When you are not a parent, your instinct is to judge those who are. When you are a parent your instinct is to feel like you are being judged.  Before I gave birth I knew everything about raising a well-adjusted, well mannered, healthy, non-shy, but not obnoxious child, who listens and does what he is told, who is potty-trained before she is two and can put on her shoes, get herself dressed well before she is two and half. Oh and let me also mention that as a non-mother, my child would never throw a temper-tantrum in the supermarket, never talk back, never watch TV and wouldn’t even dream about trying to play with my phone.

Then I became a mom and I realized how dumb I was about thinking how smart I was.
Having ideals about how you are going to raise your children is a lot different than actually raising them.
First off, according to my fantasy timeline of accomplishments, my child is supposed to be swimming the length of the pool by now. So what if she is only 17 months old? I had plans for her and I bragged about those plans to many people before she was born, so who is she to say she is not ready to dive in and swim my expected 50 meters?
And another thing, why won’t she sleep until it’s light outside? All the books as well as my previous nanny experience have taught me that if you do “A,B and C” it will equal a child who sleeps from 7-7. Not my wired up at 5 a.m. kid, she claims she is starving before sunrise. “Nana (banana,) Wawa (water),” she will yell at 4:57 a.m. My husband and I have considered getting her a self-feeder for her crib, sort of like the one hamsters have. But Fisher Price or Little Tikes doesn’t make one. Weird, right?
From the time she came into this world and interrogated me with her inquisitive eyes, my daughter has humbled me more than I ever could have imagined. She has me breaking my own “rules” on a daily basis. As she screams loudly in the supermarket while struggling to unbuckle herself, it is not at this time that I tell her, “If you don’t stop, we are going to leave.” Rather, I am more inclined to open a box of cookies and hand her the entire thing, a practice I once judged. When the cart is full of food, I’m not leaving it in hopes of, “teaching my child a lesson.” Rather, I do what is needed to buy myself 10 more minutes so I can get out of there before she decides the cookies aren’t enough and she’d rather play with the raw hamburger meat.
How about when it’s time for me to leave the park and she does her famous death-grip on the chains of the swing, combined with contorting her baby-body into a piece of stiff plywood and screams as if I am kidnapping her?
“Okay let’s say bye, bye to the swings,” I might say hoping that all of a sudden I have a sane person I am dealing with. But the thing is I don’t. What I have is a person not yet capable of compromise, who is obsessed with swinging. The only thing my toddler loves more than swinging is Pirate Bootie. “You give her that crap?” my sister will say.
When my options are to either cut off her hands so she is free from the swings, or offer her five pieces of a snack that I wish I would have invented, I’ll opt for the latter.
According to several child-rearing “experts” my future looks grim. By the time my daughter is 16 and I am wanting her to stop texting while we are out eating at a fancy resturant, I’ll have no choice but to lean over to her and whisper, “Listen if you put away the phone and act like you have manners, we’ll buy you a car.”
The good thing about me being a mom, for the rest of the moms in the world, is that I have stopped judging you. If you stick an iPad in front of your 2-year-old’s face because he is screaming on an airplane, I get it. If you order a pile of French Fries and a shake as dinner for your three-year-old so you can just eat in peace, I get it. If you let your kid wear five socks on one foot with 25 clips dangling in her hair and no shoes on her feet, I get it.
The most important rule not to break is giving our children all the love, safety and security they deserve. But beyond that, our parenting “rules” are likely break. Besides, if we didn’t break the rules, what fun would it be for those who are judging us?