June 14, 2012


I think when a woman becomes a mother, she automatically becomes a member of a club.  A motherhood club, so to speak.  As technology has expanded and become more sophisticated, it's easier now more than ever to connect with other mothers and to share experiences with one another.

Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc., are all avenues in which mothers can interact with one another, lift each other up, give advice, extend sympathy and overall be there for one another.

But it seems as though our bond with other mothers seems to disappear as soon as we walk outside our homes.  When we face life in the flesh, and not behind our computer screens, it's everyone for herself.

Minutes after my daughter was born, my doctor commented on her screaming.  He said he had never heard a newborn make such noise.  I had no idea how my daughter's lungs would be such a source of stress, anger, humiliation and bitterness for me as time passed.

I've seen mother's glare at me.  I've seen them stare at me.  I've watched them put their hands over their ears.  I've seen them shake their heads.  I've heard them make comments under their breath.

All the while, I am thinking to myself, "Haven't you been in my shoes?  Don't you know exactly what I am going through as I struggle to keep my child well-behaved in public?  Your reaction to me is one that implies I enjoy dealing with a loud child in public."

I just don't get it.  Where's the love?  Is it something that only exists when commenting on a blog post?

I have a part-time job at a retail store.  I see mother's shop with their children on a daily basis.  I hear them plead with their children to sit still.  I see them struggle as they try to get their shopping done.  I hear them apologize to me or fellow shoppers for how much noise they are making.  It is abundantly clear that these mothers are mortified and want nothing more to get what they came to buy and leave.

So, what do I do?

I approach the mother's and ask them if they need help.  More often than not, if children see me they either calm down and get shy or they want to talk to me.  Either way, it's easier on the mother and allows her to get done what she needs to.

Many times, I let the mother know I completely understand how she is feeling.  I tell her I have been in her shoes more times than I'd like to admit.

My goal as an employee and as a mother is to let these women know that I get it.  I completely, 100% get it.  And that I am not there to judge them.  I'm there to help them.  I'm there to let them know that they are not alone.

So, the next time  you find yourself in a store and  you hear a child throwing a tantrum, maybe just offer the struggling mother a smile.  

After all, you know exactly how she feels, right?


  1. YES! I do not understand the judgy mother thing. I do a lot of family law, and I am constantly reminding my childless clerks to be patient with people who come in with children. It's difficult and it can be embarassing, and until you've tried to make an over tired toddler sit still in a "quiet" environment, you can't judge. And after you have, how can you dare judge?

    Good post.

    And also, you're awesome for offering to help. I keep toys in my office for clients who bring kids in.

  2. Wonderful post! I've experienced the looks and the snide remarks as well. It's like when their kids grow up, mothers forget how hard it was; I don't get that.

    I hope many people take your post to heart. :)

  3. I love this post. It is very truthful.

  4. Absolutely! Having my own screaming banshees, I relate on so many levels. I've actually had one woman approach me and tell me I needed to learn to control my child. I was furious! Having lived through this, and know the frustration and embarrassment, I offer every parent with a fit-throwing child a knowing smile , or even a "hang in there" comment.

  5. Being in the education field...ie..the kid business... Children never bother me. Even when they are throwing their tantrums in the store, I don't stop and stare or place judgement. Besides, who am I to do so? My mom had four of us kids she had to tote around. I remember how difficult it was for her to do so! So, yes I too get it and I think you do a great job by extending your help for the moms that walk through your store. I'm sure they appreciate it!

  6. I'm a member of a Moms-with-3+ sons club - no girls allowed - LOL! I love your compassions and insight. We should all be like that!

  7. Emily, It sounds like you have quite a fulfilling and important job! Excited to read more from you, and have a happy Happy SITS Day!

  8. Such a true post. I hope mothers become more supportive of each other. Stopped by from SITS. Have a great SITS day!

  9. I've been lucky enough to find a group of moms in my area (I moved here when I was eight months pregnant) who are very supportive, non-judgmental and not at all competitive. But I think that's the exception rather than the rule. I haven't experienced much judgment from other moms yet, but I only have a nine month old. I always thought that the most judgy people were the ones who don't have kids yet. There is some sort of saying about how the only people who think they know everything about how to raise kids are people who don't have kids. That's been my experience so far. People who don't have kids think they would never do...x, y, z.
    Happy SITS day and I really enjoyed your post. I agree wholeheartedly. I always smile at other parents and I hope I'll always keep doing so, even when I'm old and grumpy.

  10. Oh I love this post! You are right on . . . we've all been there. I love that you try to help those poor Mommies out. I really appreciate it when people help me. How sweet of you!

    Stopping in from SITS.

  11. This is a very thoughtful and gives me a wonderful perspective on things! Thank you! Happy SITS day!

  12. I wish we all lived in tribes so we could all help each other all the time! I don't think we are meant to live seperately, motherhood is definitely a job for the whole community and is not just a one-person gig. Nice blog, keep them coming!

  13. I too am an employee at a gourmet food store and I get moms all the time with crying tantrum throwing children. I am always attracted to the child and try my best to cheer them upo even if it means sneaking them some free candy.The mom smiles a smile of relief and the child is now grinning from ear to ear.

  14. I always try to let the Mom with the upset child know that we have all been there! I remember when someone would kindly say that to me that I ALWAYS felt better and did not feel judged at all. I really do not understand the Moms that make judging looks. We have ALL been there. Well, the best we can do is to make sure our own actions are kind and understanding and hope that others will follow. Thanks for a great post. :)


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