Usually we judge the children by what we think of the parents.
They’re a nice family. I bet he’s a nice boy too.
We make assumptions about what the kids will be like by forming our views on their family.
That mum is a bit pushy. I am sure the daughter is highly strung.
Have you seen how the father acts? Imagine what the twins are like…
Oh, we all claim not to, but come on, judging is human nature. We all do it.
But, I did the opposite.
I judged a mother by what I thought of her daughter. And it turns out, I was wrong.
I am used to boys. Boys I do well. Some types of girls - except my own daughter - not so well.
And there is one girl that I simply didn’t do well at all.
She is at school with my son. A girl with one of those personalities.
A rule enforcer.
"Your son was late in from recess today," she would inform me in the playground.
"And he got in trouble for talking in class."
"Your son pushed in the line," she would announce as I said goodbye at drop off.
"Your son forgot his show and tell."
But it wasn't just him she was intend on
dobbing on informing me about.
It's not sports day. Your children are wearing the wrong uniform. Sports day is Wednesday.
Your baby isn't wearing a hat, she will get burnt you know.
Your son had chocolate biscuits in his lunch box. We aren’t allowed junk food at school.
And on and on and on.
I try to like all children.
I grit my back teeth and smile.
I swat away my feelings.
Think happy thoughts. Think happy thoughts. She’s only a child. Think happy thoughts.
But between you and me, she was a pain in the arse.
A right royal pain in the arse.
And so as we humans tend to do without really meaning to, I made assumptions about her mother based on her.
We were kind of in the same social circles – as social as school circles get. I never went out of my way to befriend her. I was afraid of hearing echoes of the daughter.
I always wondered what others saw in her.
"You know you aren’t meant to drop them at the gate," I could imagine being told. "You know they really should wear podiatry-approved shoes."
I kept at arms length and quietly wondered why so many of my friends spent so much time with her.
I smiled and passed by making sure my clothes were straight and my bra strap wasn't poking out. I had this whole image of her in my head: a grown up, more polished version of her daughter, complete with smooth hair and the ability to walk really really fast to school in heels without once stumbling on the pavement. (Something I have never mastered.)
She was NOT MY TYPE AT ALL I decided.
And then we were thrown together on one of those school occasions that you just can’t back out of.
I was dreading it.
There we were at the second hand uniform sale. I was terrified I would step a foot wrong and be corrected. I was terrified I would be judged.
When all the while I was judging her.
Without boring you with the details of our hours stuck under a mountain of mildewed clothes tangy with the scent of wet wool, I will simply say I was wrong.
This laid back take-me-as-you-will mother is now one of my closest friends.
I am still afraid of stepping a foot wrong around her daughter – but she doesn’t know that.
We even now have playdates. Post continues after video.
What this whole silly saga showed me was that, as parents, we still have a thing or two to learn. That while it is hard to stop judging others, it is never too late to make good friends.
Have you ever made a good friend through unusual circumstances?