Let’s face it no one is perfect, not I, not you and certainly not my toddler. This being said far to often we spend time judging each other and trying to make ourselves look better than others. What we really should be doing is rallying around each other and offering each other encouragement and support.
Just the other day I loaded both kids into the car and went out to purchase a gift for my mother in law. I knew exactly where I wanted to go (3 stores total) and had a good idea of what I was going to get her. Now if this had been just me and Everett this would have been a piece of cake, I mean car seat into stroller and back into car, easy peasy. If this had been me and Hazel 3 months ago this would have been fairly easy, a very pregnant lady and a toddler that LISTENED. This is where everything went wrong, my toddler promised to listen, only to fail miserably on her end of the deal. Within seconds of entering the first store (the cutest little gift shop in Whiterock) her hands were on EVERYTHING. No matter how many times I asked her to stop and listen, not to touch things or hold my hand my words fell on deaf ears. I scurried around the store with Everett in my wrap trying to get exactly what I was looking for, and attempting to save things from being broken. Aside from being frustrating it was definitely embarrassing, as everyone in the store (all 4 of us) could hear and see what was going on. Then something happened, as I went to pay and Hazel beelined it for some glass candles a complete stranger dropped to her knees and started to smell the candles with Hazel. This lady took her time picking up each candle, letting Hazel smell them and asked her which ones she liked better, it was the sweetest thing ever. Huge sigh of relief, I could stop sweating profusely and pay for my item with out distractions. When we went to leave I couldn’t thank the lady enough as she had selflessly taken a moment to help this very tired and frustrated mom. In hindsight perhaps this is where I went wrong, maybe I should have spent time browsing with Hazel, picking up every little thing and smelling every candle with her. Perhaps I learnt two very valuable lessons that day.
What may seem like a small act of kindness, has given me more hope in taking my toddler out. That I shouldn’t be embarrassed when she doesn’t listen or has a complete meltdown. I need to remember that I am not alone and that everyone around me is either going through or has gone through the same thing. We need to stop lying to ourselves and to others. We can’t stand there saying raising 2, 3 or 6 kids is easy. It’s not, we all have those days were its complete chaos and we can all relate in one way or another. When someone tells you that their baby isn’t sleeping or their toddler is regressing, don’t tell them your kid is perfect, it’s a lie and it isn’t going to make them feel any better. Sympathize and offer some words of encouragement. If you can’t do that, don’t say anything at all.
So the next time you see a friend or a complete stranger that is frazzled and struggling, give them a hug, buy them a cup of coffee or distract their child for 5 minutes so they can catch their breath. Trust me the littlest thing can speak to them and say “Hey, I’ve been there, you’re doing a great job. Just hang in there it will get better, I promise.”