Today as I was standing in line to return something at Target, my four year old son was displaying his displeasure at having to be there by misbehaving a bit.
Don’t you just love it when all you want to do is run a quick errand and end up standing in line with a cranky kid? Nothing brightens a day more than having to correct your child in public and watch them unravel right before your eyes.
It seems that when your child is acting up in a public place you feel like everyone is looking at you with their cold, steely eyes and whispering their disapproval of your mothering skills behind your back.
You shake it off, knowing that you are overreacting and they probably don’t even notice. Yes, I know that what others think is none of my business and most of the time I don’t even care what others think. It’s just that when it’s your kid that’s acting up you feel like you’re the only one with a misbehaving child. You know it’s a ridiculous thought, but it’s a feeling that just kind of comes over you as if someone was pouring hot goo over your head.
My son wasn’t acting too badly, but I did have to put him into time out for a short time to get him to settle. As he gave me his mean eyes look from his time out spot, the woman in front of me chuckled and said her six year old son gives her the same look.
Instantly I felt this sense of relief as if the store’s doors flew open and a warm ocean breeze hit my face. This nice woman went on to say she had four boys and they all did this and seeing my son do the same made her laugh a little bit as she thought of her own boys.
I thanked her for sharing that thought with me as sometimes you think you are the only one. She laughed and told me something I already knew, but so desperately needed to hear and that is, “Nah, they all do that.”
Those few little words carry so much meaning to a mom in the thick of correcting their child. We all know this to be true and we all know our children don’t act like this all the time. We also all know that every parent has to take their turn with the misbehaving child in public. It just always seems to be your turn at the worst possible moment, doesn’t it?
I loved the fact that this woman didn’t judge me, she remembered her times in the spotlight and offered some kind words and few laughs to make this mom feel a little better.
It’s a good thing she did because 5 minutes later as I was walking out through the store I heard another mom criticize the way my son was looking at her young daughter. Neither child was looking where they were going and came close to running into each other, they didn’t, but my son did turn to look at her is all. This mother made a snide comment and I ignored it. I chose to concentrate on what the nice mom said and I’m so glad I did.
I put my arm around my son and we walked out with our heads held up high for all the cameras to see.
So the next time you see a mom in the thick of a parenting moment in public, go up and tell her that your kids does or did the same thing at that age and smile. It may be the nicest thing you do all day.