About a month ago I was doing my mom thang by running errands with my kids. I was lucky enough to only have two on this day as my oldest was in school. I always try and get it done first thing in the morning after they have had a good breakfast and aren’t tired from the day. This is when I can get to at least 2 stores without any concerns.
Being a mom of three I get a lot of the same comments when I am out but the one that really gets under my skin is, “You sure do you have your hands full.” Why? Why is there a need to say that? Are you offering to help? Or just making a statement that you feel you need too? I usually just smile and nod but inside I’m screaming at that person. I digress.
This time, when I was out I got a new one. It took me off guard a little bit. I was standing in line to pay and my two that were with me were just quietly looking at all the toys and candy that they just happen to display right near the register, which is every parent’s damn nightmare. The woman in front of me turns and says, “Wow, your kids are so good.” I, of course, said thank you and she continued to stare in amazement at how well behaved my youngsters were.
The reason why this comment stayed with me was because strangers have no issues coming up to you and complimenting and talking to you when your children are “behaving” in a public place and especially a store. However, when your child is having a tantrum all people do is stare and judge the crap out of the kid and the mother. They STAND there with their glaring, judgy eyes like a deer in headlights. Not coming up and offering help or giving a gentle look that says, “I remember those days. You are doing a great job mama.”
Here is the thing people, children have good days and they have bad days. Just. Like. Us. The difference between adults and children, well most adults, is that children cannot process challenges like us. They are learning. Their brains are taking in emotions at record speed. Maybe they didn’t have a great sleep that night? Maybe they didn’t eat enough because it was a rushed morning? Maybe there are problems going on between mom and dad? Maybe they are coming down with a cold? There are plenty of maybe’s that they could be trying to navigate through.
Our job as caregivers is to HELP them navigate those emotions. It would be a heck of a lot easier to do if we didn’t have all these eyes glaring at us. That is when WE get flustered. When WE start to get angry with them instead of giving them the grace and compassion they truly need in that moment.
If that lady could have seen my two in the next two stores where one threw a fit and laid down on the ground because he couldn’t have a treat, would she still have stared at them as precious as she did in the store beforehand? Or would they and me have gotten the condemnation eyes?
For now, I try my best to block out all the eyes when something like this happens with my children when we are out shopping. It doesn’t always work, I let them get to me at times but I am learning more and more not to give a crap. To focus on nurturing my children and getting to the route of what is happening inside. If that means I get down on the floor with them and hold them, then that is what I am going to do. Judge all you want but YOU DO NOT MATTER, my child and their heart is what matters.
It truly boggles my mind how ignorant people are when it comes to children. Conversations need to change. Minds and hearts need to be turned to more compassion. To the women who said my kids are so good, thank you, yes they are. Even when society deems them “bad” they are still good!