I said I would never be her — that mom — the one with the kid with the dirty face and crusty nose. That’s never happening. Or the one in Target wrestling her kid back into the grocery cart, or gasp, the one with the child screaming at the top of his lungs. No, I rubbed my pregnant belly, told the sweet boy inside those scenarios would in no way ever be us.
Then Lil Man entered the world. He cried. He cried a lot. He hated riding in the car. What baby hates the car? We didn’t get out much, because when we did he screamed. Finally Hubby and I went out to dinner with Lil Man. We get to the restaurant and Hubby asked me what was on Lil Man’s face. It looks like dried peas I replied. Then I remembered he ate peas yesterday not today. Sniff, sniff, when’s the last time I showered? I was that mom with the crusty faced kid.
I was that woman who left her cart full of items at Target because her baby was screaming so loud and making a scene that I fled to the privacy of my car. I was that mom who had to wrestle her kid into the car seat, only being able to buckle him in when he had to take in another breath so that I could force the buckle together.
Just recently, we were out on a family outing to a big box store. It was very crowded. It was as if it was in slow motion as Hubby and I watched our son put his finger in his nose, pull out a boogie, and put it in his mouth. I gasped. Shocked. “We don’t eat boogies. Don’t ever do that again!” (a statement I thought I would never have to say). Lil Man laughed – not a giggle but a hee haw belly laugh that shook the entire grocery cart. Then he proceeded to do it again as I stared horrified. I looked at my husband and told him to push the cart faster, away from all of those gawking eyes as my son lost his breath laughing so hard. As we turned the corner, Hubby and I looked at each other and we too couldn’t hold back the laughter.
If I could go back in time, instead of giving those moms judgmental looks, I would instead offer a warm smile, a nod of understanding, a Hershey bar, because I now know what it’s like to be in their shoes. I’m sure there are probably Moms out there with kids who have clean faces and don’t eat their boogies. Good for them. But I wouldn’t trade the crusty faced boogie eating for anything.
So when you see ‘that mom’, don’t judge. Instead, extend a little grace.