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J is for Judging


Recently my cousin sent me a blog post by the hilarious blogger Pregnant Chicken. If you haven’t read her site and have even the slightest bit of a sense of humor, you’re missing out. The blog lists the things that, as a childless person, she witnessed parents do and said, “When I’m a parent I’ll NEVER do THAT”. Her list had me giggling obnoxiously while my husband looked at me across the room with raised eyebrows, but it made me wonder how many other things I could add to the list. For those of you familiar with the Myers Briggs temperaments, I rate as a very solid ESTJ, where the J is for “judging”. The Myers Briggs Foundation describes the ESTJ as the following:

Practical, realistic, matter-of-fact. Decisive, quickly move to implement decisions. Organize projects and people to get things done, focus on getting results in the most efficient way possible. Take care of routine details. Have a clear set of logical standards, systematically follow them and want others to also. Forceful in implementing their plans.

The judging part is having a clear set of standards that I expect others to follow and it is not my best character trait. So I’ve come up with some judgements I made of parents before becoming one that were, well, “ignorant” would probably be the best word.

1. The screaming toddler at the store

How can you just ignore the child in your shopping cart who looks about 5 seconds away from spinning their head around and spitting split pea soup? Why can’t you just rationalize with the child to stop the banshee from screeching? So here’s the thing about toddlers, they lack the ability to rationalize. Their little frontal lobes – which is the part of the brain that controls fun things like logic, reasoning and self-control – are hugely under-developed. In fact, the frontal lobe doesn’t reach full maturity until they hit their early 20s which explains a thing or two about teenagers, but that is a different blog post all together! So keep pushing that cart mom warrior and know that the rest of us parents get it.

2. Potty training


Why would you have your child in diapers for even one minute longer than necessary? While I haven’t completely abandoned this judgement, there are a few considerations that hadn’t crossed my childless mind: 1) potty training sucks – even if your child is amazing and gets it fast, it still sucks; 2) diapers are amazingly convenient. Exhibit A – I was out recently with a friend who has two children, one in diapers the other not. The thing about newly potty trained kids is when they say they need to go, the need to go now, not in a minute, not when it is convenient for you, NOW. This meant that my friend had to immediately drop everything she was doing and run with other child in tow to the nearest public bathroom to avoid an accident. Meanwhile, I was able to continue the activity blissfully ignorant of whether or not my son was peeing and I avoided a public bathroom which is quite frankly a stated life goal of mine. So there you go, convenient and sanitary. That being said, potty training is a necessary evil so we’ll have to give up our flexibility and develop a greater love of hand sanitizer soon.

3. Crying airplane babies


Scenario: I’m sitting on a plane minding my own business when a baby/toddler two rows back starts screaming like it’s going out of fashion. Pre-child reaction: For the love of all that is holy, please stop your child from making that noise before I supply the sock off my foot to do the task. Post-child reaction: Those poor, poor parents. For the childless amongst us, something you might not know is there is no one and I mean NO ONE who wants that child to stop crying more than that child’s parents. Having your child scream is both embarrassing and nerve wracking. So next time this happens to you, give those parents a little knowing smile, a shrug or a nod, it might just be enough to calm their nerves and let them pass on that sense of calm to the little wailing being they are traveling with.

We all struggle to keep our judgements of others in check, but let’s give parents the benefit of the doubt that they probably know what is best for their particular child – with the exception of the parents on TLC’s Toddlers & Tiaras, they are just terrible.


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