Dear Parents of Small Children Everywhere:
Dude, I get it. I totally get it.
When I saw you at Costco this morning, I know that you did not willfully dress your child in pajamas. I understand - I've been there. It's all about picking your battles, and quite frankly, pajamas in Costco is a softball compared to other battles. Just the other day, my kid wore grey sweat pants and an orange polo shirt. With sandals. He looked like a tiny, confused old man. From my point of view, at least the important parts are covered.
I, too, know that you are a firm believer in proper hygiene and that your child had a completely clean face this morning. All of the junk and crud that is now sticking to it magically appeared in the last five minutes. I don't understand children and their cheeks - they are like little dirt magnets. There is no judgement on my end.
And when your child throws bacon at me from your booth at the restaurant, don't even worry about it. There's a good chance I'm going to eat it, since my child has already absconded with my own order. When he starts screaming, I know you are the person in the restaurant that most wants him to stop. That look of pure horror/guilt/frustration/exasperation on your face - I know it all too well. You're not a bad parent, you're just a Parent of a Small Child.
Potty-training throws a giant wrench into the general routine of the day, so when you are 35 minutes late for a play date, there's a good chance I'm not there, either. Getting these small creatures to pee and poo on the potty is like balancing the federal budget - lots of discussion, lots of ideas, but not a lot of movement. It's maddening, to say the least.
Most importantly, I know that you love your partner, even when it doesn't sound that way. Co-parenting a small child requires a level of negotiation and skill I've never before experienced. It feels a little like litigation, a little like a two-person relay ("Okay, your turn!"), and lot like zoo keepers switching shifts. Eventually the monkeys grow up, right?
All I want to say is if you are having a tough parenting moment, look over to me and I'll give you a nod in solidarity (and probably a snack, since I have some in my purse. Fruit snacks or Goldfish?). The process of raising these little wild mustangs into civilized members of society is daunting and at times, crazy-making. But we're all in this together.
A Parent of a Small Child