We are in the supermarket and there is a 2 year old having a fit in the cereal aisle, otherwise known as the sixth circle of hell. And I watch as the mom takes a box of cheerios and tears it opens and hand it to the screaming child and instantly the tears vanish as she digs her chubby hands into the box. The mom glances back at me and I shrug, as I push my cart on. It’s not a judgement, I’ve been there too a few times.
I’m on a play date with a mom and she talks about how her child hasn’t slept well lately. That he’s been up at night and misbehaving during the day. And how they are both exhausted and cranky. And I sip my coffee and smile and nod and tell her I know. I’ve been there too a few times.
I’m at the park and kids are being well, kids and one kid throws sand at another and one gets upset and is in tears. And I brush it off, because this time your kid threw the sand, but last time it was likely my kid and well, I’ve been there too a few times.
We have plans and your husband is late and you are frazzled and you race out the door without make up and completely a mess, because his lateness was the straw that broke you after a long day. And you are half angry and half frustrated and completely in need of a glass of wine. So I pour us both one and think of the week before when I showed up half in tears because the day had done me in. I’ve been there too a few times.
And when you tell me your potty training fails and your lowest moments. When we talk about how hard some days are but how much love we have for them, I know. When you tell me about the tantrums and the back talking and the total ungratefulness that seems to have been bestowed upon 4 year-olds. I just nod in agreement. Cause I’ve been there too a few times.
When you abruptly leave a play date because your child just isn’t cooperating or is in desperate need of a nap or whatever other reason that causes 2 year-olds to act like 2 year-olds. I don’t take offense because I remember those days, I’ve been there too a few times.
And that’s what I think when I see kids having fits, when kids behave badly, when Moms are pushed beyond their limits. I’ve been there too a few times. I’ve made mistakes, I’ve been embarassed, I’ve lost my cool in a super market and have carried a screaming child out of a mall. I’ve been there. I know this road, I’ve been down it. And I’m not judging you because I’ve been you and I know that that moment doesn’t define you as a parent. That these things happen to all of us.