12 August 2011

That Mama

You are at the grocery store, your children being watched by someone else as you stand in line to be checked out.  The woman in front has two children and is trying to keep both close by and safe while the cashier messes up ringing her up.  You sigh, rolling your eyes.  The register locks up for some reason while the mama is trying to get a toddler to sit in the cart.  She smiles at you and says "Sorry, figures!" and laughs nervously as you give her a blank stare.

****

You are at the park, playing with your only child, giving him or her your full attention.  A mama in jeans, plain t-shirt and sandals walks up trying to get a toddler to cooperate to chase after her older sister who is tired of playing on the baby part of the playground.  The toddler had spilled water all over herself and her mama just a moment ago because she is trying to learn to drink without a sippy cup.  The mama smiles at you without makeup on while her older child tries to start a conversation with your child, who is about the same age as her.  Your child doesn't give her child the time of day and you offer the mama about the same attitude, as you wear a Gucci dress.

****

You are walking through the local Target with your teenager who hates you.  A mama is holding a toddler in her arms while a 5 year old tries to push the shopping cart.  The toddler says hi to you.  You see her but say nothing and go on with your day.

****

You are standing outside to pick up your child from school and a mama with her toddler walk up to stand in the same area as you, just like everyone else.  It is just the three of you because it just worked that way with timing.  The mama smiles at you.  You just look and turn your head.

****

You are driving down the road and come up behind a car that is going the speed limit.  You honk the horn, squeeze by and flip the mama off with your manicured nail.

****

You are standing in line behind a mama who is checking out a movie at the library.  Her children are hugging and kissing each other and laughing and singing because they love each other and feel safe and comfortable at the library.  The mama tells them to be more quiet, please.  She turns to you because she sees the noise was bothering you.  She says "Sorry, they just love each other and the library."  You look at her and say nothing.  Or, say "They are testing you to see how much they can get away with.  You need to start stepping in and parenting them instead of worrying about some movie (that the toddler and older child wanted to see)."

****

You are at the grocery store and your three daughters are dancing together while you stand in line to be checked out. A mama's older daughter smiles at your daughters and starts to dance as well.  Your daughters look at each other, laugh that she did ballet, and say "Come on, let's go over here so she's not looking at us."  They also make racial comments about her being white.  You just stand there.

****


Perhaps you were just having a miserable day because the cabinets you ordered came in the wrong color.  Or you just wanted to run into the store quickly and feel as though you are being held up from doing something more important.  Or who knows what?

That mama could have a Babcia (grandmother in Polish) in another country who is old and lonely and having heart problems and that mama could be worried.  That mama could have just moved to your town from another state.  That mama could have her brother hundreds of miles away from her and her mother even farther away.  That mama could have moved to your town because she was tired of living away from her father for so many years.  The rest of her family could be even further away. 

That mama could have gained a few pounds since moving to your town because there is nowhere she can go to exercise outside and her normal routine has been thrown.  She could have had to run out the door to the grocery store and decided that while she was the type to always leave the house with makeup on, what was the point anymore?  And for her to feel that way, something was definitely changed.

She could have 20,000 other burdens to carry that she can't share with people.

That mama could have had just had as bad a day as you are having.

And you could be missing out on an amazing person. 

Someone who would come with her husband right away if you called stuck in a blizzard.  Or needed help shoveling out your driveway.  Or help you move.  Or watch your kids if you went in for surgery.  Or would go for walks with you for exercise together to try to keep you motivated to stay in shape.  Or hold your hand while you grieve over losing a loved one.  Or help you try to get a strange stain out of your carpet.  Or watch your house for you while you went out of the country for a month on vacation.

You could smile.  It won't break your face.

This is the week I've had.  How was yours?

9 comments:

Truthful Mommy said...

Oh Mama, I am so sorry that you are having this kind of week. Some people suck.I too have had these weeks and it has changed my perspective. I've been the new mom with a million things on my mind and I have learned to always consider that I don't know what another mom is gong through.We just never know. WE all need to be more giving of ourselves and tolerant of others. Big Hugs.I'd walk with you:)

lostandforgotten said...

I don't know why people don't realize that simply smiling can make a world of difference. You don't have to get involved, but just smile.

Hope your weekend is better!

Lisa Noel said...

I know how you feel. We live in a weird place where I often don't feel accepted by anyone because we are in some weird place in the middle, really struggling to get by but not not fitting with those who are doing better or worse than we are.
I do try to remember that anyone who can't find it in themselves to smile and be kind to a child must either have some serious stuff going on themselves or isn't someone I really want to waste my time on anyway. I promise there are still good people around!! :)

Hen Jen said...

I live in So Ca, and yeah, people here are that kind of crazy rushed and don't see you.

glad you spoke up and posted this, praying you have a much better weekend with love and friends.

Natalie @ MamaTrack said...

I'm so sorry your week was so rough. You aren't alone. I'm chasing a toddler, disheveled and pregnant. Tired. Grumpy.

Hang in there. It will get better.

LJB @ crankymonkeys in london said...

Well written, but a sucky week indeed :( I thought for a moment that you were back in Poland because in America people tend to smile a lot more at strangers than they do in some parts of Europe.

Megryansmom said...

I'm so sorry you had such a sucky week. I wish that you lived closer to me, my handsome boys and I would smile at you and your girls all the time.

LMG said...

I so remember those days when the kids were little and sometimes nothing would go right. There was one time when I had an appointment at an office building. I had my two girls (approximately 9 months and 22 months) in a double stroller and my four year old son with me. My little boy was struggling to try to get the door open for me so I could push the stroller in. All the while there was a 40 something woman standing outside smoking, not offering to help. Referring to the kids,she said to me, "Better you than me."

The thing is that you will remember all those experience and when your kiddos are older (which will be in the blink of an eye), you WILL give the smile, or some little words of encouragement. Now I am a 40 something with teenagers and it is FUN to be able to smile and tell the frazzled young mom of an out of sorts little one, "Hang in there. You are doing just fine."

momphotographer said...

Sorry to hear you had such a bad day! Hope for the next one to be much better. Oh, so many times I felt like I'm from different space in the store or on the playground... because I was smilling to people... and... they were not... . It's the weirdest thing. Like they are angry that you bother them just for looking and them. (sigh). Hang in there!!! Hugs from my corner!