This is one of my favorite posts from my previous blog. It was originally posted in March of 2011.
This afternoon we went shopping at Kohl's , and my 20-month-old-tomorrow son threw an epic tantrum. He was basically inconsolable until we got home and he nursed to sleep for a nap an hour earlier than normal. Poor guy. I don't really know what was wrong. He might've been hot in his big coat-it was warmer than forecast according to the thermometer in my car. Or he might've just been tired-we did play pretty hard yesterday. Or maybe he was hungry or thirsty or his tummy felt weird or any one of a million possibilities. I tried to calm him down as well as I could without dropping the glass cutting board and toy helicopter I'd grabbed already (I had a $10 off anything coupon-the toy made the cutting board I needed expensive enough to use the coupon. I paid 24 cents for both!).
And as I walked towards the front of the store, it felt like a walk of shame. People were literally glaring at me. Mostly fellow mommies.
Yeah, that's right fellow Kohl's shoppers: I trained my toddler to scream on command just so I could come do it in the store and ruin your shopping trip, bwahaha! I thought him bashing my head with his repeatedly was an especially nice touch to make it seem less staged.
The other moms must just have been jealous their kids aren't similarly trained to tantrum on command. Yeah, that's it.
I seriously don't get it. Other than a couple of kind women in front of me in the check out lane, no one talked to me or smiled at me. The moms with older kids in tow didn't say "hang in there! He'll outgrow it soon". They just glared. The moms sans-kids browsing the toddler tees didn't say "aw poor guy, must be naptime when you get home." they just glared too.
If everyone just ignored me, I wouldn't have cared. But if you make eye contact with a mom dealing with a tantrum and your facial expression is best described as a scowl, that's not cool. If you are seriously such an awesome parent that your kid never ever tantrums, then please, share your wisdom. And if you've been there done that, offer an encouraging smile. Offer to grab the glass cutting board I'm almost dropping by trying not to drop my kid. Or something.
For my part, I'm going to try to be more conscious of this too and when I'm out and my kid is the happy one and someone else is having a frustrating day, I'm going to try to be the opposite of the jerks I was shopping this today. I'll try to offer an encouraging smile, a "hang-in there-we have those days too" from a fellow mom in the trenches.
Because caring moms already feel terrible when their kid is upset. It makes us sad that our child is frustrated or struggling with some emotion or discomfort they can't express in a more mature way. We don't need strangers making us feel worse. Why not try to make each other feel better? Because a calm, encouraged mommy is more likely to be able to calm down a toddler, to figure out what's bothering their kiddo and think of creative solutions.
Let's all try to not be judgey jerks, ok?