On Judging Other Parents

I read a book about the Great Lakes. Apparently, in the folk tradition, they are always depicted as evil and conniving. There are explorers who hated them, because they would change from calm to stormy within the minute. We’ve seen that. One minute, we were on a great reach, and, before Rob noticed, we were caught in a squall. Rob has seen worse, when his parents’ boat went from sailing in the sunshine to being caught in the worst storm in a long time.

People don’t like to accept that nature can overpower them. That, no matter what they do, any minute a squall can hit.

I like the Lakes. I think this is because my life has seen many squalls. When we became parents, we had the sails trimmed perfectly, and I had us on a great course. I had my baby naturally (with the help of a few drugs…). We breastfed for 22 months, in spite of the challenges set before us. I remember reading to her when ,as a newborn, she screamed all night. She got so much attention. No television. A parent at home with her every day. No sugar. We were set to be on a very fast reach.

Then the squall hit. She’s four years old. She is just beginning to speak in sentences and answer questions. She rides in a stroller or in a backpack. She is not potty trained.

Because, like the Lakes, parenting is not completely within our control. You can do everything right, and still end up in a storm. So don’t ask another mother why their kid doesn’t talk. If you see a kid too old for a stroller, consider that they may have hypotonia, and that too much walking may be painful for them. If a kid isn’t potty trained, maybe they can’t feel the urge to go yet.

People try to give us “advice.” They want there to be something we did wrong. Because then, it can’t happen to them.

But it can.

Disability is a part of life. I see BMW’s in the therapy parking lot, and I see kids arriving in city buses for school therapy. It can happen to anyone. The important thing to do is not to judge, but to accept and support. Yes, this means accepting that it could happen to you, to your kid. And it could. And you would probably want support, not judgment, if it did.

2 thoughts on “On Judging Other Parents

  1. Pingback: A Letter to Beanie’s Therapists | Journey to Ithaca

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