Yes, If there were popular opinion polls taken by strangers about my parenting skills. I would uniformly be voted a bad mother. My son yells a lot, he melts down frequently, he says things that he shouldn’t, he is mean, he doesn’t do a good job of controlling himself yet. The stories are endless. I get “the look” most places I go with John John. *sigh* It is isolating when people give me that stare. I don’t particularly care what people think of me. But, what really bothers me is that it reminds me of where we are in life right now. Yes, I am the mother of a child with brain cancer. A thought that I have rare opportunity to not focus on. Other people bring it right back to the forefront in all the wrong ways.
I only ever said something once. I apologized and explained to the lady that my son had brain cancer and could sometimes be loud and disruptive. I told her I hoped he had not bothered her too much. (she was glaring at him and he was noticing) She cried. So, I decided to not do that again. For the love of Cheetos, people don’t be so judgy….really….your stare or off-hand comment will not shame me into being a better parent.
I know a lot of parents that get that look a lot. Call it what you will, toruettes, aspergers, adhd, brain cancer, really any condition that causes difficulty controlling oneself. We take a lot of flack from parents of perfectly behaved angels that it seems most people have. Usually in the form of eyerolls, raised eyebrows, the occasional comment over the shoulder, and sometimes a parent telling their child to stay away from the naughty one clinging to my arm.
What to do? Give grace abundantly. Give grace. It is the only answer that doesn’t cause anger on either side. I get frustrated. It is more difficult to be on this side of the fence with my child that it is for the other person to watch. I think that sometimes maybe it hits a little too close to home for some people. Yes, today its their turn. They feel justified in their dirty look toward me. Their child looks the epitome of angelic perfection. But, yesterday, not so much.
Its pride, really. My pride for wanting to have “good” children. I don’t want to be judged. Their pride for judging other parents without any understanding and not being willing to admit their not perfect parents to themselves.
It is no ones fault that he has brain damage. He certainly can’t help most of it. In time he will gain more control over his frontal lobe brain damage. If cancer doesn’t kill him. He doesn’t get to be one of the sad little bald children that everyone knows has cancer, so they get a free pass. Ok. That wasn’t nice. Maybe I’m jealous. Maybe, I wish there was more hope for Johns condition. Maybe, I’m just sad. really. Maybe i’m just human.
With Love, Faith
Here’s a follow up post on the topic of Judgement