I see you looking at me when my kids are screaming. I see you looking at me when my kids are yelling and howling. I see you looking me when my kids are writhing on the floor in the throws of a tantrum.
I see you judging the way my children are behaving and my parenting and I want to tell you something.
Today, like most days in the summer, we went to the beach. The beach is a public place that my kids normally love. They love to play, they love to run, they love to have fun.
I see you watching my kids playing together. I see you watching my kids splashing in the water. I see you watching them playing with their parents. I see you judging us to be a happy perfect family and you smile approvingly.
I see you watching and judging and smiling.
But that isn’t real life ALL the time.
I also see you when my child is screaming and I see you judge me then. I see you watching us out of the corner of your eye. I see you watching us as if we were a TV show, providing you with entertainment.
Take today. My 3 year old daughter fell asleep in the car so I carried her to the beach and put her in the shade. But it was hot. I mean roasting, boiling hot, scorching hot. So hot you can hear a sizzle when I put her in the cool refreshing water.
I woke her up and she screamed.
She screamed for her daddy, she screamed for her “poo mouse” she screamed for the world to go away.
She screamed because she was angry.
She screamed because she was experiencing overpowering emotions.
I see you looking at me and thinking “why doesn’t she do something” or perhaps you think “she’s doing too much”.
I’m not sure I need to explain myself to you, but I will all the same.
I’ll tell you what I did. I offered her a cuddle.
She didn’t want one.
So I let her be.
I cooled him down and he screamed.
Take yesterday. Her twin brother didn’t want to get undressed. He SAID he didn’t want to go for a swim. But he just doesn’t get how hot it is. He’s too little to understand that he NEEDS to get in the sea to cool down.
He screamed when I tried to get him undressed. He screamed when I gave up and dunked him in the sea with all his clothes on. He screamed when he got out, cooler and refreshed.
He screamed because he was angry.
He screamed because he had to let it all out.
He screamed because he wanted the world to go away.
My kids scream.
So you see, I AM sorry that my kids are disturbing your peace. I am sorry that my children aren’t happy every second of the day. I am sorry that their behaviour is trying and frustrating.
Please believe me out of all the people in the world, my husband and I know exactly how noisy our children can be.
But that’s just it.
They’re kids. They’re acting like kids. They’re acting like normal kids, normal but amazing kids.
They play nicely together. But not all the time.
They giggle and whoop and splash and have fun. But not all the time.
They shout and scream and kick and fight. But not all the time.
That’s what kids are. Little balls of emotion that bounce from high to low and back again.
Stop judging and start supporting.
I see you watching us and I wish you wouldn’t. It doesn’t make it any easier to feel your eyes on me. It doesn’t make it any easier for me to watch my child flailing and shouting and screaming. It doesn’t make it any easier when my kids have a tantrum. Which is what kids do.
I see you watching us and I think.
This is my life. This is my kids’ life. We are not an entertainment show. We are not here to amuse you. Please do not judge what you don’t know.
I’m sure if you had a magic solution for tantrums, we’d all like to know.
Perhaps just a little smile wouldn’t hurt then. A wink of solidarity. A big “you’re a great parent thumbs up.”
But instead I feel that gaze of judgement and I want to ask you to stop. Stop judging me and start supporting me and my parenting.
A simple smile will do.