This is basically the same post I did at my thefamily.today.com blog, but I wanted to share it here, too.
Yesterday I was at Joann’s Craft Store and when it was time to leave Megan and Jeremy decided they were cranky. I was trying to round them up and take Emma’s car seat off the cart at the same time another customer was walking over to put her cart away. Megan and Jeremy were turning circles, rotating directly in her path. I calmly asked them to rotate my way so she could put her cart away, but they were slow to listen. Emma's car seat wasn’t coming off the cart easily and I was beginning to get frustrated. The customer approached and asked my kids to move, which kind of freaked them out because all of a sudden there was this strange lady in front of them with a huge cart in their little faces. They did finally move, but I could see in the woman’s face she was sizing me up as a mother. She either thought, “Oh, that poor young mother doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing. I can’t believe she has three.” (Because apparently in this part of the country, having three kids means you’re something akin to a rabbit.) Or she was thinking, “Ugh. This stupid young mom that can’t control her own kids. Now I have to step in and help her because there’s no way she’s going to make it to her car with a truckload of children.”
Either way, she felt compelled to walk me and the kids out, all the while looking disdainfully at me because my baby had no socks on her feet (she had a thick blanket and a heavy coat covering her though) and cautioning my children to look both ways before they stepped into the parking lot. My children already know this. I’ve trained them to be so fearful of cars that every time we go down to the underground parking for our building, Jeremy peeks out the basement door, checks to see if it’s all clear, then runs to our car as fast as he can while crying out, “I’m scared of car!” or “Don’t wanna be smashed!” My children know to look both ways and just because they weren’t using their ears in the store because they were too busy spinning, doesn’t mean they needed a lecture from a complete stranger.
For a split second after this happened I felt like a bad mom. Ems didn’t have socks on. I needed to explain why she didn’t have socks on: we ran out of the apartment in a hurry. Instead of having my kids hold on to the car seat or my shirt like I usually do, I had them hold hands with each other and hold my free hand (it was quite the spectacle, I’m sure). The guilt didn’t last long, but the frustration and anger I felt for the woman who felt the need to judge me did. And I guess I’m discovering as I write this, that some of the frustration and anger is still around.
But the point is, when we got home, and out of the car, and into the basement, the kids were smiling and twirling, and laughing and being their ultra silly selves. They were happy. I love it when they are happy together. When they play together so well. I’m a good mom. My kids are happy kids who are learning and growing. My kids are loving kids who care about other people and aren’t afraid to show concern when others are sad. My kids love to laugh and I give them ample opportunities to do so. I love my kids and I’m a good mom.
My husband is a terrific husband and father. He plays with the kids every day. He has special games he plays with them and special songs he sings to them. Games and songs that mom either isn’t willing to play or songs mom can never remember the words to. He has worked hard to provide for us, and continues to work hard as he is in dental school. I love it when the kids do something cute or funny and we share a look. A look that says, “we have the cutest, most smartest, most adorable kids ever.”
And it’s true.