Dear Other Mum at the supermarket…
…You smiled weakly at me as you passed me leaving the bathroom pushing your pram. Your face painted a thousand words. Exhausted and ready to give up the fight. I looked down at a small child, tugging your hand and leading you towards something he so desperately wanted. With a small sigh, you followed.
On passing you again, I noticed you at Customer Service as you quietly tried to explain the problem to the Customer Service Assistant. Your little boy, on the other hand, did not want to deal with the problem quietly.
I watched as your little boy threw himself to the ground, screaming at the top of his voice about a toy that he wanted and would not accept wasn’t available. I watched as you desperately tried to deal with his behaviour whilst gathering judgemental stares from others around. Then, I watched as the Customer Service Assistant looked at you impatiently, rolling her eyes to the person beside her. And I watched as your voice began to shake and I could see that you were at breaking point.
If only I could say that I spoke up when others were so judgemental of the situation you found yourself in and asked them if they had ever been in your shoes. I wish I could say that I told you that I understood how you were feeling and offered some kind of comfort – told you that we’ve all been the Other Mum. I want to say that I gently picked up your little boy, calmed him down and gave you some respite. But I didn’t do any of that.
I feel ashamed to say that all I did was watch.
Other Mum, I need you to know that I was afraid that you would think I was judging you; that you might think I was questioning your ability to parent. I have to tell you that I went home that evening, embarrassed that I did nothing and unable to sleep for wondering how you were.
What’s sad is that one day I will be the Other Mum. Tiredness will overcome me and my sweet little baby will have his moments. Those judgemental eyes will turn to me and at that moment, I’ll hope that somebody will be there to give me a nod of approval that I am being the best parent I can be.
So I’m here to tell you that today I promise to make a change. Rather than being a spectator, I’ll be a cheerleader. I’ll speak up against judgement and criticism, and offer the support that is needed, even if it’s just a reassuring smile. Because after all, one day we’ll be standing in your shoes as the Other Mum.
Love this honest written piece x
Love this! I find myself in these positions often being the watcher and also the mother. I get a few days break from my 2 sons during the week as me and their dad aren’t together anymore so I count myself quite lucky as I watch other mums go through the same as me and I sit/stand there childless thanking the lord that I have some freedom for a wee while, being a mother is sooooo exhausting. My son is not sleeping at the moment and I feel like a zombie most days. But I totally get this post and feel like I wrote it myself!
My son is exactly the same! After being a great sleeper, he has suddenly decided that 2am is good time to play and practice his crawling skills!
Too many judge others and we just need to stop, take a moment to remember that we’re all human and just support one another. Great post. #ThatFridayLinky
Lovely article, thank you. I find that deciding in advance to step in in future makes it so much easier, as does practice; the first time is the hardest! I think stress and tiredness makes it more difficult though, and I’m sure a lot of us have had moments when, due to not feeling totally on top of things ourselves, we haven’t responded in a way that reflects how we feel. The best thing to do is learn from it.
Definitely agree with this! Thank you, again, for reading my post ????
Love this. Women aren’t there for each other enough. But so often it’s because we’re dealing with our own insecurities and worries over the views of others. We are all the other mum.
I agree. I think worrying what others think is a huge part of it!
It is so tricky to gain the balance with other mums isn’t it? You never want to come across as the know it all mum but I find myself doing the same and wishing I had helped but I know as Mums we can say “oh its fine thank you” before bursting into tears in the car! #fortheloveofBlog
I’m usually that Mum! I say I don’t need help when what I really mean is ‘Help me please!’
What a lovely post. I think everyone experiences days like this. I’m sure she didn’t feel like you were judging her!
Thank you for reading ????
I think we have all been guilty of this at some point. We should all be more understanding.
Definitely! Thank you for reading ????
I think we can all relate to this. I know I can. I’ve been in both situations! #thatfridaylinky
It’s not nice to be in either situation. Thanks for reading ????
This is a lovely honest letter!!! I really loved it. It took me a long time to help interject and help a perfect stranger. You know where it happened for me? At the vet while this poor mom was trying to hold her upset toddler and a dog ready to get out of there! I felt so bad for her and normally my fear makes me the spectator but something said to help. Her eyes thanking me made me realize it was the right thing. Whew. We always leave situations evaluating how to do it differently the next time around and it seems like you know exactly what you will do =) #ForTheLoveOfBlog
Oh, that’s even worse having a toddler and dog to contend with. Lucky that she had you there to help. Thank you for your lovely comment and taking the time to read the post ????
This is both lovely and sad. I’ve been both sides. I think, as you stated, the reason we don’t step in is because we don’t want the other parent to feel worse. We’re not judging we’re empathising. It’s just hard to gauge if someone would be upset by our offering a smile or a hand. #blogstravaganza
That’s the most difficult part, being able to suss whether they actually *want* your help. Thank you for reading ????
Absolutely brilliant honest post people are so quick to judge great read Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please
They are, especially when a lot of the time they have probably been in that situation themselves! Thank you for your lovely comment!
