I really wish that mothers could have some sort of hand signal. You know, like Harley riders. You don't have to know who the hell is on the other bike, but driving past each other on the street they lower their closest arm and display 1-5 fingers in a, I'm way too cool to wave and smile so this slightly hidden hand gesture and head nod will be the way we recognize each other in this made up club we entered into. and all we had to do was buy these bikes.
Now I realize that mothers probably couldn't have a hand signal....because usually our hands are busy. but why can't we smile in an accepting and compassionate way to other moms.
Why is it that when I see another mother struggling with her children in the store and I try to make eye contact to exchange an understanding smile the mother looks away with feelings of judgment and exhaustion on her face. It's because she KNOWS that she's being judged. That it doesn't matter how many noses she's wiped, nights she's sat up, throw up she's cleaned up, stories she's read.....this one tantrum in the check out line is what she's being measured by.
I have witnessed mothers giving looks of disgust and condemning eye rolls to other mothers struggling with their kids. I have noticed it a lot lately.
Why ? What the hell people.
We all know that this job is the hardest job in the ENTIRE world. Why would we want to discourage someone else ? Why not take that moment to send a little ENcouragement. empathetic recognition. even if your kids are perfect. help someone else feel like less of a failure.
Why is it that when someone sees another child reacting terrible in public, other mothers immediately start criticizing how the mother of said child is handling the situation.
We've all done it.
I remember standing in a HOT long line at Lagoon (amusement park) and the couple in front of me had a 4 year old child who was first running around and being crazy. He wasn't standing RIGHT there STILL and QUIET. Something I cannot comprehend expecting a 4 year old child probably wound up on sugar and excitement from the park to do in the first place. After being made to stand STILL he started throwing a fit. and I watched how the parents handled it. poorly. it became a shouting match and a control issue. threats followed with eye glaring killer looks and by the time we got on the ride....nobody was having fun.
I sat there with furrowed brow each time the mother spoke to him. Each time the father grabbed his arm too tight. I judged them. because I was on the outside and was able to see what was going on. I could see the solution was an easy one.
That's because I could see it clearly. my mind wasn't clouded with embarrassment. I hadn't been dealing with an overly tired kid who needed a nap more than he needed cotton candy.
Guess what though. I've been that mom TOO many times. The one who is also hot and needs a nap. The one who's blood sugar plummets and who had held it together for 3 days UNDERSTANDING that kids get over stimulated and hungry and hot.
I remember our last day at The Magic Kingdom and Sydney completely LOST it outside of Monsters Inc. Absolutely LOST it.
She threw a 3 year old tantrum of monumental proportions. She was hitting Jan. She was yelling things like I hate you. I hate this place. Leave me alone. etc. etc. and we're talking people in Animal Kingdom could hear her.
I felt the eyes glaring. I panicked. My blood pressure shot out of the top of my head because I too was tired and hot and my feet hurt and I hadn't eaten and PLEASE don't embarrass me in front of all of these people.
I passed her off to J when I felt that the only way to control her was to get physical which wasn't going to help the situation at all.
I stood back and looked on as the other mothers watched with furrowed brow because they had the solution. they had the easy answers. It was like bubbles were popping out of the tops of their heads. That child needs a good spanking. Time out....hellooooo. I can't believe you let her talk to you like that. I wonder if there's something wrong with her. She just needs a hug.
She eventually calmed down. We won't ever see those people again. And for the most part....I've been able to remind myself in moments like this....that I love my kids and I'm trying my hardest and they'll be ok.
The point is.....remember that we are all struggling. That we all want the same thing.....for our kids. You know, to sit happily and quietly reading college prep books on world peace while eating their broccoli 14 hrs a day. :)
Next time you are faced with a screaming child in line at the grocery store or witnessing a melt down at the mall......if you can't lower your arm and gesture. at least smile and nod. vroom vroom. we're all in this together moms. and I want you to know that I'm on your side.