Not all people who choose not to have children do this though. I have very good friends who are happily married without children and I have never heard them utter a word. We joke about kids but they are never rude or thoughtless about it. I value them greatly.
I have been a mom since I was 17 years old. I have been through a lot of rude stares. Then, it was undoubtedly due to my age and the assumption that I had no clue as to what I was doing. I found out that at 29, when I had my second child, I still had no clue what I was doing. I just kept doing my best. With my second and third child the stares weren't about my age but instead they were due to whatever bad behavior my child was exhibiting at the moment. Meltdown in the grocery store? Oh yeah. Hitting another toddler at the park? Sure. Crying in a restaurant because I refuse to let them get up and run around the table? You bet. Crawling down the middle of the aisle at church while dressed as an angel during the Christmas pageant??? Abso-freaking-lutely. That. Happened.
Some of the worst behavior I've ever witnessed though isn't from my children or anyone else's. It's usually from adults, often other moms. In fact, other moms are sometimes the worst. Don't believe me? Join a moms group. These are people who have been where you've been and still behave badly. It's nuts.
|YIKES!!!! I think she ate the small child from whom she stole that hat!|
It all started about 3 months after I became a stay-at-home-mom. I found a local moms group to join because I needed to have a conversation with someone who didn't poop their pants six times a day. I was pregnant with my third child at the time. I even talked one of my friends into joining with me so we could go to playdates together. Her argument against it was because these groups always had a bunch of drama. I made her join anyway.
It started out pretty good. We met a few other moms who were nice and friendly. Then all of a sudden part of the group split off and started a new group. So I told my friend that we should join that group too so we can meet more people and do more stuff, plus a few of the moms I had met were in this other group. So we applied to join. (Yes, you have to apply to join most mom groups so they know you're not some weirdo out to steal children... or possibly a spy.) Anyway, we applied and were accepted into the group by one of the members. A day or so later we each received an email asking how we got into the group and who we were because it was a 'closed group' and we weren't supposed to be in it. No, I'm not making that up. We said we applied because we knew this person and that person and we were let in. Well, turns out we weren't 'okayed' by the right person. See, this is where we found out that there was a huge drama-fest going on between some members of the two groups. We ended up getting kicked out of the second group because although we were just up for 'Margarita Night' some members thought for sure we were spies. You know, because 'moms groups' are hardcore when it comes to stealing craft ideas or stain removal tips. Again, not making this up. A few weeks or so later they let us back in which wasn't weird or awkward at all.
During this time, my friend would call me everyday saying, "I told you so. These women are all nuts!" We had a lot of laughs. We both stayed in the first group and ended up making some wonderful friends. That's how I met Danyelle.
I also met several of my other close friends through that group and I will be forever grateful. I witnessed a lot of mom on mom hate crimes in that group but I also learned the value of having other women around who are going through parenthood right along with you. Just like it's great to have a buddy or group of buddies in running, it's really important to have that group of moms or dads who understand first hand what it's like to clean up puke at 3am when all you really want to do is cover it with a towel and call it good.
So, moms, dads, remember to be kind when you see the mom or dad with the kid in full on meltdown. Remember that a kind smile instead of an irritated stare will help them to get through what is already a very difficult time for them. Remember that some moms really just want to go out for margarita night with no ulterior motives.
Now when I see people stop and just stare at the struggling parent, I stop and stare at them. And whether your kids 'never acted like that' or not, a smile or kind gesture is always the best way to go. We have no idea what anyone else might be going through on their journey. Kindness doesn't cost a thing but it has tremendous value.
Peace, Love, Happiness!