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
Do you ever have those tough parenting days where you just need a win? Just a little encouragement that you’re on the right path? After this frustrating day, who knew weeds would provide the encouragement…
The boys’ VBS was collecting spare change as part of their daily offering. The money collected will be given to Blood:Water Mission, to provide clean drinking water in Africa.
This gave me the opportunity to talk to the boys about the “Share” portion of their Moonjar piggy banks. Recently, they have been asking about how they can “get coins”. At 5, they really don’t understand money. They don’t understand that a quarter is more than a penny. They don’t need allowance. But they understand that their Moonjar piggy banks hold money. And they want to fill each compartment.
As a result, they are obsessed with making money. They keep coming up with extra chores they can do around the house. Two of the boys decided that they would fill up a small wheelbarrow with weeds, for a quarter each time. They did this 6 times! Off they ran to their Moonjars and put two quarters in each: Save, Spend, Save. So excited, they went back outside and filled up three more wheelbarrows. (Yes, apparently we hadn’t weeded in awhile…) Three more quarters!
So we talked about how they could take their “Share” portion and give it away to go towards the Blood:Water offering. The best part?
They were so excited to make money to give away, I found two boys outside.
In their pajamas.
After they came home from VBS, the told me all about the people who had to walk a long way to get clean water. And that their money would go towards building them a well in their backyard. They were so excited that their pulling weeds is going to help build a well!