Dear Parents: I’m sorry I judged.
It sounds like a cliché, but it’s true what they say: There are things you just won’t understand until you become a parent. Before I was a mom, there were things I just didn’t “get.” Now I do. Here are three examples:
The backpack leash — Before I became a mom, I was a bit horrified by the backpack leash. Then… my son became a toddler. A runner. He thinks dashing for the door (or worse, the driveway!) is a game. He calculates, and then runs. He thinks it’s hilarious. But it’s not, it’s actually quite dangerous! So, while I thought parents who used backpack leashes were a step away from child abuse, I get it now, I’m sorry I ever questioned this method. Please accept my apologies. Who was I, childless know-nothing girl, to question you? Sometimes a leash might just be what a parent needs to put a child out of harm’s way.
Parents who fall asleep in their clothes — Before I became a mama, when I would sleep over my (parent) friends’ homes, I’d notice that sometimes they would wake up in the same clothes from the night before. I wondered why. Now I know – because I do it too! It’s because I’m damn tired to change out of them at the end of the day!! Again, I’m sorry I didn’t understand. I fall asleep in my own clothes sitting down next to Enzo’s toddler bed practically every day. Sometimes my husband has to go in and get me, or I’d probably just sleep on the floor in his room every night.
Parents who cosleep or let their kids in their bed — Before becoming a parent, I didn’t really believe in cosleeping. When I was pregnant one of my friends mentioned her baby slept in her bed and I cringed at the thought. (Of course I had read all the literature about why you shouldn’t cosleep.) “Aren’t you afraid you will roll over and suffocate her?” Then I had my baby, whom I was breastfeeding. Finally, it made sense. Why would I get up (multiple times a night) to put him back in his bassinet when he was going to wake up in two hours anyway?! I was already sleep deprived, so I took whatever I could get in the rest department—any additional minutes were welcome, and having the baby next to me definitely helped. I didn’t do it all the time, but I did do it, and I get it.
And, while I’m confessing, I must also say that I have let Enzo into my bed. He sleeps, I sleep (sometimes with an elbow in my face but nonetheless it’s sleep). If I had to choose (and I did) between hearing my son scream his lungs out to me getting sleep, this tired mom is going to go for option two. Of course, I’m paying the price now, because he has terrible sleeping habits. Oh well, así es la vida.
So, if you aren’t a mom, don’t judge until you’ve been there. One day you might just get it. If you’re a mom, know there are many ways to be a great parent. Sometimes the method depends on the kid, and all that matters is keeping your kid safe.
For me, it might just require a leash.
Diana Limongi-Gabriele works hard juggling a full-time job, motherhood, family, grad school and her blog, LadydeeLG, where she writes about issues she is passionate about including teaching her son Spanish, motherhood, parenting, Latino issues, good quality food and women’s issues. Diana is a regular contributor forMamiverse. She has a MA in Migration Studies, and is pursuing an MPA in Nonprofit Management. Her most important job however, is being mommy to Enzo, a French/Hispanic/American (one day trilingual) 2-year-old boy. You can connect with her via Twitter, @dianalimongi or onFacebook.