unqualified parenting tips

Parents ain’t perfect.

Parents are far from being perfect but I’d like to think that being a parent has made me a better person than I would have been if I didn’t have kids, because having kids somehow makes you want to be better.

Not so much that I’m afraid I’d be caught for misbehaving or doing something bad because as The Mom, I’m the boss of everybody else around here.

No, it’s more than that. It’s because I want them to be better than me and the only way that’s going to happen is if I become the best version of me I can be.

And although I’m sure there’s a level 97 Grand Master version of me that always takes the high road and doesn’t rain terrible curses on bad drivers, that version will not be making an appearance anytime soon so for now, I’m content to occasionally take the high road (like only when I know the kids are watching).

Which is already a marked improvement from the pre-kid version of me who has always taken the road that is considerably lower. I’ve always had little time or patience for people whom I felt deserved what they got. Back in the day, I would have made a fully audible, thinly-veiled criticism of the parents of the brattish kids who were disturbing my dinner. Or tsk-tsked the mom whose 2-year-old was melting into the floor dramatically in public. Or looked at the mom struggling with 3 kids and wondered why she wasn’t introduced to the concept of contraceptives.

Now if there’s one thing being a parent has taught me, it’s how to eat a stinking piece of poop-filled humble pie.

Before I had kids, I thought it was all a piece of cake. I would kick ass at being a mom and show them all how it’s done. My kids wouldn’t be caught dead throwing a tantrum or turning up their noses at food. They would be perfect specimens of little angels who smiled, ate their vegetables and did as they were told.

As it turns out, the moment the kids came into my life, there has been no cake and all I’ve been eating is humble pie. And most of my words.

These days, I’ve learnt to be a lot more understanding and less judgey. I see a mom who’s shoving food into her mouth as her kids sit engrossed watching youtube on the iPhone and I stop myself from passing judgement on what an irresponsible, disinterested mom she is. She might have very well spent the last 12 hours running herself ragged being fully engaged in her kids’ mental, emotional and physical development and all the poor woman is asking for is 10 minutes to eat in peace without being judged by random strangers. So I smile, give her a mental hi-5, gather my kids and get a move on.

I see another mom losing her shit at her kid and I remember how I’ve lost count of the number of times I went ballistic on the kids after a particularly bad day. After each episode, I beat myself up over it enough to not need other parents telling me how I messed up.

When I think of all the things I want to teach the kids as they grow, like how to solve differential equations, and the intricacies of foreign policy, and the works of literary geniuses, there is none more important than the crucial life lesson on how not to be a douche canoe.

And that means that I’ve got to not be one myself.

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  • Reply leslie March 5, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    During my pre-baby time, I would curse, swear and change seats when the toddler/s in the same MRT cabin bawl or throw tantrums. Now I know that there are reasons behind it – like being hungry, near their naptime or just tired from their shopping outing. And i pity the poor parents n am thankful that i’m out alone.

    • Reply Daphne March 7, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      It takes a parent to really empathize I guess. And because it happens to us so often, we can be a lot more understanding of other parents who are going through the same thing

  • Reply Ai Sakura March 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    It’s already hard enough not beating ourselves up without getting extra dirty looks or tsks. World would certainly be much better if we can all support one another.. And I’m not just talking about frm other parents. But singles too…
    Ai Sakura´s last post ..He Writes: Funny Meme Posters

    • Reply Daphne March 7, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      Yeah a little understanding definitely goes a long way!

  • Reply Jean March 5, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    You’re better than me then. I don’t hesitate to give the evil eye to parents whose kids are blatantly misbehaving because they just haven’t been taught better. Being tired doesn’t excuse anyone from being responsible. And that includes myself.
    Jean´s last post ..The girls then, and now.

    • Reply Daphne March 7, 2012 at 5:12 pm

      Totally agree about being responsible even when we’re tired. I guess if it’s a 2-yr-old having a tantrum I find myself more understanding than if it’s a 10-yr-old intentionally behaving badly.

  • Reply Regina March 5, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    We aren’t perfect – but we try the best way we know how.

    All of us have good and bad days, meltdown moments, and moments to make us melt.
    At the end of the day, all we want is the best for our kids.

    Parenting styles differ, and none of it makes any of us lousier parents than any other on the street.

    Thank you for putting these thoughts into words :)
    Regina´s last post ..My heart belongs to Baby.

  • Reply SengkangBabies March 5, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    eh..maybe that’s why parents must work as a team, papa and mama?
    Individually, the kids really test our patience, but once parents complement each other, there is always some tricks we can employ to handle the kids.

