Image by Aislinn Ritchie via Flickr

How in the world my family put up with me before I had children, I will never know. Yes, I admit it, I was one of those obnoxious women who knew exactly how to raise a child without ever having raised one of course.  I remember my family giving me that little knowing smile which I mistakenly took for condescension.  What did THEY know after all? I would learn from their mistakes (whatever THAT meant!  I didn’t know what I was talking about then and to this day I still don’t know what I was talking about).  Yes, I knew it all and when I had my first child I was going to raise her with rays of sunshine!  Never raise my voice, never raise my hand (by that I mean not even a tap on the diapered buttox).  She would listen to me and I to her and our relationship would be built on love and mutual respect (music cut in)….what a load of horse hooey!  I continued on my peace and love mission until at age 2 my little angel refused to go to sleep, had me up 6 times a night looking for monsters and started backing out of our agreement on mutual respect.  It was becoming a VERY one-sided relationship.  Add to the mix a new baby when she was three and another when she was five and there went my vision of peace and harmony!  By the time she was five (and still up 3 times a night), she had a younger sister who suffered daily night terrors and a baby brother who was up 5 times a night for a bottle.  Yes, we lived on about 3 hours of sleep a night for about a year and a half.  The flower in my power had turned to fluff.  We were now in survival mode! 

Believe me, I read all the literature, subscribed to all the newsletters and listened to all the experts.  I knew what I was supposed to do but nobody bothered to inform my children on what exactly it was that THEY were supposed to do and they sure weren’t listening to me during our little tete e tete’s.  I wish someone could have told my son that 2 minutes of crying does NOT mean he needs to empty his entire stomach and intestinal contents all over me. 

I have since come to the conclusion that these so-called experts fall into one of the following categories: 

  1. Never had a child (aka obnoxious childless woman – ME);
  2. Part of a 2 parent household with only 1 child (sibling rivalry results in hair loss, hearing loss and mind loss – just ask Jon Gosselin);
  3. Father who only has access to his children every other weekend; or
  4. Father in 2 parent household who has managed to spend the better part of his years locked away in a little office writing books about raising children never having actually participated in the raising of his own children.

Having learned the error of my ways, you will never again see me judging or criticising another Mom.  I have walked in their shoes.  I continue to walk in their shoes.  Now when I listen to a young woman talking about her theories on raising children I don’t say a word.  I just smile that little knowing smile and walk away……Come see me in 10 years or so and THEN we’ll talk!