I remember before I had a child. I was a really good parent back then. I was organized and, well, perfect. Not like those moms I sometimes saw around town.
Like this one mom I saw at the health food store with her 2-year-old. The kid was cute and all, but her face and hands were slathered in some kind of sticky red goo, and encrusted with ... I guess I'll call 'em "grime-bunnies." And for such a small person, she was loud. Really loud. She shrieked at her mom in this piercing, whiny voice, pointing out every item that she wanted. And she wanted a lot.
She charged around the store and, in a state of apparent obliviousness, rammed into anything in her path, including unsuspecting shoppers' shins. Then for her piece de resistance, this pig-tailed pixie began grabbing organic apples (pricey!) out of the bin and hurling them down the produce aisle. Why they didn't stay glued to her fingers by the red goo, I couldn't say. But they bounced along the floor, most certainly becoming inedible bruise-balls. And her mom didn't do a thing. She just kept shopping.
Can you believe it? I couldn't.
What the heck is she thinking, letting her kid act like that? That's what I was thinking. Well, that and also that I would NEVER, EVER be that kind of parent. MY child would know better than to try anything like that with me. I would just spell it out for my kid. I mean, how hard can it be?
Looking back, now that I'm a parent myself, I remember how that mom looked tired. I remember how she picked up those apples and wearily pushed her cart to the checkout line.
Now, having been through the whole "dead-tired" thing myself, I understand. Some days, just to distract my loud, sticky (but dearly loved) pixie for a few minutes so I could accomplish the smallest task, I'd be willing to look like a bad mommy. Some days, just to get through checkout and home with some food, I'd think to myself, "What's a few bad apples?"