As was previously published in Island Parent Magazine.
Don’t dare brag about your child.
Or tell someone they’re sleeping well.
Better yet, don’t share with that other mom in the grocery store lineup they haven’t started having tantrums yet.
There seems to be an unwritten rule in the parenting world about these kinds of conversations.
If you haven’t figured out why yet, you must keep reading.
Because, and it’s rather unfortunate, there’s some kind of watch guard (hanging out in the universe somewhere at a safe distance, but close enough) waiting for slipups like that.
It loves to bite parents in the butt.
I’ve been thinking about this because I’ve had a few bites before (ouch!), quite a lot actually so far in my parenting career.
I also had a friend who I think recently experienced this.
Just when you think you have all the bases covered or you’ve mastered one of many aspects child wrangling involves, a malfunctioning behavior, awful sleep pattern or safety concern, something else will emerge.
And it happens all the time to the best of us.
But why? What’s so wrong with bragging about a good day? Saying you’re feeling rested, or telling someone you’ve overcome Billy’s biting problem? Why can’t we be proud and positive without this kind of punishment?
Can’t we just be happy? Apparently, not too happy.
So what’s going on in the universe?
I’m a firm believer in Karma in general, and was even before I had children.
Thanks to Wikipedia’s definition, it’s translated as a word that means action, work or deed.
“It also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering.”
But Karma doesn’t quite fit the scenarios I’m referring to, unless you declared your child sleeps wonderful just out of spite to your over-tired friend and well, that’s just cruel.
You deserve the bad Karma you receive.
What about Murphy’s Law? Essentially, it’s an adage that lives by the theory “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong at the worst possible moment.”
Makes sense especially when it comes to parenting, right?
But doesn’t quite fit either.
Whatever it is, I believe it’s simply the universe disciplining us parents in order to keep our egos in check. Also to remind us to be more humble.
Maybe it’s also a lesson never to judge anyone else’s parenting style.
Also a reminder with children the saying, there’s “never a dull moment,” as my dad always reminds me, is very true.
I know any time I’ve ever had negative thoughts about another parent’s choice and especially if I’ve voiced them, it tends to backfire.
However, I always pick up on it. I recognize the moment and then staring up to the watch guard up there smirk and acknowledge I totally deserved that.
Over the years, I’ve learned when I’m particularly happy about an accomplishment of ours, a milestone or good feeling, I will share that positivity without fear but usually with a disclaimer.
It goes something a little like this: “Wow, I feel like I have so much energy today, both kids are sleeping better at night. Jack’s stopped having his nightmares. However, that could change any day.”
I don’t jinx myself.
Try not to get on my high horse.
I knock on woods lots.
But also try not to sound like a debbie downer.
There’s a fine line.