This past weekend was quite trying for my ego. Friday, as I was picking up the kids from daycare, one of the little girls asked, “What’s wrong with your nose?” Until that point, I didn’t really think anything was wrong with my nose. Yeah, it’s pretty crooked at the end, but it’s a nose, noses do that. I asked my husband and sister their thoughts and neither said that there is anything terribly wrong with it. In fact, my sister responded (in her text lingo), “Honestly, I never noticed ur nose b4,” Gee, thanks?? I am assuming she has looked at me before, but maybe not.
Thanks to that 4-year-old, I now have a nose complex.
And then Saturday….oh Saturday… I bravely decided to enter the Panera that my husband manages (and was working at that day) with my 8-month-old and 3 1/2 year-old and attempt to eat lunch. Until that point, I was kind of having an “I am a rock star” mom kind of morning. My baby napped well, we went to the toy store together and survived, and had great plans to hit the nature center after lunch. Go me, right?
So, lunch is what I would expect it to be with one parent, a baby, and my feisty preschooler. The baby was pretty good although a little restless. My 3-year-old was hyper from the attention from daddy’s coworkers and was hopping seat to seat and not eating much despite my efforts. This is nothing unexpected because 3-year-olds aren’t always great eaters, and my daughter has a disease that makes it painful for her to eat (Eosinophilic Esophogitis) so mealtime is generally trying. I am sure I will blog more about her condition at some point, but not necessary for this story.
So, as we are winding up lunch — after I had gotten some food in her and made one difficult trip with them both to the bathroom– a “kind” woman approached me. The conversation went like this:
Woman: Hi, are you ok?
Me: Yes, I am fine.
Woman: Well, my friend and I were watching you and were a little concerned. I am a kindergarten teacher and also teach mommy & me classes — don’t know if you have ever done anything like that? Anyway, we were concerned and just wanted to make sure you were okay. I would be happy to watch your baby so you can (kind of gestures towards my daughter).
Me: No, we are just leaving. I am fine thanks (all said with my winning smile and crooked nose).
And that was the end of it — well, not really, because I was almost in tears and I am still thinking about it three days later. I was so upset that what she saw was a mother that needed help with her children when, although I wasn’t smiling and probably was a bit frazzled, I thought I had things under control.
Was she seeing something I don’t – is my daughter really running all over me? Perhaps she hit a nerve because I do worry my daughter doesn’t listen, but I also know she is three years old — and mealtimes are tough for her and for us. My brain started wondering if maybe I did need help! My husband and other moms have reassured me that she was out of line, my kids and experience is normal, and that one woman’s comments shouldn’t make me question my own confidence as a mom. But most mom’s I know do second guess themselves constantly — and then to have something “kindly” pointed out! Ouch.
She didn’t know me, my daughter, her health issues, or our situation, but she thought she had the right to offer me help – I felt judged and embarrassed. I own that those are my feelings and it was not her intent to make me feel that way, of course. But I think and talk a lot about parenting in both my personal life and with my career – I could probably teach a Mommy & Me class which made it that much more offensive to me.
And I know she was trying to be kind, but I think she was out of line. If my child is bloody and screaming on the floor, then ask me if I need help and if I am okay. I wholeheartedly believe that it takes a village, but I prefer to know the villager and that the villager know me.
I try my best to be a good mom. It is a hard job that us moms are judged on all too often. Please be careful how you view a mom with “out of control” kids. Put things into context, ie I was by myself with two small children in an “uncontrolled” environment and neither was crying or being neglected. Your offer of kindness is based on a judgement that may or may not be accurate. And, seriously, did she really think I was going to hand over my baby to her? Is that what they teach in Mommy & Me classes?
So, needless to say, it was a tough weekend. My nose is wrong and the nosey lady was wrong. Both had me examining myself much more closely – I hope I am safe to say that my nose isn’t so bad and neither is my parenting.
Oh, and we had fun at the nature center (yep, got to get the cute kid pic in the hollowed out canoe in somehow!). Take that nosey lady.