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?