While checking out at Target last week, Little Man was secured in the cart, chattering cheerily, while the girls buzzed about, keeping a reasonable radius. A pair of middle-aged women behind me in line, apparently aghast that my kids were not nearly catatonic enough, grumbled, groaned, and guffawed, and openly ridiculed my parenting with unwarranted hostility. I was aghast, and frankly felt bullied.*
Conversely, at the post office yesterday my youngest unleashed alllllll of his back-logged rebellion, behaving horrendously– willfully defiant. Every ounce of patience mustered, I struggled to remain sane, rational, and calm versus being swept up in the tornado of his feral misconduct. I bribed, reasoned, redirected, and apologized, all the while working feverishly to address my packages and get the heck outta Dodge. I mused aloud that these are the precise circumstances wherein moms are prone to leave their offspring in the car and subsequently receive reprimand from law-enforcement.
Keenly aware of the many eyeballs affixed on me & mine, I mentally braced myself when another middle-aged woman shouldered up to say something. Assuming another verbal lashing was imminent, she surprised me… Instead, she looked me in the tired eyes and gifted me with the following: “You’re a good mom.”
Cue the waterworks. Simultaneously touched and embarrassed, I made some dismissive joke about being precariously under-caffeinated. She gently reminded me (not condescendingly) that one day I would miss these days– that SHE does. Uffda.
She didn’t actually know if I’m indeed a good mom or not, but she made a conscious choice to bless and encourage versus brashly scrutinize. I hope to be that kind of woman some day.
*Long after the fact I came up with numerous witty comebacks all to the effect that menopause does not seem to agree with some people, mentally offering snark-laden condolences for their woeful lack of estrogen, and other not-so-Christlike-retaliation. It’s certainly for the best that I was dumbfounded when it all transpired.