I had a special experience the other day when I went to pick up my son at kindergarten [insert sarcasm here].
My 3-year-old suddenly turned into an out of control animal. We'd had a busy morning, I was feeling under the weather and wasn't as patient as normal, and I think she hadn't eaten enough and was just tired.
In any case, she went a bit crazy when it was time to walk across the parking lot to pick up my son in his kindergarten classroom. She cried the entire way across the parking lot and then refused to come into the gate of the school and just collapsed on the ground screaming and screaming. She also yelled some pretty rude things at me.
I was in a bit of a pickle because although I understood she was overwhelmed from our busy morning, I needed her to come with me to pick up her brother. I also realized that there was nothing I could do at that point to make her do anything. My hands were already full with my active 16-month-old and our stroller that doesn't work very well and she would not budge.
Parents kept stopping to ask if she was OK and touching her to see if she needed help as I stood a few feet away from her trying to get her brother from his class. Since she already has anxiety about strangers and people touching her this just caused her behavior to escalate further.
As I tried to figure out how to push my large 16-month-old in his broken stroller across the parking lot while also trying to carry my flailing and angry 3-year-old too... and make sure the 6-year-old didn't get hit by a car, I was stumped. I couldn't physically do it.
While all this was happening and I was trying to help my 3-year-old recover, a mom stopped me and said, "I've been there and you're doing a good job."
Despite the craziness of that little crisis moment with my daughter, the words from the kind mom at the school kept coming back to me for the rest of the day. She could've ignored my situation or said, "wow, you've got your hands full," or judged and thought "that's not how I would handle that" or "that lady needs to get her kid under control..." but instead she took a moment to empathize with me and give me a little pat on my back. I didn't feel like I was handling anything well or that I deserved that pat on my back, but her kind comment made me feel like I wasn't as lame of a mom as I thought I was.
This kind mom's attitude reminded me that I need to spend more time finding ways to support and empathize with parents that I see struggling with their kids. I often pass judgement too quickly.
I read a blog post yesterday that made me a little bit mad regarding how moms sometimes treat each other... both on the internet and in real life.
My little crisis and this blog post I read made me want to take a second to let those of you who read my blog know that you're doing a good job... whether you think you are or not.
Whether you work outside the home, stay at home, work inside the home, craft with your kids, hate crafting, have a clean house, have a messy house, let your kids watch TV, ban all TV, have piles of unfinished laundry, or always have laundry put away... whatever... you are awesome! You are trying to be better every day and I admire that you keep trying.
When I was younger I had a friend with special needs who always looked at life like it was so hard. Situations that she thought were hard seemed like nothing to me. I realized from a young age that every person has a unique perspective and until we are able to walk in their shoes (which isn't really possible), we will never fully understand how they feel.
So instead I learned to judge less and love more.
Moms that are struggling with mental health issues, challenging kids, or that are just having a bad week need love, not judgment.
I want to challenge you (and me) to find ways to support other moms (and parents overall) MORE and criticize LESS... both online and in real life.
I love the quote by Plato that says, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
We are often only able to see the outside facade of people's lives. We don't know their hearts or what is always happening inside their homes.
So for today, take a virtual hug from me and pass that virtual or physical hug along to someone who could use your love and support.
If you yourself don't feel like you're particularly awesome, remember that the little people in your homes are glad that YOU are their moms (dads, grandparents, teachers, caregivers, etc). They don't want anyone else.
Thanks so much for the many ways that you all show kindness to me daily through your comments and sharing of my blog posts and thoughtful notes you email me. I appreciate it as well! Have a great day!