Some of my childless friends tell me that they understand what it is like to be a parent. I usually keep my mouth shut because they don't understand it, not really. I can describe what it is like, but they just don't have reference points that they can refer to the way that other parents can.
It is harder for them to appreciate why a dance routine for seven year old girls can infuriate parents. They don't always understand why I say that it is ok to be judgmental. Not only ok, but encouraged. Being judgmental is often written off as something that the narrow minded provincial person does. It receives a bad rap, a label that makes it seem like it is a bad thing.
In reality it is a very good thing, especially as a parent. It is something that you should do. It is something that as a father I do constantly. I watch other parents and make decisions about their parenting. I pay careful attention to the parents of the friends of my children. I want to know what they think is appropriate. I want to know what sort of activities they think are ok and what aren't.
Because there are lines that I will not allow to be crossed. I won't let my children go swimming at a friend's house unless I know that there is constant adult supervision. I won't let them watch movies with friends whose parent's think that it is ok for 9 year old boys to watch movies with excessive sex and violence.
Those kids can come play at my house or meet us at the park. I want my children to be children for as long as possible. They'll be adults soon enough and have years to indulge in adult activities.
So I am judgmental. I understand that sometimes parenting is a grind. I know that homework means that sometimes I am going to have to sit on the kids to make sure that it is done. I know that punishing a child means that I have to actively enforce it.
It is not always easy. I understand. I recognize that it is damn hard to run a household, work and do all of the other stuff that we need to do. I get it.
But that doesn't change anything. When I decided to become a father I accepted that I was forfeiting some things in exchange for something greater. I accepted that some times I would be frustrated and angry and unable to take care of myself the way I wanted or needed to.
Yep, I had to accept that I place my childrens' happiness in front of my own. And sometimes it sucks. There have been some very hard moments that would have been a thousand times easier without kids. But I wouldn't change it. I went into this with an understanding of that.
And an understanding that I would be judgmental. An understanding that sometimes I would have to make decisions based upon limited information and hope for the best. I really do like people. People are wonderful and interesting, but they can also be stupid morons.
And stupid morons can endanger my children so I am judgmental. So I use whatever information I have access to and evaluate the situation. With a little luck and some common sense we'll all grow from all of this and more importantly I'll have helped to raise menschen.
That is the goal- to raise well adjusted, smart productive members of society and to have as much fun/joy as we can.
Really, being judgmental is a good thing. Some of you ought to try it.