I was encouraged by a friend’s recent Facebook post who was grocery shopping and took a risk when she saw a fellow Momma trying to deal with her own child’s tantrum.
I have written about my desire for Moms to have a secret gesture, to show each other support in a situation such as this, with, “What Moms and Jeep Wrangler Owners Have in Common.” When I read what my friend, AnneMarie, did, I immediately asked her if I could share her story here. She graciously oblidged.
“Today I saw a Mom with her 3 or 4 year old at the grocery store. The child was pitching the BIGGEST fit I’ve ever witnessed in public. This poor Mom just stood there, stopped in her tracks, paralyzed. I decided to give a little encouragement; I walked past and said, “You’ve got this Mom!” Then I proceeded to finish my shopping.
I was now done and noticed that this child was still throwing a tantrum. The Mom stood there with her hands on her face, in what looked like a stance of defeat. I decided I must offer some more support. I walked up behind the mom (she didn’t see me) and I gave that child the “Mom” look. I shook my finger at him. He stopped crying instantly, hugged his Mom and said he was sorry!”
I was most struck by the fact that my friend took a risk to help. At times, us Moms, do not want to step on each other’s toes. There is a risk that our offer to help could be met with a refusal to accept or acknowledge any help, especially out in a grocery store! Too often, we use this excuse to keep walking and just mind our own business. However, in doing so, do we miss an opportunity to support another woman, who may desperately need some encouragement at that moment?
I asked AnneMarie a couple follow up questions about this story.
Meg: What made you want to support this Mom?
AM: I noticed she looked defeated, at a loss on what to do, and her child was clearly over running her. As a Mom myself, I know what this feels like.
Meg: Did you fear she would take it the wrong way?
AM: I did fear that the mom might take my support the wrong way, which is why instead of walking up and asking if she wanted help, I first walked by and gave moral support with the “You’ve got this Mom!” I had hoped that would have given her the courage to not give in to the tantrum. When I came around the second time I was still hesitant to go up to her out of fear she wouldn’t accept the help she clearly needed.
Meg: How did you feel when you walked away, after the child stopped?
AM: Victorious! I thought, “Yes! I won one for the team!” I view parenthood as a team. Yes, I understand we all have different ideas of what is “right” and “wrong” and I certainly wouldn’t want a random stranger walking up to my small child and scolding them. However, we as parents could offer support in a respectful way to each other when needed.
There were countless other people starring, glaring, telling her she should shut him up, and giving looks of disappointment or disapproval to that sweet Mom. All of those things clearly didn’t help or change anything. The truth is no one knows what that Mom is going through or what that child is going through. I don’t know if the child had special needs or if they just experienced a loss in their family. We just do not know what is really going on.
So with all that said, I am ever mindful that my job as a human is to offer support to others. If they accept it, great! If not, I’ll keep it moving!
AnnMarie’s desire to help this Mom, outweighed the risk she knew was there.
Ladies, we are all in this together. What is one thing you can do this week, to show support for another woman? She does not have to be a total stranger in a store (but she might be), she could be a friend whom you’ve known has been struggling, or one that you have not talked to in a while, or a friend from out-of-state, or a Mom in a different stage of life than you.
I do not know the exact answer to every situation like the grocery store tantrum witnessed by AnneMarie, but I do know this:
When Moms feel supported and encouraged, the world becomes a better place.