Being in public brings out the good parent in us. We yell less, and are more patient. In an effort to be the mom I know I should be, I am going to parent like somebody's watching.

We've all been there. We're at a store, a restaurant or a park and we see a child being harshly disciplined by his or her parent. As much as we would not like to admit it, we often look at that parent with a judging eye and think, "I would never act that way – in public." We look at these parents as if there is something wrong with them when the reality is we have acted very similarly, if not exactly, that way toward our children in the comfort of our own home. We have yelled at our children, said things we shouldn't or even grabbed tightly onto an arm or given a little swat on the behind in frustration. However, these are things that we would not even think about doing in a public setting. When in a public setting we find ourselves smiling at and even consoling our child who just spilled his third cup of chocolate milk all over the table, though, when at home, we may not be as kind. We find a calmer, more effective way of disciplining misbehaving kids when a screaming match and a slammed door would surely be the case had it happened within the confines of our own home. Why is this? Is it because we want others to see us as good parents? Is it because we know we shouldn't act this way toward our children? To both of these questions, the answer is, yes. We don't want to show our "other side," and we do know better. The other day, in fact, I was in the backyard with my kids when two of them began arguing which quickly turned into a physical altercation. Having had a bit of a rough week with these two children not getting along I was fed up with it. I was just about to let the two of them know what I thought, and it was probably going to end with all three of us crying. Yes, it was one of those days. However, just as I was about to let some (not-so-nice) words fly out of my mouth, I heard a noise coming from the yard next to mine. It was my neighbor out doing some yard work. Not wanting her to hear the words that were about to come out of my mouth, I decided to change my approach. I took a deep breath, calmly walked toward them, got down on their level and spoke with them in a direct, yet controlled manner about what just happened and how to fix it. Not surprisingly, the situation was quickly ironed out with everyone playing and getting along, and with me feeling like a champ for not losing my cool. That feeling of triumph quickly dissipated when I realized that had my neighbor not been there I would have made a poor parenting choice. Furthermore, it was due to her being there that things were going as smoothly as they were. At that moment the thought occurred to me that this was the way I needed to parent all the time, and that it shouldn't take me being watched to bring out the "good mom." But, I would need a little help to get the hang of it. I have decided to challenge myself to parent as if someone were watching me. I'm not sure how long it will take for it to become second nature, but I am determined to do better. After all, I am a good mom and I know better than to lose my cool.%3Cimg%20src%3D%22http%3A//