Parenting Solidarity Offers Comfort

It seems like more often than not, in a moment of adversity we worry more about mommy wars erupting than parenting solidarity.  I recently had a problem with Norton that I didn’t seek advice about because I suspected that the mommy wars would be stronger than the parenting solidarity and help that I might receive.

There are times, though, when we as moms worry about condemnation, harsh stares, and silent criticism.  I’m pretty sure that there’s no place in the world that we worry about that judgment more than the supermarket.  You know how it is: you’ve got the cart halfway loaded, a grocery list a mile long, and relatives coming over for dinner.  You have to get that grocery shopping done.  As you expertly weave through the aisles of the store, threading your way through the throng of customers also trying to get through with their shopping carts that are roughly the size of a Toyota Yaris, it happens: full-on meltdown.

Parenting Solidarity Offers Comfort (Cloth Diaper Addicts)Non-parents will, of course, suggest that we should just leave.  That doesn’t really work: you still need to feed your family.  Besides, if you teach little Aiden that every tantrum will result in leaving the place he doesn’t want to be, you’re just setting yourself up for every immunization appointment to be an exercise in torture.  And we’ll just have to come back out and try again, anyway.

Usually, when I see this happening, I give an understanding nod to the struggling mom.  I’ll sometimes tell her that we’ve all been there or that it gets better.  I know that tiny moment of parenting solidarity can help remind her that it’s not her fault.  I’d never been on the receiving end of it.  I’d received the feelings of judgment and condemnation many times.  I’d had the annoyed stares from other shoppers.  I knew that sucked, even though there was no choice but to soldier on.

At least, I’d never received that parenting solidarity from strangers until our last Costco trip.  Norton was done.  He went from happy and cheery to melting down and being a total jerk in about three minutes.  I frantically tried to calm him down as Eudora sat happily beside him.  I knew that if she stayed happy when he was furious, he’d hit her just so she’d be angry and crying, too.

Then it happened.  Another mom said to me in a calm tone, “I’ve been there.  In fact, it was just a few minutes ago.”

I wasn’t alone.  It was wonderful.  It helped me stay calm in the face of Norton’s rage.  Ultimately, I found a solution that calmed Mr. Grumpy Pants down long enough to finish shopping.

Have you ever had a moment of parenting solidarity?

Image credits: tungphoto/Freedigitalphotos.net

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.

Comments

  1. I’m so glad that another mom took a minute out to reassure you that you weren’t alone. I often wonder if I should do the same but just realized that I should do what I would appreciate someone doing for me.
    Maggie C recently posted…Snow Day by Dan Maurer (Giveaway ends 9/27)My Profile

  2. It is so comforting to hear this!
    Myrah – Coupon Mamacita recently posted…Bing Rewards – Earn FREE Skype Credits and MORE!My Profile

  3. It often happens at the park for me and moms will comment they are happy my kids play hard/messy/adverturesome and they don’t feel judged because their children will be too.
    Jessica recently posted…Make It Monday: Candied Cookie BarsMy Profile

  4. I learned this a long time ago with my first son. I was so desperate to know there were other moms out there who understood that I didn’t receive an owner’s manual for this little being and I had NO CLUE what I was doing. The very first person to say anything to me was an older grandma type lady. Bless her.
    Missy Homemaker recently posted…Mondays with Peanut: He’s just funnyMy Profile

  5. I have felt those stares so many times and always smile to moms you are going trough it and let them know I understand. I’ve never had someone say something nice to me but had another Dad tell my husband something really nice while at a Disney park and it felt really awesome as both kids where in total meltdown while he waited for me to get some food at the restaurant.
    Paula -Growing Up Bilingual recently posted…Twitter Party #FloridaRunsOnDD – $500 in Prizes!My Profile

  6. Every family has that ONE child that pushes your sanity past the breaking point, that makes you question if you really should have became a parent. I have THAT one and every single time we go anywhere she acts up, tantrums, just is outta control. I’ve had to chase her, walk her to the bathrooms, stand in an aisle while pretending not to care while she throws herself on the ground because I won’t buy that one thing she just has to have to survive. And each time I always have a mom, dad, aunty, uncle, grandma, or grandpa that puts their hand on my shoulder looks me in the eyes and says “stay strong she’ll love you more for it later”. It’s then that while I’m holding back tears, counting to a million in my head to not loose my temper that I know I’m doing everything possible and I’m not looked on as the freak of a parent.
    Chelle @ Oh Just Stop Already recently posted…A Newborn Collective Giveaway Event -Ends 10/7 #NewbornCollectiveMy Profile

  7. I have honestly never had someone offer me those kind words. Never. I often laugh or smile at a mother who looks like she’s about to snap, or run away and never return. If you are a mom, you have been there at least once. There’s no shame in it. I am baffled why we as mother’s have to be so critical and mean to other mother’s. You see it all the time online: OMG you don’t nurse? HOW could you feed that poison to your child. Um, maybe I can’t produce milk (that’s me. I produced the longest for 4 months. All others I dried up at 3 weeks.) Or how about, OMG you aren’t going to feed your child THAT are you. So, I don’t feed mine candy with dyes in it, but I don’t have to deal with your hyper kids, so why do people feel the need to point out things like that? We all do what we know to do, or in many cases have stooped to do in order to stay sane and survive. Yes, that means grabbing a sucker in the store, opening it, and praying through that you make it to the cash register with everything you need to buy.

    Parenting is hard, folks. Probably the hardest thing you will ever accomplish, so the next time you feel a snarky comment erupting, try to remember the last time you started sobbing/yelled/locked yourself in the bathroom/ran away/whatever because life with little ones is too darned hard!
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