I can no longer fool myself into thinking I'm a balanced person anymore. I post stories to Facebook about my kid, I take pictures of Lego creations she has made with my husband and I even posted a picture of her on this blog in a diaper. Sure it was an Instagram photo so it looked vintage, but still it was nothing more than a kid in a diaper and rain-boots standing by a Christmas tree.
I follow a blog called "STFU Parents"* and it is a place for all people to post online parent fouls. Things like when someone posts a "Remembering D-Day, thanks for your service." on their Facebook page and some clueless mom adds her own comment like "Oh yes, it was a great day when Dylan was born." Uh... D-Day - not about your kid!
Or, when someone posts that they are super tired because they have been working really hard, some mommy will add "Try doing that with four kids at home." Hey lady, just because parenting can be an energy sucking vortex doesn't mean you have the market on all 'tired' or 'busy' situations.
I find the site amusing and a bit of a touchstone. I am relieved to see that I am not guilty of many of the parental offenses in the public social world but I give myself licence to perpetrate all sorts of parental over-sharing in this forum.
The diaper picture however made me stop and think about my attitude and judgement. I am aware that a certain fog of brain damage occurs when you become a parent. Brain damage like secretly thinking that other people's children are nice, but your own are PERFECT. It also includes thinking that taking the picture of her with poop on her hands or spaghetti all over her head is funny. For the record, your children are also perfect and I have not photographed poop. Spaghetti head - guilty. I have the parental brain damage. There I said it.
Before my own child came into our world if you asked me what the words that came to mind when I saw a kid running around wearing just a diaper and I was being honest my own social prejudices would spew out of me in an ugly way: Trashy, Unkempt, Welfare, Bad parenting, Child Neglect Trailer park, Spaghetti-O's (ooh, the honesty... it hurts me.)
I have a child who is well cared for, clean fed and we are attentive. She lives in a nice place, she can pay her rent (with assistance from the tall people) and she also likes to be NAKED. At the end of the day her parents like to change out of their day clothes into what we call "squishy pants" - essentially pj bottoms, good cozy socks and tops. Lucy likes to rid herself of her glitter and water based finger paint stained shirts and toddler jeans and be free. There isn't much difference between squishy pants and a clean diaper. I apologize for any judgement I may have passed on random naked toddlers. I have been informed by a specific toddler that there are times when she will flat out do what she wants.
We are able for the most part to keep her clothed when other people are around and when we're out in public. However, there was nakedness at Thanksgiving. I can see where she might have felt comfortable. After dinner there was a palpable vibe of "oh, I wish I wasn't wearing these tight pants" going on in every corner of the house. Lucky Lucy, she was able to pull off her dress and be done with it. I bet Uncle Marty was a bit envious. Thankfully, he doesn't wear a diaper so the pants stay on. WHEW.
I will keep monitoring STFU Parents to keep my public parenting infractions to a dull roar but if you see them know that I AM holding back way more than I post.
Speaking of things I wanted to share:
Last night we sang "Old MacDonald" in the bathtub. Her 'EIEIOooo" makes up for the fit she threw in Target. Well, not totally, but I forgave her for my having to carry her out of the store while she screamed and tried to get away. These battles are rough, but she will learn that safety things are NOT negotiable. I was thankful to receive thumbs up and nods of encouragement from other parents as I manhandled her out of the store. Funny how a "you can do it" or "it'll pass" from a total stranger with calm kids in tow helps.
I drank the mommy koolaid, but thus far I'm not posting pictures of her 'art' to Pinterest... yet.
*STFU means "Shut the f*ck up"