I have a screamer. No, not my husband. My son is a screamer, everywhere and all the time. Well, maybe not all the time, but definitely when he can’t convey his feelings. He’s a few months shy of two-years-old so he has a hard time conveying his feelings a lot. It’s my second time around at this whole motherhood gig, so you’d think I know how to handle it by now, but I don’t.
A few months ago we went to Disneyland with our four-year-old and one-and-a-half-year-old. The little guy had the hardest time understanding why he had to wait in line for twenty minutes to see Goofy and only get 60 seconds with him, so he voiced his frustrations by screaming. I tried whatever I could to calm him down, shushed him, rocked him back and forth, walked around. Nothing worked. The lady in line behind me called over a cast member and put her fingers to her temple. She told him she’d rather shoot herself than listen to my son. I turned around and shot her a look. You know the look. But I didn’t dare say anything because my glasses were hiding the fact that tears were threatening to roll down my face. I wanted to ask Judgy McJudgerson why she, a grown adult, was in line to see Goofy with no children to be seen. But then I would be Judgy McJudgerson II and all I really wanted to do was melt away at that moment.
After Bubbs got his 60 seconds with Goofy, we made a beeline for my husband and daughter. Then the ugly cry made its way to the surface. I was disappointed in myself for letting her get to me. I was supposed to stand up for myself and for my son, but instead I cried. It was a long and trying day with a teething, irrational toddler. I already felt like I was failing, I didn’t need a stranger to confirm my insecurities.
I can continue to share stories about mom-shaming…I’ve got plenty. Seriously, I gave that woman and women like her far too much attention and mental space to begin with. Instead, let’s high five some awesome unicorn moms; the ones who are compassionate and cheer each other on during a success and offer kind words when the going gets tough.
Thank you to the mom who helped me unload my groceries at the checkout stand and even had her young boys help. I was a brand new mama, making my first trip to the grocery store alone. I was wearing my sleeping baby and she didn’t want me to wake her. She said it was good for her sons to learn help others at a young age. Her kindness made me realize how a small act can be so big to someone else.
Thank you to the mom who offered kind words when my daughter pulled my hair and hit me when I was trying to get her to leave gymnastics. The sweet mama, whom I had never met, came up to me and placed her hand on my arm and said, “You are doing a good job.” She then showed me a bruise on her hand from her daughter biting her the day before. It was a show of solidarity. I felt a little less alone and it was exactly what I needed to hear.
Thank you to the mom who got up and offered to help clear our table at a local deli. She said her kids were in college and she still remembered how hard it was to keep an eye on the kids and do something as simple as throw trash away.
Thank you to the mom who overheard my conversations with my daughter in a public restroom about her very real fear of hand dryers. She yelled from over the stall that she would stand guard and not let anyone use it while my daughter was in the restroom. That was just the pep talk she needed and I wish she could have seen the look of relief on my daughter’s face (and on mine).
Thank you to the mommy friends who get it and get me. The ones who offer to take my kids for a little when I am at my breaking point. The ones who offer advice and make me feel better that I’m am not going through whatever crazy thing is happening alone (swinging on the bed canopy and breaking the chandelier? Anyone?).
These acts of kindness are not expected, but they are truly appreciated when they happen. They’ve made me look around more to see how I can help. They’ve made me recognize the amazing community of unicorn mothers around me.
So this isn’t about those Judgy McJudgersons. It’s about you awesomely amazing unicorn mamas who support one another. It’s about your mom tribe who offers a hug and a “keep your head up” when you are dealing with terrible twos, threenager tantrums or ef*%ng fours. Look around, your village of mamas surrounds you…some are strangers, some are not.
Thank you to you amazing mamas! And you better believe I’m paying this forward with every opportunity that is presented.