Today the kids and I went to our local YMCA for tot skate (kids under 5 can bring, scooter, bikes, push toys, etc to the skating rin
k.) We met some friends and everyone was having a great time; there were a few minor squabbles over toys but you expect that in a room with 40 kids. My friend Mary was there with her 3 children and her 2 older girls started fighting over a bike. After a few minutes words turned into to punches and kick and Mary had to scope them up and take them out of the rick to cool down. That situation doesn’t surprise me in the least, not because Mary is a crappy parent but because kids fight… they just do. After a few minutes Mary and her older daughter came back and the middle girl choose to sit by the wall because she still needed a few minutes to cool down. Mary was a little embarrassed and we all reassured her that we had been there before (many, many, many, times but that is another story.) I seemingly friend older woman approached us and asked why the little girl was crying and why she was sitting by the wall so Mary explained. The seemingly nice older lady proceeded to tell us that “I would never allow that whooping, and you should take her to the bathroom and spank her.” There was a moment of What the hell just happened here? Followed by Who the hell are you? Then I think I might go to jail for punching an old lady! (I did not punch an old lady, relax.)
The lady walked away and the rest of what happened really isn’t important, but here is what is important: Why do we as mothers always have to one up each other? Why do we find the need to point out flaws or tell people how we would do it better? Why when we see another mom struggling with a screaming child do we think to ourselves “So glad that isn’t me” instead of “What can I do to help?” Really sometimes just an understanding look can make a frustrating parenting situation so much more tolerable.
Just last year Gabe went through a terrible phase of screaming and running away from me when it was time to leave and not amount of warnings or bribing would work. I would trying to grab him and whisper in his sweet little face “Please come with mommy and we can have a snack in the car,” he didn’t care. One day I had enough, with Liv strapped in her infant seat and diaper bag on my back I scoped Gabe up under my arm and hauled him out of the gym kicking and screaming. As I walked through the lobby I got a few looks, most were not so pleasant, a few tried to crack a smile, and some would turn away quickly. As I approached the door I tried to figure out how on earth I was going to get it open and make it all the way to the car without dropping someone. Out of the blue a man walked over and I recognized him as a dad from Gabe’s gym class. He smiled and said “Looks like you have your hands full.” He open the door for me then asked if he could help me to my car. All of that was awesome and a huge help, but what happened next almost brought me to tears. After they were loaded in I turned to thank him and he said “No problem, I have been there. It sucks, but it will get better.” He was so right, it was so simple, and it was just what I needed to hear. After that day I have tried every chance I get to notice another mom doing her best and smile at her, give her a hand, or simple tell her “I have been there too, it gets better.”