I need to make a confession … I am an advice-giver. I have six kids, and I am constantly telling them what to do. Wait, let me rephrase that—I am forever telling them what not to do. (By the way, you really shouldn’t be sitting so close to your computer. And be sure to dim the brightness on your screen, especially if you have blue or green eyes. Those of us with light eyes really can’t handle too much contrast). See, it’s uncontrollable. It’s as if the mom in me has taken over. I am an unsolicited advice-giver, probably because I have been parenting for so long and thus, have seen just about everything. But then, on Saturday, I opened my mouth, and was shocked at what came out. I was at a coffee shop with one of my daughters and her friend, thinking that coffee shops should offer whole cream instead of just half & half. You know how the mind wanders… Suddenly, a little girl started screaming and yanking on her brother, and of course everyone in the coffee shop turned to watch. I forgot all about my creamer quandary as I also turned to look at the “screamer’s” mom… She spoke gently to her children, and then ordered her coffee. She was remarkably calm, which impressed me, as I for sure would have lost it. However, although the girl settled, the restored peace was fleeting, as moments later the kids started acting up again. The mom immediately responded: “We need to go home now as you are not able to be here and behave at the same time.” Then she calmly ushered them towards the door. That’s when I opened my mouth; and what I said astounded me: “You handled that really well.” (This was immediately followed by the thought: Holy crap! Who am I? Did I just refrain from giving advice?) The mom replied with a pained smile and said, “I only look calm on the outside.” I laughed, told her I was impressed, and commended her on doing a great job; to which she thanked me, smiled and calmly left. Here’s the point: I'm not likely to stop giving unsolicited advice to everyone, but when it comes to other parents, I intend to make notice of great parenting. I realize that I can grow from others and have moments of clarity. I’m learning to quiet the inside voices and replace them with voices that dole out compliments. Slowly, I am working to exude more and more positive energy. We all have rough days and rough moments as parents. Our kids have all acted out and embarrassed us. And sure, sometimes (maybe more than we like) we don’t handle it well. But much of the time, we do. And, most of the time, it goes unnoticed. But as a community of parents, we can change that. When it comes to parenting, they say the days are long but the years are short. I think the long days could be a lot easier if we parents pulled together as a population of people who support one another. And I am sure, many of you already do. So I for one, am on the lookout for coffee- shop moms. And someday, I hope someone tells me I’m doing a great job. What do you think? I’d love to hear your stories. Do you find it easier to judge other parents? Or do you sympathize? Empathize? Please leave your thoughts on my blog. Sincerely, Jennifer Adams Bunkers, mom of 6 and CEO/Founder of TruKid * Of course, if you want my advice, I’ll be happy to hand it out—especially when it comes to healthy, natural skin and sun care for your kids. You can leave your questions on my blog, and I’ll answer them.