I was sitting in the germ infested pit (the play place at the mall) watching my kids playing around with the other children. I always sit close to the exit in an area where I can see the whole place. I do this because I want to see what they are doing and also to make sure they don’t walk out. This time I caught myself watching the other children more. I noticed how different they played from mine. In turn what they were getting in trouble for. I found myself disagreeing or agreeing with their parenting skills . “I wouldn’t punish him for that” or “go mom he deserved that one” are some of the things I was saying to myself. It really dawned on me how much not all moms are created equal.
Here’s how it happened. As I sat there taking pictures and trying not to be staring down at my phone after I took said pictures. I was determined not to get sucked into the social media world and focus on my kids even if they were occupied. My little Ana would come up and say look mommy I jumped so high. Look mom I’m standing on the flowers. Look mommy this and look mommy that. Meanwhile there was a little boy about 2 not to far from my Ana saying mommy, mommy, mommy… His mom was sitting next to me talking to her husband, she never looked up. He continued for a minute and after no response from either parent he went his merry old way. I remember thinking the least you could have done was acknowledge him
Another child was getting yelled at from across the pit which caught my attention. He was trying to escape. He was about 5 years old. So my thought was yup get him mom he should know better. Instead of correcting his actions she yelled at him at the top of her lungs do you want to go home. She seemed so angry. But why? She was visibly pregnant so may she was hormonal or possibly just tired. I mean I’ve been there for sure. She went back to her corner talking to her friend. With the occasional yell in between.
This same child grab another lady’s keys and begin to play with it. She was so busy on the phone that she wouldn’t have noticed. She grabbed the keys form the child. Makes the statement, “she needs to learn how to control her child. I sat there in disbelief . Was she talking to me? Was she looking for my agreement. My biggest disappointment is that I didn’t lash out at her.
How dare this woman judge another woman’s parenting? Are you that high and mighty that you can thro the stones at someone else? When did it start?When did we become each other’s critics? Here I was thinking these questions and I was doing exactly what I was condemning her for. When did we start forget that these young people are kids? They don’t always do things our way but guess what we don’t always do things our way either and we’re adults. What happened to days of being able to correct other people’s children? Being a help in the parenting journey instead of a bringing more stress to it.
Looking back at this situation there are many things I should and could have done differently to help the situation. The first is with the little boy trying to get his parents attention. I could have gotten the parents attention for him and made sure he was noticed and acknowledged. I should have acknowledged him myself and express my joy with his achievement. I should have recognized that the pregnant mom needed a break and kept an eye on her child for her to make sure he didn’t wander off. I should have been part of the village not the problem.
I urge you to take the time and help someone out today. Instead of ridiculing their parenting style, let them know that they are doing a good job. Offer to be part of their village. Invite them to interact with their kids while you do the same. Put down those devices! Let go of the cares and stresses of the day. Our little people are still just kids. Take time to listen when they ask for your attention, because after getting ignored so many times they stop asking and you have no clue what happened to shake their world and confidence in you. The next time you hear that little voice say “Look mommy look what I can do… Are you paying attention mommy?” I hope you will answer Yes! Let’s bring back the village, we need it!