It happened to me again the other day. I was in a store with both my preschoolers and they were in yet another argument with each other and with me. Someone was accusing someone else of doing something that “I don’t wike, Mommy!!”. One was shrieking and the other was bawling. We had reached this point after a series of the “I want”s on each aisle, followed by long and involved sessions of “what is that, Mommy?”s. Worst of all, I had run out of snack
I found myself begging and pleading “Just five more minutes, guys! I know you are unhappy, I AM UNHAPPY TOO! All we need is to get some dinner. Just let mommy read this label super fast, OK? Just really fast!”. After several rounds of this, I was proceeding right on to the threat of punishment if anyone did anything, any more!
And what always happens at that very moment? A sweet, grandmotherly lady or a chic woman my age without kids in tow happens down the aisle and gives me THE LOOK. You might know it? The one that says, “Oh, my child(ren) never did that/never do that. You are a horrible, horrible mother”.
Whether the person giving me that look actually had or has children of their own, and whether or not that person’s children have always been perfect angels in the store, no one can know for sure. I think we can all agree who is in the wrong here. Let’s not talk about that.
Instead, let’s talk about not being that person. Oh, I know now that we are all in the trenches of little-dom, we believe that we will never be the person who gives another mother the “you are a bad person” look. And hopefully, we are right. But what if we take it a step further than just refraining from being mean? What if, instead, we choose to encourage each other?
There have been a few instances when that other person coming down the aisle has smiled at me. When she has not only tolerated my children’s insane behavior, but also picked up a toy they’ve thrown and handed it back. When she has actually said something to me like “You’re one good mum”. Did that ever turn around my day! Somehow, verbalizing that I might be reaching my goal (to be a good mum!), even when things seem crazy, helps me feel so refreshed and ready to try again.
So I thought I’d just throw an idea out there today: who can you find to encourage? It might not be today, and maybe you won’t be shopping alone for months. But when you are, if you run across another mom in our shoes, how about we all remember to say: “Hey, you’re one good mum!”