Yesterday I realized that while in the privacy of my own home I may feel like a fairly confident momma who knows her stuff, I have yet to establish quite enough self confidence in a public arena. We had a play date at the park with some friends. This is typically fun for both of us, but as the Tot gets bigger, he tends to venture further and further out of our play group. In this case he was meandering all over the playground exploring and I found myself repeated in situations where I felt the need to apologize to the other parent. "I am so sorry, he thinks that ball is his." "He takes his time on the stairs, sorry." "Sorry, he doesn't really understand sharing yet." "Sorry, he's an only child, can you tell?" Every apology was met with a "It's fine! Don't worry about it!" or a knowing smile and nod.
I don't know why I kept apologizing to the other parents. I mean, after all, he's not even two years old, so what can they expect, right? I guess I was more concerned of what they would think of me. Were they thinking I was not a good parent because my child took the ball from another child? Or because he wanders up to total strangers and tries to drink from their cups? Driving home I was cringing to myself. Not about the Tot's behavior but about my own. I felt embarrassed that I was so compelled to apologize when he wasn't really doing anything wrong in most instances, and I didn't want him to feel like he was. I guess I am still adjusting to parenting in front of others. I am always worried about scrutiny and whether I am doing a good job. In retrospect, it doesn't matter if total strangers think I am doing a good job. It really only matters what I think and what my son thinks. And, okay,on some occasions - what the Husband thinks.