Their behavior is not a reflection of my parenting
Even the best behaved children can have off days. And sometimes off days look like kicking, screaming, and arm flailing tantrums in the middle of the grocery store over a box of candy. When you witness this, it’s really not necessary to comment on it, unless you’re offering an empathetic comment like, “I’ve been there.” Comments about discipline, how they’ve been raised, or what you would do if you were the parent aren’t needed, and only make a stressful situation worse. Young children are learning about behavior, including what is acceptable, and what isn’t. When children are little, every thing feels like a big deal—and to them, it is. It is up to parents and strangers alike to treat them like the people they are, and give them the respect they deserve as they continue to learn about the world. (Here’s how calm parents deal with bratty behavior.)
I know that it goes so fast — but sometimes it feels slow
Mothers and fathers of young children know that childhood goes quickly. We get it. As we watch birthdays suddenly approach for children that were seemingly born yesterday, we mourn the days that have flown past us when we changed diapers, prepared meals, and scrubbed pureed sweet potatoes off the walls. So when you tell us that it goes so fast, and to enjoy every moment, even though we know you have the best intentions, it hangs us up. This parenthood thing is hard, and much of it is enjoyable. Playing with giggling babies, reading to toddlers in pajamas; it’s these moments that get us through the frustrating and mind-numbing days. For new parents though, it can be hard to hear that it goes fast, and to enjoy every single second, when so much of this brand new role feels overwhelming. It’s easier to hear you validate us in our struggles. Saying something like “It’s so hard, but it’s worth it” can be healing and encouraging to a new mom or dad.