Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Every Mom has a Breaking Point: Part Two

I saw a mom in Target the other day. She was down the aisle from me trying to pick out some body wash. She had two kids with her and she was hanging on by a thread. Her toddler was crying. The (maybe) seven year old was touching everything in sight. “Stop it!” she snapped.

Another woman in the aisle with us shook her head disapprovingly.

Me? I wanted to hug that frazzled mom. I wanted to hug her and tell her, “We’re not perfect. You’re having a bad day. It’s okay. Let’s go get an Icee.” I should have, but I didn’t. She hurried away clearly having lost it, feeling the daggers from the other woman in the aisle.

A couple years ago I would have been that other woman in the aisle. Easily.

But then I was judged and was called a bad mom and that reeled me in hardcore.

Try not to judge
I’m tired of that judgmental reaction so perfectly displayed by the woman in Target. I’m tired of the lack of compassion I see. I used to make many judgments of moms. Before I became a mom. After I became a mom.

I saw parents with their kids on leashes and thought that was horrible. Now I know better.

“Oh their parents need to just teach them that’s not okay!” I’ve heard other moms say.

Oh it’s as simple as that is it? That kid on a leash might be a “runner.” They might be autistic or have impulse control issues. That leash might save them from running into the street and getting hit by a car. It might save them from getting lost in the crowd. Do not judge. Don’t rush to blame parents for their kid’s behavior. It may not necessarily be their fault.

Be kind
There are quotes flying around facebook: “You can be right or be kind. If you choose to be kind, you will always be right.” and “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I don’t care who thinks it’s cheesy. It is gospel. We tear each other down. Let’s stop. Be kind.

Think: What if it was me?
I hear a lot of, “That would NEVER happen to me.” “I would NEVER do that.” I call bullshit. You don’t KNOW. I saw a horrific story about parents who had left their kids in the backseat accidentally and their children died from the heat. And you know how many comments were, “I would NEVER do that!” ?  Most of them and that broke my heart. You don’t KNOW. But these parents who thought their children were somewhere safe are now raising awareness to the fact that things like this can happen to anyone.

Please just take a second to think when you feel that rush to judgment: What if it was me?

We make mistakes. Sometimes huge ones. We have to forgive each other and ourselves.

Have tolerance.
We parents, for the most part, are doing the best we can. Things aren’t going to go right all the time. The parents shoveling down their dinner while their newborn baby is crying hysterically in the restaurant? Be tolerant. Remember when that was you? This might be the only time they get out of the house this week.

It takes a village.
Yes. More cheesy-ness! Bring it on. We’re all in this together. Why do you think there are so many mom blogs? We want to feel less alone. All this judgment isolates us. That is not what we need. As mothers. As people. In this world of billions we can’t try to claim our own little corner and want to be better then everyone else. We’re in this together and that’s nice isn’t it? And if you are judgmental, I hope you’re don’t think I’m judging you. We all have reasons why we do the things we do. Anyone can change. Maybe next time you see that mom or dad struggling with their kids in the grocery store, offer up a little compassion (even if it’s silently). It makes all the difference. It can turn it all around. Not to mention, you’re kids soak up everything you do. If you are kind, they will be. It’s win-win, when you’re nice it feels good. Try it, lady-in-the-aisle-at-Target.

Here is a link to part of one this blog first published on Mamiverse:

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