Much has been made in the last few days about a woman who decided to tell a Mom of a tantruming child to quiet her child in the check out lane. Words were exchanged, and then the woman who spoke to the mother ended up being punched in the face by the mother.
What amazes me is the comments on articles I’ve read, PRAISING the mom! Uh, no. Unless someone is being physically attacked, there is no righteousness in assaulting another person, period. So, the Mom lost any validity she had with me by that action. “A stranger shoots her mouth off, now Mommy goes to jail.” is not something children should be taught. Plus, if a stranger can tip you over the edge to physical violence, I worry about how the Mom deals with stress in her every day life of parenting, and what the children are experiencing.
That being said…
To The Parent Of The Tantruming Child,
I see you. I’ve been you. I know what it’s like to have your normally good kid suddenly lose whatever mind they possess, and become s shrieking, thrashing, demon possessed Hellion in the middle of the grocery store. Or clothing store. Or anywhere. I would love to go up to you, pat you on the shoulder, and assure you that this, too, shall pass. (However, I WON’T be like the elderly woman on the bus, who told me, with not a little malicious glee, “Don’t worry Dear…one day he’ll be a teenager!” Cause that’s just cruel.)
I know what it’s like to feel humiliated, like you’re failing any parenting test that ever was, to feel the scorn of people’s glares and can hear their muttered comments like someone’s blaring them like a megaphone in your ear.
I know, too, that “Well, just take the child out!” isn’t always possible, for a myriad of reasons.
I was a single mom. Child needed meds, for an ear infection, a fever. There was no choice but to get what we needed. Or groceries for the house, because otherwise, we had no bread or milk.
I have other friends whose spouses are in the military, and away.
The whole attitude of, “Just come back another time!” just isn’t realistic.
I’m the first parent to hustle a kid out of the public area when they start up…unless I can’t. And I’ve been in the, “I can’t” situation. I get it.
I also know that I don’t know you. I don’t know your child. I don’t know if your spouse just died, and your world is blown apart. I don’t know if you’ve just come out of a women’s shelter, with the mark of someone else’s anger still imprinted in bruises upon your body, your heart and mind. I don’t know what daily struggles you may be facing.
I also know I don’t know your child. I have no idea if your child has sensory issues that make a trip to the grocery store an unavoidable trip through Hell for him. The lighting, the crashing of carts, the stampede of people crushing in around him, the scents and sights and sounds so overwhelming him that falling apart is the only attempt he has of relieving such overwhelming, painful sensory overload.
I know what I know, and what I don’t know.
Is it possible that your child is simply a spoiled spawn of Hell? And that you’re an uncaring parent, out to inflict your screaming, shrieking child on everyone else, and don’t care? Sure. But, what good would that do, to have that assumption in my head? What good would it do to cast glares and harsh comments in your direction? What good would it do to make a bad situation worse?
None. None at all.
So, for you, the parent of the tantruming child, I smile in your direction. Because I’ve been there. It’s a smile of sympathy, of empathy, of comrades in arms from one parent in the trenches to another. I’m not brave enough to approach you, because I worry that you might think I was judging you, or about to insult you, so I stay where I am, with my full cart, and if I catch your eye, smile, and give a nod of understanding. I’d love to be able to wave a magic wand, be able to make it stop, but I don’t have one. I’d love to offer you a cup of coffee, a slice of cheesecake, or chocolate of your choice.
I’ve been there. And this too shall pass.
And a note to the bystanders: Your snide comments, glares, huffy sighs are no more helpful than a kick in the head. No parent of a tantruming child needs someone else to make them notice what their child is doing. Rest assured, the vast majority of parents feel horrible enough about the situation without your input. So keep it to yourself.