Dear Mom in Target with the Screaming Little Boy,
You’re awesome. You deserve a medal for making it out the door with your 3 young boys. I’m sure you had many battles this morning before you even left the house. I can imagine the pit in your stomach when you had to hunt for one of the very few shopping carts that had three seats. (Seriously Target, you should really have more of these. If a parent is willing to leave the house with 3 young kids, we choose where we are going based on who has carts that can fit all of our kids. The thought of getting your kids from the car to store, and realize you have to turnaround and hunt one of these carts down in the busy parking lot – with kids – will bring a mother to tears. But I digress…)
Your son had clearly lost it. I heard him screaming from the other side of the store as I checked out. Every time I thought he was going to let up, he screamed and kicked even harder. But you held it together. You spoke calmly to him. You didn’t waver.
Parents throw around the phrase “We’ve all been there”. It often comes off patronizing. But I want you to know that when I looked at you, it was not in a judgmental way. I looked to see how I could help. My eyes darted around, maybe a People Magazine would cheer her up? Maybe I can help put her bags in her car? I wanted to say something encouraging, but I know when the tables are turned, if someone spoke to me in that same situation, I wouldn’t have the energy to be polite. Or I probably would lose it and start crying along with my child.
I wanted to tell you that you’re amazing. No one was judging you. There is no reason to be embarrassed. There is no reason to worry about what anyone else around you is thinking. What your child is communicating right now has nothing to do with your parenting skills. How YOU are reacting to it shows just how great a parent you are.
And as I write this to you, Mom-I-don’t-know, I also write this to myself. To remember the next time one of my 3 loses it in public.
Do not grow weary and lose heart.
Stranger at Checkout 8