    ..it’s getting tougher though.. kids grow older and are no longer so gullible haha…
    SengkangBabies´s last post ..Tampines 1 water playground

    • Reply Daphne March 7, 2012 at 5:14 pm

      Haha yeah 2 parents are better than one. The only thing is when I have to bring them out alone and 1 has a meltdown, really stressful.. I’m like totally outnumbered

  • Reply Kelvin Ang March 5, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Ah. We just placed an iPhone, turned on the Youtube/videos and tried to shove food into his mouth just a few hours ago. He was going to an age of throwing tantrums. He can be smiley one second and the next throw a big fit and refusing food.

    As much as we dun like to use the iPhone as a means of calming him down, we find no other alternatives.
    Kelvin Ang´s last post ..Day 1 – Bingo! & Dining

    • Reply Daphne March 7, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      I think it’s a phase and they’ll outgrow the difficult eating when they’re bigger. Hang in there!

  • Reply Bun Bun Makeup Tips March 6, 2012 at 2:01 am

    One day….. I will understand too. And be able to understand why the parents of a bawling child are unresponsive/nonchalant about all the stares.
    Bun Bun Makeup Tips´s last post ..Bun Bun’s First Birthday + Giveaway!

    • Reply Daphne March 7, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      Hahhaha that day will come.. I think the first few times it happens, you’ll panic and frantically try to drag the kid off the floor but then after a while, you’ll calmly wait for the tantrum to pass even when everyone else is staring

  • Reply Andrea March 6, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Well said Daph! From being a single to a parent of 1 then of 2 (trust me, 1 & 2, man! what a difference), the 1 thing I have learnt and remind myself daily is not to judge!! cos parenting is a very very personal thing, plus I SHLD MIND MY OWN BUSINESS!!!! (of cos unless the kid is bleeding from being beaten or something…) To all the parents out there, hey don’t beat yourself up over the slightest thing, you are prob the best parent your child simply cos no other human being loves your child more unconditionally than you :)

    • Reply Regina March 6, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      “you are prob the best parent your child simply cos no other human being loves your child more unconditionally than you”

      – More true words have never been spoken.
      Regina´s last post ..One is a lonely number.

    • Reply Daphne March 7, 2012 at 5:21 pm

      Awesomely said, Andrea!! And you’re one of the coolest and calmest moms I know.. got lots to learn :)

  • Reply Cathj March 6, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Mental high5.. Hihi.. Thats a good 1 and i need that haha…

    • Reply Daphne March 7, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      I’ll send one your way too!

  • Reply Parents are humans too « R & J Stories March 7, 2012 at 7:03 am

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  • Reply Liz April 3, 2012 at 2:19 am

    As the mom of an 18 year-old daughter and an almost 15 year-old son, I still feel like Steve Martin in Father-of-the-Bride and see my kids as 6 and 3. I remember being judged on two specific occassions and was told outloud or in a passing comment to someone else, that I was a basically a bad mother. Once in line at Disneyland, my then three year old son was out of control (and was later diagnosed with ADHD), I felt like the worst mother on the planet when I heard a man comment that I couldn’t control my son. What was I supposed to do? Yank him by the arm, kicking and screaming to some other line in the so-called “happiest place on earth”? Or the classic memory of my daughter having a nuclear meltdown at the age of 3, when we were in Target with my newborn son, buying diapers and a woman told me that I should leave the store. I relayed that story to my kid’s pediatrician and explained that 1. I was out of diapers and needed them; and 2. that I thought someone was going to call Child Protective Services and take my kids away from me. He then jokingly responded “Don’t you sometimes, just wish they would?” At first I was totally shocked to hear him say that, but it was the best therapy for me: him letting me know that as the father of three boys, it can get pretty rough. And even he, wished for a break sometimes. Now my daughter is strong and beautiful and on her way to college. I asked her the other day if there was anything that I did in her childhood that she would look back on and hold against me? Some horrible mistake I had made, that I would later hear about when she became a mom and she said “no.” I couldn’t believe it. And my son, who is in high school said that he felt pretty lucky. Most of his friends hated their parents, but not him. My kids taught me so much: to choose your battles, who cares what other people think and just love. It sounds so silly, but really, all they want from us is our love. The rest will just come.

    • Reply Daphne April 3, 2012 at 10:37 am

      Hi Liz, thanks for sharing! Your kids are really sweet hopefully when mine turn 18 they’ll tell me the same thing. :)

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