Today’s post is about an event that happened over a month ago. I wasn’t going to write about it, but then it’s one of those moments that keeps coming back to me. Every time I think about it, it bothers me more. It was one of those moments as a Mom that I will never forget, for multiple reasons. Let me explain…
Brian was out-of-town. McKenzie and I went to dinner to celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday. After dinner, we headed to a local creamery to have ice cream. After waiting in line for over 30 minutes, we finally had our ice cream and were able to sit down outside at a picnic table. Thank goodness for McKenzie’s grandfather, who kept her occupied the entire time we waited in line. You know how patient toddlers can be!
McKenzie made her rounds at the table, taking a little bite of everyone’s ice cream. Initially, she walked around to everyone for a bite. Then she sat on the table in front of me for some time. Eventually, McKenzie scooted to the center of the table, to be the center of attention, naturally! She stood up on the table, but was surrounded by all of our family. She wasn’t in danger. She wasn’t hurting anyone. We were at a picnic table outside.
That’s when it started…the judging. There was another curious toddler nearby, who instantly zoned in on McKenzie. She was older than McKenzie (maybe 3 or 4) and wanted nothing more than to come over and talk to her. She kept pointing to her and attempting to walk over. As she pointed, we could hear the mother say, “Yes, I see her. I don’t know why she’s standing on the table. We don’t stand on tables. I don’t know why her Mommy is letting her.” OK…that was the start of it. I understand at some point, I too will be in a position to have to explain some unwanted behavior of another child to McKenzie. I didn’t fault the Mom for this. It was more of how she was going about it. Either way, I was ready to let it go! It didn’t really blip my radar.
Then the little girl proceeded to come right over and sit next to me. The Mom walked over with her. McKenzie loves other children, so she instantly started waving and smiling, still on top of the table. As any Mom would do, I talked to the little girl who was now sitting next to me, “Hi there! How are you? What’s your name?” The little girl didn’t reply, but I hadn’t really expected her to. This is where a normal mother would have said, “Say my name is… and prompted the little girl.” I don’t have a problem with you joining our table, but at least be social as a parent. Even wild animals grunt! Instead, the woman stood there silent, with a look on her face that I will never forget, still judging me for having my daughter on the table. I said it again…still nothing. Still judging. At this point, I was freaking irritated. If you’re going to come over, at least be social. If you think my child is such a heathen and you don’t want to talk, then don’t come over to us. Right?
Let’s pause the story for a moment before I continue with the epic ending…
Moms, I know that we all don’t raise our children the same. Some children are allowed to do things that other mother’s wouldn’t tolerate. I get it, but let’s be honest. We are all in this together. Some days, if standing on the table is going to buy me 5 more minutes of peace before a meltdown, then so be it. If she’s safe, it’s OK! We weren’t at a fine dining establishment. She wasn’t standing on the table in the middle of Ruth’s Chris. She was on a picnic table, which lives outside, which is exposed to the elements…all elements, including seeing other mother’s changing their children’s diapers on these tables. So was it different from the rules that you have set for your child? Yes. Will I allow McKenzie to stand on tables when she’s 4 years old? No. Will I allow it now, while she is still relatively small? Yes.
My point is, stop judging! We’ve all been there. If we haven’t, we’ll all be there at some point! Instead of loudly judging, both with words and facial expressions, give that Mom a smile. Let her know you know exactly how frazzled, frustrated, overwhelmed, and tired she is. A smile that says, “I get it. It’ll be ok. This too shall pass.” Whatever you do, don’t judge! We may all raise our children differently, but we all have the same struggles. So please, stop judging, because we’re all in this together.
Now the epic ending…
The judging continued and the awkward silence ensued while McKenzie and the little girl waved to one another. With perfect timing, McKenzie grunted and turned red (you know what that means). Then, before I could even stop her, she hopped and landed, with a blow-out of epic proportions. It was only up her back, but definitely visible. As irritated as I had been with this woman, I was now mortified. How embarrassing! Again, we’ve all been there, so laugh at the grossness, smile and say have a good night. Instead, the woman shrieked, picked her child up and ran away. I will never forget the look on that woman’s face. Score 1 for McKenzie for giving “shit” right back to the woman who had been giving us shitty looks all night! Go Team!