We were surrounded by strangers, standing in line for a ride at Silver Dollar City when my three-year-old stamped her foot and yelled something to the effect of "No, I'm not going to do it!"
I don't even remember what the conversation was about. All I remember was the moment. It was the moment we all know too well. When that moment happens to someone else, other than us, we know exactly what should happen. That mom should yank up her kid and give her a good bootie-whoopin'! But sometimes, when the moment happens to us, we know better. We know our kid and we know what works for them.
Instead of beating her tail, which she does get often enough, I lowered my voice and offered her some choices. She doesn't always have to obey my commands. Sometimes she can have a say in the matter, because, to her, her opinion and her will are of upmost importance. It's hurtful to her to have them crushed.
The point is -- in that moment, I did not do what many moms think I should. I didn't even do what I (four years ago) would have thought I should. But I knew what would cause a bigger outburst and what would steer us down a calmer path while in a public place.
That's why, Dear Mom, I don't judge you.
Just like you don't know me and all the quirks of my children and situations, I don't know yours. So when you ignore your screaming child in the grocery store or give them the candy or feed them French fries for lunch, I don't judge you. Yes, it's possible you're just being a lazy parent. It's also possible you've had a day like I couldn't imagine. Maybe you're at the end of your rope, and maybe the way I see you behave is the exception, not the rule. Maybe you are a rockstar mom who's been at it all day, teaching and disciplining and praying and loving. But you need a little time so when y'all go to the park you scroll through your phone instead of pushing the swings. I don't know. But I don't judge you. Because I've been there, and I know what it's like. Parenting is hard, but parenting in public is even harder. When you feel like all eyes are on you, waiting to see how you respond, sometimes you freeze up or lose your confidence. Don't. Do what's best for you and your kids. And don't worry. I don't judge you.