1000% by social media where everybody has a voice and that includes me with this lil’ ol’ blog of mine.
Be happy for your friends’ kids like you are with your own.
That friend whose child has just started to write her own name, good for her. Don’t compare.
That friend whose child has just won a hockey game and scored the winning goal, good for him. Don’t compare.
Don’t compare. Applaud. Except for those times when they get medals for merely ‘participating’, as you should have no time for that in the same sense as having no time for snide grandmothers.
It’s hard to, it really is, to not judge and compare as you look at your own tribe. I try to look at my own failings as a parent, of which there are a few, improve those areas of my life so that I’m a better one and stand by my convictions when I’m disciplining them, teaching them, encouraging them and loving them.
Besides, I’ve made my own people. Who are you to judge?