I have mellowed a LOT over the past 7 years. I used to be pretty judgmental when it came to other peoples' parenting. Then I had kids of my own and friends with kids and I learned that there are a lot of paths to good parenting, and that we don't all need to make the same choices to raise equally happy, healthy, successful kids.
However.... When someone speaks of their own children with contempt? I judge.
Everyone gets annoyed with their family. Everyone. I get that. And we all need to bitch sometimes. I bitch, too.
But there's a difference between some healthy venting and speaking with contempt about the people you're supposed to love the most.
Twice in the last year or two I've met people for the first time, and they've spoken about their small children with such animosity that I've been uncomfortable. And honestly, I can't figure out what they're trying to communicate when they call their kids names (yes, really, and not pet names or nicknames - hurtful names!), or when they complain about their kids' personalities.
When it gets to the point where I feel like I ought to be defending their kids to them, what I'm thinking is, "This person and I are never going to be friends."
I just don't understand. Is this some way that moms bond that I just really suck at? It's one thing to complain that your kids are horrible sleepers (2/3 of mine are!) or that they're in a difficult phase, but it's another to speak as though you really don't like your own child.
I try not to say anything about someone that I wouldn't say to them. The operative word is try. I don't always succeed. I'm a work in progress. And if I do complain about somebody behind their back, I hope it's with a mind toward finding a solution instead of just complaining (for example, if another mom at school and I have a conflict, I might speak of the situation with other people who know us both to try to figure out what's going on).
When it comes to my family, I hope that the love I feel for them is evident, even when I might be complaining that I haven't had a good night's sleep in almost 8 years or that all four of them are sock droppers.
Women can just be so mean sometimes, but when they're mean about their own kids? That's not someone I want to be around.
Has someone ever spoken hatefully about their kids to you? What do you do? What do you say?