To the 4 Types of People Who Judge My Family
On Good Friday, we planned a family trip to a farm. But in a turn you may know all-too-well, our dream of a nice day seeing the animals turned into a nightmare — with unwelcome commentary about child and his ADHD for extra angst.
When we arrived at the farm, I asked Danny to hold my hand. For most children, this would be a simple request. For a kid with ADHD? Not so much.
He screamed. He shouted. He ran off. He climbed the fences and tried to steal the animals from the petting zoo. Then, when we tried to calm him down with a treat, Danny rewarded Daddy by dumping his chocolate milkshake all over him.
We lasted just over two hours before giving up and deciding to leave. As if the trip weren’t stressful and exasperating enough, throughout the day we also endured criticism — verbal and otherwise — from strangers who chose to judge us based on our child’s behavior.
These are the passersby who look and watch your child melt down, and sooner or later, observe your breakdown too. Some – usually the older generation – actually stands still to really watch the show. I am tempted to offer them some popcorn, really.
The Sighers and The Whisperers
This set tends to sigh very very loudly just to make sure you hear them, and then turn pointedly to whomever is nearest to whisper about you while you’re looking.
This bunch appeared while Daddy was in the midst of his milkshake bath. How silly of us to most appreciate the hilarity of a child acting completely out of control while his parents skirt a mental breakdown. They stand there laughing with their perfect offspring who never step out of line. (Yea, as if!)
The last – and in my opinion, the worst – are the people who consider it their civic duty to comment on the way your child is behaving or the way you are dealing with said behavior. These people love to say things like, “You should control your child,” or “Maybe you should try to do this…” and even, “What a nasty child!” This is when – for me, and I’m sure for a lot of you – the red mist descends. How dare these strangers who know nothing about my life think have the right to criticize my child or my parenting skills?
They said, “Calm down,” or “Poor child,” when I lost my temper and shouted at my son one day in a café. They saw a child being a bit silly with a bad, evil mummy who yelled for no reason. What they didn’t see was that he was completely non-stop, over-the-top hyper all day.
They weren’t watching when I searched for nearly an hour for the little boy who ran off and hid in the clothes in Primark. They weren’t at the grocery store when I had to walk behind him picking up a trail of items thrown off the shelves before we were tossed out of the shopping center. They didn’t hear when my darling son threatened me twice today.
They don’t know that their stare, their whisper, their insensitive comment is just another notch on the pile of stress I’ve endured all day. Or maybe they just don’t care.
Then every once in a great while, you get the parent who gives a small smile and a sympathetic nod. Thank god for these parents who make us feel like – finally! – someone understands.
So to all the people who laugh and criticize and stare, please think again next time before you get involved. When you think you see a naughty child with a bad, shouting mummy, you could be looking at a child with an invisible special need and parent pushed to the limit, close to tears, and about ready to give up. Instead of being the straw that breaks a mom’s back, try to be the one that saves it.