It must be hard work to be perfect. To sit in judgement of all those around you. Even worse are the confrontations you have to get into, because non-perfect people usually don't take kindly to having their imperfections pointed out.
Such a confrontation happened to us recently, and it all started with trying to walk through a gas station with my 3 year old. Now I have pretty well behaved kids, but they are boys. And this one, in particular, thinks it is straight up hilarious to run into things.
Now if you live in Texas, surely you have heard of Buccees. If you haven't, it's a chain of gas stations that promote themselves as the clean bathroom capital of the world. Some of them are just small corner stores, but there are many, many "deluxe" versions (so to speak) that include aisles of home goods, toys, apparel, foods, and a large deli counter. These stores are a hot spot for travelers, especially buses. As a result, it is very crowded. With my son, crowds are treated like an obstacle course, with the goal being "How many obstacles can I bounce off of?" Yup, walking with him is delightful, but we needed a potty break and this is THE place for that, so we set off. He started jerking on my hand as we walked across the parking lot, I gripped him firmly and told him to walk nicely. He stopped suddenly, jerking me backwards a bit. Then he wanted to run forward. I repeated my instruction to walk nicely. Then we got inside. Oh the wonderland of people and things to crash into. We somehow made it back to the bathroom with only a few more admonishments from me. We enter the bathroom and he promptly rams into a wall, nearly tripping the person he cut in front of to do it. I mutter apologies and excuse mes, and we make it to the bathroom stall, where he bounces off my leg and hits his head in the toilet paper holder. He cries, I take the opportunity to say "Honey this is why you need to walk nice and be careful," as I kiss his head. We make it through the bathroom trip, I take him to Daddy and I take the baby to change him. When that is done, we have to discuss snacks and drinks. I take the kids to find snacks, Daddy works on our fountain drinks.
Well you know how sharks smell the blood of the wounded and start circling? Yeah, that's my 3 year old when I am trying to hold his hand and hold the baby. He's jerking my arm out of the socket, running into my legs, darting in front of people, the works. I am starting to lose patience and my stern mommy voice is starting to come out.
Somehow we make our selections and make our way back to Daddy. I hand him everything and start heading towards the door. That's when my monster.... Er... child , starts running into people's legs. Feeling about an inch tall and cheeks flaming, I apologize and increase my speed, hoping we can just make it out without incident. That's when he does it. My beautiful, intelligent child drops to his knees in the middle of the aisle. Like a ship that just dropped anchor, I come to a sudden stop that jolts my whole body, jars my teeth, and nearly causes me to lose my grip on the baby. Yup, that last shred that was holding my nerves together just snapped. I sternly and loudly told my child "Get up off of the floor and walk right or I am going to spank your butt!" He gets up and we manage to make our way out.
That's when it happened. My husband and I had separated prior to the dropping to the floor incident, so he was at the registers when the clerk a register down from him started muttering about my less than perfect skills as a mother. Something along the lines of "Ugh, how horrible! He's JUST a LITTLE boy." I was safely out and was none the wiser, too busy basking in the success of fresh air and the promise of containing the beast... Er...child... in a car seat. My husband, however, was unlucky enough to overhear the comments. He said "Excuse me, do you have children?" The girl, who looked to be about 16, said "Well.... No..." God bless my husband, he told her "Then you are clueless and you need to mind your own business."
I am sure that girl went home that night thinking "Please, God, help me to be a better mom than that lady." You know what, that's okay. I pray that about myself every night. I ask Him to help me be a better mother to the two blessings He has given me. But I still wish I had taken my child back into that store and asked her to hold his hand and walk for 10 minutes.