I was in Target a few years ago when Miss O was still a baby, and not yet walking. She was riding in the cart and was starting to get antsy. I knew what was coming. It was just a matter of time before she started having a meltdown.
It happened in the dog food isle. She wanted to pet the doggies on the bags and was very upset they weren’t real. I leaned in closely, put my hands on her hands, and whispered to her. I don’t remember what I said. I just know it was very calming. She settled back down and we were able to finish shopping without incident.
While all this was happening an older gentleman was also shopping for dog food. After Miss O settled down he looked at me and said, “Nicely done, Mom,” nodded at me, and went on his way.
It’s been years since that brief encounter, and I still remember it like it was yesterday.
Such a simple act meant so much to me on a difficult day and still gives me strength when tough times arise.
In the past few years I’ve seen lots of blog posts addressed to the stressed out mom in Target, the mom on her phone at the playground, or the mom who never feels like she’s good enough. Each one lays out a case for why that mom is doing just fine and needs no permission to parent the way she chooses.
But what if, instead of writing about it, we just said it in the moment?
What if we told that Target mom that she’s doing a great job? What if we just sat down with iPhone mom and whipped out our own phone? What if, rather than posting our support for a struggling mom, we just gave her an understanding nod, or bought her a cup of coffee?
Take it from me, those simple acts of kindness and support would mean the world.