The other day I did something I swore I never would. I judged another parent. I hate myself.

Of course, I didn’t voice my verdict aloud (I’m still British after all) but that doesn’t matter. Even in my own head, I still did it. And that puts me in the same reprehensible bracket as all the old people who have shaken their heads at my ‘disgraceful lack of control’ over my children in the park or the parents who have sneered at my Bolognese soaked sons in a restaurant while their daughters sit quietly colouring in or writing a piano concerto or whatever.

The incident occurred during that popular middle-class past-time: taking your children for a Babyccino. Translation: distracting them with milk, powdered chocolate and, if you’re truly lucky, marshmallows (the chewy kind), while you load up on caffeine and sit down for a few precious minutes.

Worse, the target of my judgement was a fellow dad! A man so harried by his two kids and two dogs that he could no longer maintain his composure in Caffe Nero. Several decibels and various expletives later, he was enjoying the stares of the whole establishment, his children were crying and his dogs were barking as if they’d seen a postman lathered in bone marrow.

Now, I’ve never understood why people with young children have dogs. Why choose to add yet another creature(s) to your life that must be taken outside regularly whatever the weather, has no sense of reason and may at any moment shit on your carpet?! But still, poor bloke.

At least that’s what I should have thought.

But I didn’t. Instead I thought something along the lines of: well, that’s a bit much, shouting like that before losing myself in a pious spiral of I would never do such a thing and my children are far more obedient, etc. Shame on me. A) Because I would and they aren’t. And b) because I forgot my allegiance to a fellow comrade.

As the brilliant DIY Daddy recently asked in a post: is there a right way to be a parent? To which, naturally, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Your way.  And that’s the point. All that my stressed-out Nero friend was doing was experiencing his version of the same moment pretty much every parent has, pretty much every week. His only ‘crime’ was that he happened to do it in such a public place.

Anyway, almost as soon as me, my wife and our (ahem) perfectly behaved children waltzed serenely out of the establishment, the guilt began to eat away at me. How could I be so unfair? And while I wouldn’t ever advocate dropping the f-bomb on a pre-schooler, the more I thought about it, the more I empathised with how he was feeling.

So, this, belatedly, is my apology. To the man who had the meltdown and to other mums, dads, grandparents, anyone who has been driven temporarily to distraction by the insanity of this job. I got caught off guard and forgot the first and most important rule of Parent Club. Never judge a fellow member. It won’t happen again.

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8 thoughts on “An apology: I broke the first rule of Parent Club

  1. First of all thank you so much for the mention I feel humbled you have linked my post.
    Your post is spot on I think sometimes we are all a bit guilty of this and especially when on that particular day our children are angels. I to have seen this happen and my heart goes out to them because I to know that I could so easily cross the line although I haven’t yet been close a few times.
    Great read mate will share for you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice post. My first thought is we’ve all been there. I’ve sworn in my head but never out loud. I too have judged and been judged. Neither is a good feeling. Kids will have meltdowns. My four year old daughter, Fidget, had one in the park and other parents were watching whilst I tried to reason with her. The looks we received said it all. Some looks were sympathetic, others questioning at best. I was embarrassed, to say the least. But then I remembered that’s she is just four and generally good. She was just tired. Then I realised that the looks said more about them than it said about us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great article..just one consideration. ..maybe the dogs came first so hats off to the family for still engaging with their first ‘children’ despite having their second ‘children’ Too often a much loved and pampered pet becomes discarded as soon as ‘real children’ come along. And I think having pets with children gives a sense of responsibility and kindness to these future generations. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very fair point, Deb. As a canine sceptic (if such a thing exists!?!) myself, I saw a cheeky opportunity to bemoan dogs! There are though loads of nice reasons to have one in the family, I’m sure. Thanks very much for reading and commenting – much appreciated and I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

      Like

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