Today I was abused by another mother.
I’ve heard about this happening, but I’ve never been involved like this.
My middle son (2) hurt her daughter. I saw it happen, spoke to him about it, and then he and I both apologised to her daughter and her for what had happened. All was good. I felt good about how I’d dealt with it.
Then without warning she was in my face.
Turns out my eldest son (4) had kicked her daughter. I hadn’t seen it because even though I was watching him like a hawk, a piece of play equipment was in my line of sight for that split second and I had missed it.
Now clearly I don’t let my boys get away with hurting people, that is evidenced by the first incident. But for some reason this lady felt it necessary to get in my face and yell at me, telling me I need to get in there and deal with my child, and that I need to watch my kids because they are targeting her daughter.
Anyway, I told her not to speak to me like that, I apologised for my son, I said I would go and speak to him. And I did. And then we both, again, apologised to the daughter and the mother. I went over alone and spoke to the mother and said that I was sorry but I didn’t need to be spoken to like that. My exact words were ‘listen, we are all learning this mother thing, I’m doing the best I can, I’m still figuring it out, just like you are.’ Then I walked away (she had continued to abuse me, with her back to me, not interested in anything I said) I sat at the table with my friend, and I bawled my eyes out in the middle of the cafe. I just kept saying ‘This is why I don’t leave the house.’
A lovely woman, who’s son had been playing so nicely with my boys, came over to check on me. She said not to let her get to me, and to remember that I’m doing a fantastic job, parenting is hard. She helped a lot.
A few points I feel need to be made.
1. My boys are not naughty, or bad. They don’t ‘target’ children. My boys are rough, and they get carried away. They are children. I am not making excuses for them, I completely agree with the mother that my children should have been disciplined (which they were) and I understand her wanting to protect her daughter, but they weren’t being intentionally vicious. I am glad that she told me that my eldest did the wrong thing, I am heartbroken by the way she did it.
2. Children (her daughter for example) should not have to see their mothers attacking other mothers. They shouldn’t be wrapped in cotton wool and raised expecting their parents to jump in and fight at every minor bump in the road. It was a small children’s play area, kids get hurt just from the lack of space. I’m so sorry she got hurt, she was such a lovely, friendly little girl, I hope that she doesn’t learn how to deal with conflict from her parents.
3. That woman has absolutely no idea (and likely doesn’t care) how much today has impacted on me. I already rarely leave the house because of my PND, anxiety, and just the logistics of having to watch three young children. I will never go back to that shop again. I am traumatised. It may seem like I’m overreacting to some, but my brain is like a television that needs tuning after today. It took so much strength for me to just leave the house. No one knows what is going on inside someone’s head. There is no need to treat anyone like I was treated today. I have done nothing but (unsuccessfully) attempt to hold back tears since that moment.
4. Why? Why on Earth did this woman feel that it was ok to tear me down. To go at me until I was literally in tears in public. What right does she, or anyone else have to reduce another person to that? None. Absolutely none.
It doesn’t mean that I know how to deal with every situation, it doesn’t mean that I’ll catch every hit that takes place, it doesn’t mean that my kids will grow up to be perfect little members of society.
I’m doing my best. And I’m not alone in that. Instead of tearing each other down, we need to go back to the ‘it takes a village’ mindset that parents used to have.
Parenting is hard but we can help make it easier, one ‘You’re doing a fantastic job’ or ‘you’ve got this mumma!’ or ‘Can I help you with that?’ at a time.
It takes a village, so lets build one together.