To the Mom with the screaming kid at McDonalds…

You have to be embarrassed. I would be.

Your son did not remotely listen to you when you told him it was time to go.  He hadn’t had enough time in the play place.  Is it ever enough time for a little one who’s having fun?

You struggled to hold your other, younger, son as he fussed and tried to climb out of your arms.  At the same time, trying to stuff shoes on the feet of your screaming child who suddenly had what seemed like 8 arms and legs that were all flailing around.

You tried a small time-out, quietly threatened a spanking (while looking around to see if anyone heard that and if they might judge you for it), promised seeing more friends if they would agree to go.

When your baby threw his sippy cup and you bent down to pick it up, while trying to balance him, and at the same time keep your shirt in a modest place, your oldest saw his opportunity.  He ran for the nearest tunnel and just escaped your grabbing hands trying to stop him.  Now he’s giggling and tromping around, obviously excited that he has weaseled himself into a few more minutes of play.

My Adelaide was in there with him, oblivious to the fact that something was going on.  She didn’t notice you yelling at him to come down.  She just thought her buddy was back to play for a few more minutes.

I was about ready to go myself, but I thought (from Adelaide’s recent good mood), that she would probably happily come when I called her and I didn’t want to make you feel bad.  I waited for about 10 minutes while you tried to coax your son down, but eventually decided that maybe he would decide to come down if Adelaide came down too.

I called for Adelaide to come to me and she immediately listened.  I asked her to get her shoes and after slight complaint she got her shoes and agreed that we would come back another time.  By this point you were offering your son ice cream if he would just come down.

When I got to my car I kissed Adelaide and told her what a good girl she had been for listening to Mommy.

Think I’m judging you? I’m not.

I was grateful that my daughter decided not to throw a fit.  She can throw a good one! Just earlier when we were at the park, heads were turning our way to see which child was screaming like they had fallen out of a tree.  It was mine.  Adelaide told me she was hungry, and since we had only been at the park for about 40 minutes, I offered to do what she calls “go eat lunch and play”. She thought that was a great idea but then somewhere on the walk to the car, changed her mind and decided to cry the whole way.  I was gently dragging her along, reminding her to be a good girl.  It didn’t help things that there was a cop in the parking lot talking to some other people.  i was glad Adelaide didn’t decide to yell “Help!” to him or something like that! Haha!

I think it is so easy these days to judge other moms around us.  They don’t control their kids, discipline them enough, feed them junk, don’t clean them enough, discipline too much, don’t watch them closely enough, hover like a helicopter, co-sleep, make their babies cry-it-out, cloth diaper, disposable diaper, baby-led-weaning, still feed their 3 year olds purees, homeschool, public school, etc.  I believe the parenting choices I have made are the best.  For me. For my family. For our situation and life circumstances.

Who cares what anyone else does?

I have no idea what that mom at McDonalds had to deal with today.  Maybe her kids didn’t sleep well last night and that’s why they are fussy.  Maybe she got in an argument with her husband and just needed some time out of the house. Maybe her kids were being perfect angels when they left the house and then everything went down hill from there. All I wanted to do was just tell her “We’ve all been there!”  It’s a pesky thing, that sinful nature that shows up even before babies are talking.  Now matter how hard you try, sometimes they throw a fit anyway.  And all you can do it keep trying.  Keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Keep letting those children know you love them.  Keep praying for them.

I, like probably every other mom out there, have been subject to the “Mommy Wars”.  A few months ago, I found out that someone I greatly respected thought some pretty awful things about me and the way that I parent my child.  These judgements were made on not very much time together.  Maybe you, reader, have perfect children, but my daughter, although pretty sweet and awesome most of the time, seems to act up the most when I want to make a good impression.  Sigh.

I felt pretty mad for awhile.  And I still struggle with the great offense I took to the accusations and judgements.  Just today, I thought, I wish this person could see how good Adelaide is being right now.

But isn’t that judging them back? Maybe that person is insecure with their family and feels the need to be over-the-top with the things they can control (like their kids).  Maybe that person is just trying to do the best they can. Maybe that person had a bad childhood and all they can think about is how to make things different for their kids.

We never know what someone is going through.  When you meet a mom who does things different than you, remind yourself that they love their kids just like you love yours.  Try to show a little more grace.  If another mom really ticks you off, pray for her.  That will do wonders with healing your own bitter attitude.

I do the best I can.  I love my daughter dearly.  Even when I’m the one getting looks at the park.  I cannot imagine my life without her in it.  I am supermom.

And to the mom with the screaming kid at McDonalds: you are too.


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