Stop Judging me! The story of a mom raising kids.

To the man at the mall, judging me – stop it!

I know you saw me standing there with a grumpy look on my face as my adorable little girl stood in front of me, sobbing with tears streaming down her face. Before you judge me and assume how awful of a mother I must be for making my daughter cry during a trip to the mall, look a little closer and be a little slower to assume.

Remember what happens when you ass-u-me...

What you don’t know is that my sweet little daughter is the only girl in my family. She is the only grand-daughter and my 3rd and final child. That being said, she is a little spoiled. Because she is the baby and the only girl, we possibly go a little overboard for her. She is also at an age that will define her character and therefore I have to stay on top of it or she and I will suffer the consequences well into her adult life.

It is a balancing act.

Parenting of any kind is a balancing act. Making decisions on what to correct and what to let go; when to let her fall or when to come to her rescue; how to let her learn her lesson on her own or how to teach the lesson without painful the learning experience; these decisions all take balance and often these decisions must be made in a moments time. Good parents strive for balance. Good parents do not correct all the time, good parents do not let everything go, good parents have balance or at least try their best.

Good parenting is about guiding your child to be the best they can be. Good parents raise children who make a positive impact on the world around them. I want to be a good parent, actually, I want to be a great parent. I want to raise kids that grow up to make a difference in their community and in the world. I want my kids to be likeable and influential. If I am going to raise kids like that, I am going to have to have some awkward moments along the way. Like the moment you caught today.

What you didn't know

What you didn’t see was the melt down my daughter had just had four minutes before. We had gone into the chocolate store for our traditional chocolate strawberry that we get almost every time we visit the mall. (A little spoiling is good for us both.) Only today, the chocolate store was out of strawberries. She was devastated. In my patience I told her to choose something different this time. We looked in the case and at the small boxes that were still on sale for the after Christmas special. She made her choice after several minutes… Then as we were checking out she asked for three more things, all of which I said no to. As we walked out of the store with our bag in hand, my sweet little girl began to pout at all the things she couldn’t get. She wasn’t grateful for what she gotten, she could only think about what she didn’t get.

In my frustration, I decided we would be ending our visit to the mall and it was now time to go. The problem was that we had not gotten what we came for yet, which was something for her that we had been shopping for. That is when the melt down began.

I explained to her that I was disappointed that she wasn’t thankful and instead acting “bratty” about not getting more. I asked her, what I always ask her when I want her to re-think her attitude, “Is that who you want to be?”

“No. I am sorry mommy, please, stay” she begged. Still unable to say thank you for the candy she had gotten.

I shook my head, “No. I don’t want to get you anything else if you cannot be grateful for what you have. It is time to go.” I wasn’t yelling or name calling or that things that I see mothers do in the local super mart that makes me want to step in too. I was correcting and guiding and desperately trying to get my daughter to understand the importance of being kind, not greedy and self-centered.

- And that is about the time when the very empty store had suddenly become very busy right where we were standing. I could feel the eyes on me. I could feel the judgment of other shoppers resting on my shoulders. As I was standing with my daughter giving her the "Mom eyes." I wanted to turn to them and shout “Really?” You should be applauding me for trying to raise good kids who care, for trying to teach her manners and to be grateful and to be a positive impact on society. But instead, you represented everything that is wrong with society.

If you want to get involved, in the future when you witness an event like this unfolding before you, take a moment to pay attention and instead of judging, listen. If you had, I am sure you would have nodded in encouragement. That is what we Moms need to do. Not enough of us support one another. We all have moments when our kids need correction and guidance. Please, please, pleasesupport the mothers you see who are trying to raise their children instead of just giving them whatever they want to keep away a tantrum.

My choices At this moment I have 3 choices. 1. Drag her out while the crying grows into a tantrum because she is devastated to have to leave. 2. Give in. Just say fine then, and take her shopping for what she wanted. 3. Ignore the judgmental stares of those who should be passing by and finish the lesson. None of these choices are easy. Not one. Still, I chose option 3. Because raising kids who are not self centered is more important to me than the opinion of a judgmental stranger. I took a deep breath, and instructed her to do the same. “Take a deep breath, get control, be calm. Then we can talk about this. Or we can leave right now. You choose.”

She took 2 deep breaths and stopped her sniffles. I wiped her tears and gave her a look that she was familiar with.

“I’m sorry I didn’t say thank you mommy. Thank you for getting me the candies. I will be grateful, please let’s stay.”

I hugged her and kissed her head. We went back to shopping. (This only worked because we have been going over these motions throughout her life.)

We had practiced calming down before. Any of my kids who are upset must take a few deep breaths and calm down before we can move on. I need their attention if they are going to learn anything.

She knew I meant it. We would leave and not be back. That has happened before, and yes it is hard to leave, but sticking to it and making sure your kids know you mean it is VITAL! (Read "No means No" , link at the bottom of the page.)

She knows I love her like crazy. So even when I am upset, my kids know it is not because I am being a Meany. It is because I want them to be the best they can be and I want them to be the person they are meant to be not a selfish or rude child (whom they have seen in their life.) Work with me people !

I am raising kids who will like themselves and who will care about those around them. And it is not easy. But it is intentional. I am not done. My kids are not perfect - yet. They are still learning, me too. Life is a growing game. We try, sometimes we fail. Then we get up and try again. We try to be better and do better for ourselves, for others, for our families.

I am raising kids who love Jesus. I am raising kids with purpose, on purpose. I hope you will too.

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