You know, the parent who annoys you before you have children…or before you have as many kids as they do. In your eyes, they get it all wrong.
How could they do that?
Why don’t they just do this?
For myself, I can chase personal guilt back to an observation of “failed” discipline at a nice restaurant early in my first pregnancy. The scene was Silicon Valley, and the parents were older (a cultural norm in the Bay Area). They have no control, I remember thinking to myself. Their unwillingness to face the little giant in the high chair really got under my skin. Before you have children, you can really believe you have all the answers.
But if you are a parent long enough, a realization will stop you in your tracks. In my case, I had to accept an uncomfortable reality: my kids are their own people. They won’t always behave at dinner – no matter how much money or effort you expend.
And, in due time, I did that thing I said I never would.
I learned to let little things go.