Today, I asked my friend to join us at an outdoor family movie night event. She has one toddler - he is rowdy and rambunctious as all toddlers are. He's also sweet, fairly quiet, and plays well with other kids. She hemmed and hawed. “I don't know if he has the attention span to sit through a whole movie." I scratched my head. "But it's a family event. And it's outside. No one expects kids to sit still, especially not toddlers!" She declined again, but our conversation stuck with me.
I remember being really self-conscious as a new mom. Everywhere I went I felt like people were or judging me. And if my kid made a scene? I was mortified! Maybe it's more experience, or maybe it’s having more than one kid to wrangle, but I’ve stopped worrying about how much noise my kids make. Letting go of that stress has been so helpful! I have decided not to let that self-consciousness and anxiety stop me or my toddlers from having a good time.
RELATED: Stop Apologizing For Noisy Kids
Do you feel like my friend? Like your kid is going to make a scene and everyone will hate you forever? Please let me reassure you: almost no one has the time or energy to worry about your kid being a wiggle-worm. Kids are people too! They need social interaction and entertainment and stress relief just like the rest of us. The only way they're going to learn how to sit quietly when you're out to eat is by first not sitting quietly while you're out to eat. This is not a judgment on your parenting, it’s just how little kids are.
Repeat this as many times as you need to make yourself believe it: No one cares about my parenting as much as I do. Say it again. No one cares as much about my parenting as I do. Don't believe me? Let's break it down.
The elderly: probably have their own noisy grandkids, most likely have raised kids themselves. Heck, grandma's have been the most encouraging to me when public with my hands full of two rambunctious kids! They are the ones who remind me to soak up sweet times babies are still babies. Before I know it, I’ll be an old lady whose babies have grown up.
Other parents: worried about their own kids being noisy and disruptive, tired, overworked. Just like you, they're trying to get through the day without anybody ending up in Urgent Care. Give them a smile when their little is being a typical toddler!
Teenagers and young adults, in my experience, are amused by little kid antics. Maybe they have their own younger siblings or they might babysit. Maybe they are an aunt or an uncle. If they're not a parent themselves, they probably don't have an opinion on your toxin-licious Capri Sun & Doritos snacktime. And if they do? Well, their opinion is irrelevant because they really don’t know what they’re talking about!
If anyone takes offense at a toddler being a noisy, goofy, silly kid at a family event - that person has a problem. Their snobbery says so much more about them than it does about you or your parenting, mama! I won’t lie and say that the (very infrequent) judgment I receive doesn’t sting. It does! But I’ve decided to teach my kids how to overcome that meanness by doing so myself. Haters gonna hate. Toddlers gonna toddle. You just keep on keepin’ on and don’t let them spoil your fun!