Being the parent of a young child, I often keep an eye out for ways to make sense of my experience as a parent. I am sure as my children get older, the issues will change and I will continue to seek out articles, conversations, comics, etc. that speak thoughtfully to similar experiences. Not too long ago, I came across an hysterical clip of Michael McIntyre’s stand-up comedy sketch exploring the differences between couples who have children and those who do not (see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/18/michael-mcintyre-people-with-no-kids-dont-know_n_4295847.html). I was in stitches over it, purely because it rang true. When showing the clip to a family member who did not yet have children, she wondered why I thought it was so funny.
It made me realize that differences in perspective really affect how we experience the world. It also makes me realize that, despite a formal education and years of professional experience, it is important to understand peoples’ perspectives in order to understand their experiences and behaviors. Being a parent is hard work! Although it would be easy to disagree with another parents’ actions, it is always important to remember that previous experiences and current context play huge roles in how we act as parents. Thus, before you look in contempt at a person who doesn’t seem to have a handle on his or her child, remember that it would be very easy to find yourself in the same situation. If you find yourself in a ridiculous situation with your own child, remember that there are others who have been in your shoes and some people who have even made a career out of poking fun of the reality of being a parent of a young child.