I guess the title of the post pretty much sums it up. Maybe you've never experienced this, and if not consider yourself lucky. You must have a child that is nothing like mine. I get those "looks" from other mothers all.the.time. You know, the "Why can't you control your child" or the "Make him shut up" looks. Still don't know what I'm talking about? Have you ever been in a church service where your child might make the smallest peep and you suddenly have the wrath of God upon you? I've been there. I've done that. Why is it that other mothers are always the ones to make you feel the worst in those situations? Aren't we supposed to have each other's back??
We went to the public library last night for storytime. I know, we are crazy. We like to live on the edge. Taking our 19 month old spirited boy to a place where he will be required to listen and sit still is like going on a suicide mission. But we were desperate. It gets dark at 5:30 p.m. now, and that makes the evenings very looooong. So, we do what we can to entertain ourselves, even if that means taking some huge chances.
We quickly discovered some things at storytime: 1) Most of the kids (like 80%--honestly) that were at storytime were GIRLS (hmmmm.....wonder why.....); 2) Miles' activity level is apparently about a thousand times higher than the majority of all other children in the world; and 3) He actually did VERY well and tried very hard to listen...he clapped along to the songs and did the actions with the other kids. We were very proud.
But, Miles is Miles. He likes to yell "Yaaaaaayyy!" whenever he can. What can I say, he's just happy! So, when the other kids were sitting quietly with their hands in their laps Miles was (literally) jumping up and down, doing somersaults, clapping, laughing and yelling "Yaaaaaayyy!" at the top of his lungs. How can we scold him for being happy?? How, I ask you???? We can't. We told him "Shhhhh". We tried to calm him down. We tried many things. But really he was just having FUN. How dare he.
And then came the glares.
I tried to ignore them. Their kids were sitting quietly, trying to enjoy the storytime. I understand. I can sympathize. But we are at storytime for kids, for God sake. We weren't at a funeral.
As time passed and Miles' enthusiasm level increased, I could feel the eyes of the other moms borring holes in my skull. Thankfully there was one mom there who was smiling and giving me the "He's just having fun, let him do it" look. Thank goodness for the sweet moms that DO truly understand. And thank goodness for my darling husband who was patiently trying to corral our boy.
Overall, the storytime was actually a good experience. If it hadn't been for the few bitches (sorry, but it's true) that were pretending their children's poop smells like roses it would have been a completely positive evening.
I think the bottom line for me is this: Never, ever judge other mothers. We all know how hard it is to be a parent. We all know that there are moments when your kids do not act perfectly. We all parent differently. We all make different judgment calls in situations. But in my mind we are also all in this together! It makes me sad that we have to draw lines in the sand with each other. Didn't breastfeed? There should be no judgment. Let your kid watch Sesame Street while you check your email? There should be no judgment. Allow your child to show joy in his own way in public? There should be no judgment.
And I especially think I need to turn this around on myself. I am my own worst critic. I should not judge myself. I often think "Ugh! Why can't you handle this better?" I am so hard on myself. I beat myself up. I think we all do that from time to time. But we shouldn't. It's like we are always trying to teach Miles: GENTLE. Be gentle to yourself. And be gentle to others.
Granted, Miles is sometimes the kid throwing the temper tantrum. He is often the one stealing the toys from other kids. He hits. He is naughty. But we're working on it, and doing the best we can. He is not the kid who sits quietly, or sits at all. He is who is he, and he is awesome! I refuse to squelch his enthusiasm for life because other moms think he should be quiet. I only wish I were half as smart, funny and engaged in life as Miles. I think I can learn a lot from him.
I just think next time we will do a tumbling class and leave storytime for the girls ;)