You are queuing in a supermarket cafe and a toddler is in a trolley in front of you. He is making all types of sounds and trying to talk. The mother shush’s him. He carries on as the line moves and again the mother is telling him to shush and even told him to be quiet. Once sat down the toddler is being well, a toddler! Making a noise and moving about but not quite disturbing others. The mother is telling him off and getting pretty irate. She tells him to behave otherwise they will go home. People are now looking.
What would your thoughts be? Would you be judging the mother? Would you be annoyed at the toddler’s behaviour?
I heard this story and their viewpoint was to judge the mother. They believed the toddler was acting as a toddler and the mother was being mean and actually questioned her maternal instincts! Hey, once upon a time I may have thought the same. I may have even judged her for the toddler’s behaviour being dreadful.
When I think of this story I actually wonder if something had happened to the mother that day to cause her to be short and maybe a little irritable. Maybe she had been up all night with the toddler and was struggling with tiredness? Maybe she had just received some bad news? A family member may have just passed away or her husband may have just lost his job? She could have an illness that is making her tired, weak and in pain. Who knows? The point is the person observing this mother certainly did not know and therefore should not be passing such judgement.
Each day we each have our own battles and some of us may cope better than others. Some people simply cannot show their weaknesses and can come across abrupt, moody, possibly strict with their children, for if they let their guard down they could become a crying heap on the floor! The person said they could never treat their child that way or speak to them in the way they had heard – details were not given. At no point did I think the mother was in the wrong. As a stay at home Mum I get tired, I get fed up of loading the dishwasher over and over again, I get annoyed watching kids TV, I feel like I live in the supermarket at times and then I dread that because I know full well the trolley will bring on a toddler tantrum as he does not want to sit! So, maybe she just wanted quiet, just to concentrate for a moment on getting their lunch, maybe she just needed to clear her head, maybe she was so exhausted she didn’t realise how she was coming across to others. We all know that once our children make a slight scene in a cafe we become much more aware of others around us and that embarrassment creeps in, making everything twice as intense.
One bad day does not make a bad mother, it just means we are all human and if other parents don’t have off days then I need to know what you are taking to be so perfect!!
Let’s stop looking at each other and judging, let’s start offering a helping hand, that person may really appreciate a simple ‘can I help?’ Perhaps they are in dire need of it. You won’t know until you ask.