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I Pledge to be Awesome to Other People’s Kids

Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 11.08.20 PMA couple of years ago, I wrote a post about how hard it is to deal with other people’s kids sometimes. To be totally honest, even when your intentions are good, this can be a minefield. Looking back, I realized that while I’ve gotten a lot better in this area, I still have some work to do. Here’s what I had to say about it then:

I have behaved badly when friends said things about my kids. I have said things to friends about their kids when I should have kept my mouth shut. I need to stop being a hypocrite.

When I originally wrote the post, I was thinking about pre-school stuff and now… Well it’s a whole other ball of wax. While my youngest is still a preschooler, my oldest is going into fifth grade. My friends’ kids are in middle school and (gulp) high school. It’s all changing and I’m doing my best to keep up.

So I’ve updated and rewritten my pledge to reflect the reality of having older kids. Here it is:

  • I will be kind and understanding to other people’s kids, even if they are being really annoying.
  • I will try to find a meaningful balance between being The Mean Mommy (who polices the kids in her vicinity with balls of steel and a barking voice) and The Oblivious Doormat (who appears not to see their 10 year old kicking sand in the face of smaller kids).
  • I will not gossip about other people’s children, even when they are being wretched little weasels. I will remember weaselish behavior in my own kids and leave it alone.
  • I will ignore that which is not my business.
  • I will not think less of a kid who is simply doing normal kid things, no matter what. If I watch a little boy pick a winner and then eat it, I will merely gag and then hand him a Kleenex. If I watch a girl hitch up her skirt and flirt awkwardly with entirely the wrong sort of boy, I will remember the cut-offs I wore to school in 11th grade and not judge her.
  • When one of our kids gets picked on, dumped or bullied by the people who are supposed to be their friends,  I will not cry silently in the bathroom, projecting all my garbage onto the situation. I will imagine I’m Amy Poehler. I’ll try to help our kids see the situation as honestly as possible and then help them find something inappropriate about it to laugh about.
  • If my children teach yours to say “dick” or yours teach mine a dance routine to “Bubble Butt”, can we just all agree that it’s society’s fault?
  • I will try to keep my mouth shut about unimportant things regarding our kids’ behavior but please know that this will be really hard for me because I have no filter and also, I’m bad at not talking.
  • Even if your kid smells like feet or really, really needs to put on some deoderant, if he wants a hug from me, he’s going to get one.
  • If I see your kids doing something damaging, to themselves or to others, I promise to tell you because I would want to know.
  • If the time ever comes when I have to say something about your child that I know you won’t like, I will do so as gently as I can. I will not be Simon Cowell. I will be Paula Abdul. I will be just as moonbat crazy as she is and I will hate every second of knowing I’m making you feel bad.
  • If I see your kid being a right little shite and you struggling to keep it together, I’m not going to jellyfish you. I’m going to do the opposite. I have no idea what that is, but I’m going to do it.
  • Please oh please oh please do the same for me.
  • I’m going to remind you how amazing your kids are on their worst days and celebrate with you on their best days.
  • I’m going to tell you again and again that all those things that make them difficult to parent, will also help them be amazing adults. That being stubborn, sensitive, smart, and creative are characteristics you can’t teach.
  • If it involves changing a poopy diaper, I’ll do it. But I might throw up.
  • If it involves busting up a kegger, I am so in.

These things I swear to do to the best of my ability,

Julie Miner

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