I was recently at a playdate at our area Science Place (a hands-on place with super cool science gadgets for kids) and we were in the toddler area looking at this hot air balloon exhibit. My child ran over to it and was mesmerized by 1) how large it was and 2) how it could magically go up high into the air and then come back down with a push of a button.
As we were standing there, this mother came up to us with her son and asked us if my daughter was as much into balloons as her son. Is the sky blue? My child LOVES balloons and I told her every time we go into our local grocery store (where they hand out free balloons to kids) she goes nuts and wants one asap- the minute we walk in the door!
I then proceeded to tell her that I had recently, unfortunately read that if a child ingests a piece of balloon (the latex rubber kind) and starts to choke, the Heimlich won't work as the balloon gets stuck to their throat (trachea) and blocks the airway. So I told her now when I bring home a balloon, I make sure I throw it away when we get home so my daughter doesn't get her hands on it. Now, as I am telling her this, I am smiling and joking, almost as if to say, 'geesh, the one thing my child loves is one of the biggest choking hazards out there, go figures!' (it's actually second to the top 3 food hazards of hot dogs, peanuts and grapes). Not that I am judging anyone, just being a typical paranoid mom.
And what did the mom say?
"Oh, well I NEVER let my child out of my sight! (aka, the balloon issue is not a problem in our house)"
Righhhttt. So, you never ever let your toddler out of your sight? Ahem. Really? Really? I mean, not for a split second is your back turned as you pick up a toy? Or you grab a Kleenex a foot away? Or get up to let the dog out? Hmm..
So she's a perfect parent. And I'm the neglectful one. I am the one that lets my child out of sight, why else would I need to throw away my balloons when I get home?
Well, I am here to tell ya, that even if you are sitting right in front of your child, they are so quick that they can grab something and put it in their mouths in a new york minute.
I then realized that this is one of the first of MANY encounters I will have with mommas in the future who make snide little comments like this one. Moms who so badly want to come off as perfect or are just critical of every other parent out there. And then there are the complete strangers that will also come up to you and give you their 2 cents worth.
It's learning to have tough skin and realize that these people have their own issues, and making these comments have nothing to do with you. They just want to make themselves feel better and by putting you down, or making an "I'm better than you" comment, just gives them a 5 second satisfaction.
But in the end, we know who really feels worse inside. We know we are good parents and don't need to put others down or say things that make us feel superior to others. We know we aren't perfect and that's the best thing about being a mom- we can make mistakes and learn from them and that is one of the best lessons to teach our kids too!
This also reminds me of moms who compare their kids developmentally to everyone else. Those critical ones who have the perfect kids because they are, remember, perfect parents. There was this hilarious book I read once called Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay where the author once was asked by a mom in public why her 6 month old was not crawling yet. And so the author came up with a great response, "oh, well no she's not crawling yet but she's already at a third grade reading level."
Humor sometimes is the high road when it comes to parenting :)