That time another mom laughed at me

Princess Peach’s school dismisses the Kindergarten students at 3:20PM which is 10 minutes before the rest of the students at the school. Right after dismissal Princess Peach likes to play around in the school yard and we often make our way over to the playground so Princess Peach can play with her friends. But, a few weeks ago we couldn’t do that as I had to pick up Little Dude from daycare earlier than usual.

My So-Called Mommy Life

When I got to Princess Peach’s dismissal door, I let her know the plan. She could play for a few minutes in the school yard but then we would have to leave. You can imagine, that she wasn’t too pleased to hear that her afterschool playtime would be cut short. She played hopscotch with her friends, played hide-and-seek and then I gave her a warning that she had a few more minutes to play. She then played some other game and then I told her it was time to go and then it came.

Her screams. Her yelling. Her threats. The foot stomping. The evil glares.

And she’s only 5 years old!

With my behavioural therapy background, I try to ignore her empty threats, and screams and walk towards the car, with an angry Princess Peach in tow. As I go to open the car door to put her into the car, another mom walks by with her older sons and giggles as she walks by me.

And then she stopped. Turned around. Our eyes met as I was struggling with an unhappy child.

She says “Sorry for laughing. I’ve been there”. She was offering support. She wasn’t laughing at us, she was laughing because she understood. She was laughing because she’s been there. That laugh made me feel like I wasn’t alone.

I finally got Princess Peach calm, into the car and buckled her up in her car seat. We drove to get Little Dude at daycare and as the three of us were on our way back to our car, there was a mom whose daughter was laying on the sidewalk. She was trying to negotiate with her daughter, and trying to gently coax her into her car because her time at daycare for the day was over.

I gave her a look. One of compassion and one that said “I’ve been there’ even though I didn’t say anything.

Right away she says to me “I guess you’ve been here before?”.

I laughed. And replied “so many times. You have no idea what I dealt with on the way here. Good luck”.

And I walked away with my kids towards the car thinking it takes a village to raise kids.

I’ll never forget the first time I heard that “it takes a village to raise a child”. My family and I were in our van driving to Florida for a family trip and we loved to listen to books-on-tape. For whatever reason, my mom took out Hillary Clinton’s book called It Takes A village: A Other Lessons Children Teach Us. I must have been 15 years old at the time, but I’ll never forget listening to how important that village was to Bill and Hillary when Chelsea was born.

It would have been so easy for me to have been judged by that mom watching me with Princess Peach as it would have been as easy for me to judge the mom with her child sprawled ont he ground. But instead, there was no judgement.

IMG_6961

Parenting is so hard. Everyone thinks that the way they parent is the best way. Sure, the way you parent your child is the right way for you and the way I parent my child is the right way for me. But, as parents it’s so much easier to judge a parents decisions, comments, actions. It is so much easier to pick apart a parents every little step rather than offer a helpful comment, a look of compassion and some help. There are so many times when my kids are behaving poorly and screaming at me, that I feel judged by those parents around me. All the thoughts running through my head are “why is it only my kid acting like this?” and “this is mortifying!” Within 30 minutes on Friday I was on the receiving end and giving end of that compassion that we, parents need so much. We each need to find our village who is going to pick us up, help us out and provide an outlet and support when needed. But, we all need to remember that we are all doing the best that we can and those parents have similar moments with their kids too.

So next time you see a mom sweating trying to calm down a tantruming child, or a mom trying to get her child off the dirty ground, don’t cast judgement. Make eye contact with them and smile. Show them you get it and that you’ve been there too. Because, parenting is by far the hardest job you will ever have in this world, but the most important.

Comments

  1. mom2michael says:

    Love this post. We’re all in this together, and support is the way to go. What I struggle with is – should I offer a hand, or will the other mom think I’m judging her ability to handle it all?

    • mscmommylife says:

      I usually offer a hand by way of making a friendly comment. If the mom is responsive I will help out. If I get a look or she hardly acknowledges me then I back away

Leave a Reply