I really have been blessed with great kids. God has been merciful to bring them up, in spite of our pitiful attempts at parenting.
Today at the mall, I was standing in line at ChikFilA. Hannah in the stroller and Joshua and Leah each on a side, holding the stroller, waiting our turn. The lady behind me commented that she couldn't believe they were quietly standing and waiting. I told her thank you. Then she went on and on about how she couldn't believe how I could even go out in public with them by myself. I told her it was no accident, alot of hard work goes into raising children. She started telling me about her daughter, who has a 3 and one year old. She says she has no control over them at home and can't leave the house with them at all. I told her that it is hard, and just kept smiling. She kept on about her daughter and I just smiled and said that alot of training goes into where we are. She said she knows and wishes her daughter understood that and that we've done a great job. It was nice. THEN...she started complaining that her daughter is still nursing her baby, even though the baby is TWELVE MONTHS OLD...oh the horrow. She all of a sudden stops and looks at me, and asks how long I nurse mine (I guess somehow, I look like a nursing Mama...which is fine by me) and I say...oh, at least 18 months. She says "oh, you do?" and I smile and nod. Maybe her daughter will get a little bit of a break from an unsupportive mother. Of course, looking back at the conversation, I wish I would have been more encouraging of the mother being supportive and helpful and not so critical. This Mommy gig is hard enough on its own, without unsupportive people berating us contstantly.
Anyway, it made me a little sad for the daughter. Sad that her mother isn't so helpful and sad that she hasn't realized the blessing to a home with well trained children. It also made me feel a bit better about how we are doing. Other peoples praise isn't the goal of our parenting, but it is nice to hear now and then. We aren't perfect, and our children aren't either, but we are pressing on.