My husband and I are musicians. And we’re parents. Our “backstage” experiences with our son (our little frog) deeply affect us and our music. Recent insights:
As a parent, I’m responsible for my kid’s health and emotional/intellectual well being. It takes a lot of organizing and energy. I understand the challenges will continue (grow) as he gets older. But there is a particular exhaustion and frustration that I have found with a 4+ year old, a dynamic human with great ideas and opinions who still needs a lot of hands on attention and assistance.
So my heart goes out to ANYone parenting a little kid. I don’t assume that the kid throwing a fit in the grocery store has been mistreated in any way. And I appreciate all the great/inspired parenting out there (hey, Emily, I love turning the punitive Time Out into a supportive, empathetic “Simmer Down Corner”).
On the rare occasions I witness truly crappy parenting, I’m vaguely appalled. But I’m also reminded that, in fact, I am bungling through this parenting thing with some shred of grace. Two particularly sour moments I just witnessed:
#1: Beach Mom
Mom sits in beach chair, 30 feet from shore.
Her child splashes everybody in sight.
Mom says nothing.
Child splashes an older kid who patiently moves away.
Child moves back to the older kid and splashes more.
Older kid moves away again, saying “all right, buddy, this is getting annoying.”
Child moves back to older kid and splashes him and lots of other little kids.
Mom finally says (to the older kid), “You need to tell him if you don’t want him to splash. Otherwise he will splash you. You need to learn how to communicate.”
#2: Cursing Smoking Mom
Mom sits on front porch smoking.
5 children hang over the porch railing, giggling and teasing each other.
Mom tells them not to tease each other.
5 children hang a little farther over the porch railing.
Mom tells them they are being idiots and if they fall she will not help them.
The kids tell her they are bored and want to go to the park.
Mom tells them to quit their bitching, and asks why all they ever do is complain. (She actually says this in an uglier way, but I can’t bear to write what she actually said to her kids.)
Can’t win ’em all. But maybe we don’t all lose quite this deeply every day…