Such s wonderful piece. So often I have found myself in a situation where I have wanted to say something. This is encouringing me that I should try. We all end up being the one with the child who is crying at some point. A smile and a kind word can go a long way. #blogstravaganza
They can and I’m sure when we’re in that situation, that smile or kind word will be just what we need! Thank you for your lovely comment ????
such a gorgeous post, I think because as a mum and as a bystander mum I can relate to what you are saying. It is true I often think I just want to help, but will I make another parent feel more judged if I do? Beautifully captured #Blogstravaganza
This is so lovely, we’re all on both sides of this at some point, i’m sure! I know I wish I’d spoken up a few times xx #fortheloveofblog
This is absolutely lovely, and so true. We’ve all witnessed this and done nothing to help, but it is really hard to know if we’d be over stepping the mark. We all get tired and need a break from time to time, it’s only human. It just so happens that our little people pick those days to really try us! Thanks so much for linking such a heartfelt post to #Blogstravaganza, it would be fab to see you again next week xx
This is just gorgeous, so true and something I bet every single one of us can relate to. They pick their moments don’t they, but a reassuring smile from a fellow Mum can often be enough to remind you you’re not alone xx #bloggerclubuk
This is great, and resonates with me a lot. And like someone said above, we’re all on both sides of this at some time. #bloggerclbuk
Such a great message. I’m sure every parent has been there and those who haven’t yet their time will come!
I’d like to think that in that situation I’d off a helping hand but like you I think I’d be too scared about how it would be received.
Great post #BloggerClubUK
This is so true – we’ve all been guilty of standing by and doing nothing to help, but when the shoe is on the other foot, imagine how happy we’d be to have someone step in and make the extra bit of effort to make everything a little bit easier x
Yes!! Too many people judge other mums, we need to stick together Mums United!! 🙂 x
So honest, and so true. I’ve wanted to help other mamas in similar situations, but always walked past and often regretted it afterwards. I think this is a lesson to us all to stop and support each other. x
This is a great, honest post. As women and mothers we should all be helping each other knowing the stress, anxiety we can feel, sadly a lot of people judge and a lot of times its people without children, we tend to judge in a situation that we don’t understand. I have been in a shop before and my little boy did similar he started banging his head on the floor, a lady behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said, “you do know what he wants don’t you, a good hiding!”
What a lovely post! I have been in her position too
There’s so much judgement in the world today, especially of parents. It’s such a difficult balance to get right, between coming across as supportive or as if you think you can do a better job and I think that’s why we hesitate to get involved (I know that’s why I do). But we’ve all been there and all had those moments, no matter how angelic our child might appear. When you’re that mum, it really does mean so much just to get a reassuring smile or word from someone to show that they’ve been there and they understand. #bloggerclubuk
I’ve definitely been in all situations here. I do judge, unfortunately I can’t help it, it’s natural. However I wouldn’t be judging her parent abilities here, I’d be judging the shop assistant for being so uncooperative!
After a hard night with my newborn, wracked with worry over the fact he may have colic I stood in a Q and the mum in front was dealing with her toddler who was kicking off and I realised then, once you overcome hurdle – there’s another. At that point my problem was colic, now it’s teething and before long it will be that my child gets bored – I vouched then to always try and be compassionate to all mums with loud children in shops!
I have had similar experiences and sometimes all that’s needed is a friendly smile in solidarity. Lovely post. Thanks for sharing on #fortheloveofBLOG
Wow, that’s so lovely. We’ve all been there and it’s nice to know that there are other mums supporting one another. Xxx
This is one of the reasons I’m glad I left the UK! The judgemental stares yet at the same time, more judgement if you shout at your child or God forbid smack the back of their hand as that is illegal. We’re not allowed to parent, then we’re reproached when we don’t. Having said that, I moved to a country where the indigenous race’s children are absolutely the worst behaved I’ve ever come across and everyone just happily smiles and says ‘oh they’re just kids’ so they get away with bloody murder. Not much better. Sorry you lost sleep over this. #bloggerclubuk
I’ve found that it’s often older people that are judgemental (and that was the case in this situation) which is frustrating because I have no doubt that they have been in a similar situation at one time. Time and experience seems to make them forget and be able to relate. And ‘they’re just kids’ is such a silly excuse. I think kids are more clued up than we give them credit for.
What a lovely post. It is hard for us to be brave enough to stop and offer help to a stranger but perhaps if we spread the word, more of us can help each other. Thank you x
Such a great heartwarming post, I know at times we are all guilty of staring undecided if we should assist from fear of a backlash, but I too promise if see a mother in that situation I will be offering assistance x
It’s a shame that we worry about it. You would think that it would come naturally.
I have two autistic grandchildren. I have often been the one with the child having a meltdown over a toy. I’ve grown a thick skin.
I think it’s sad that we should be made to feel like we have to grow a thick skin. People should support one another, especially when we don’t know other people’s circumstances.