Being “Those People!”

I wake up early, head to the laundry room, and pull my son’s football pants from the dryer. Through grogginess and semi-sleep deprivation I place each pad in its respective pocket. This tends to be tedious work and take some time so I plan ahead. It needs to be done long before we have to leave for his game.

I then check the outside temperature and plan accordingly- I pull long sleeved shirts and hats and gloves from storage bins in the basement. At the same time I’m working hard to make sure they all match his uniform. It’s a cold October morning. The temperature is a little above 35 degrees and it won’t be much warmer at game time, 2 hours from now.

Outwardly, I don’t want my son to be cold or miserable during his game. Inwardly, I don’t want to be “those people” again.

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We’ve been “those people” before. Maybe you can identify….
Missed the email about something you were supposed to send to school with your son. Showed up at the wrong time, to the wrong place, for a doctor’s appointment. Helplessly watched your daughter trot to the bus wearing mismatched clothes. Found out your son was given a document from his teacher and told to take it straight home to you but instead he stuffed it to the depths of his backpack and you never saw it.  Owned the dog that barks in the middle of the night or breaks out of the backyard and terrorizes small dogs and their owners?

Okay, maybe that last one is just us!

Of course, there was the time that one of our sons convinced his teacher that we weren’t feeding him at home. He played this up for weeks and received special treats from her desk because she (and I quote) “Just didn’t want the poor little guy to starve!” When she called one afternoon and told my wife to “please make sure and feed your son everyday,” my wife nearly dropped the phone.

Yes, we’ve been “those people” plenty of times, and I’m sure you have as well. And I’m also sure, like us, you’ve tried very hard to not be “those people.” You’ve gotten up early, lined every piece to a uniform up, packed a balanced lunch, made sure you were on time or watched your dog like a hawk!

Here’s what we continue to discover about life:

1. Our children are going to do embarrassing stuff.

This is not an excuse for poor behavior it’s just a reality. My kids, your kids, and many other kids are going to act out in public, scream at each other while they’re getting on the school bus, and walk out of our houses in miss-matched clothing (to name a few). They are human beings who are figuring out their voice in the world and they’re also growing and learning. Embarrassing stuff is going to happen.

2. Life brings real problems and we’re not alone. 

That embarrassing moment at the hands of our kids, our dog, our own hands, or our own forgetfulness, is just part of life and everyone goes through moments like these at some point!

3. Stop worrying about what others think. 

It’s difficult, but it’s important that we not be consumed by what others think about us or our parenting (unless it’s a police officer or a Child Services worker). It matters that our family is healthy and loved and provided for. We need people in our lives who give honest feedback and bring accountability, but that job does not rest with a stranger or a person who hasn’t made an investment in our life or our family.

Question: How have you felt like “those people” in the past (or now)? Join the conversation!

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