I loved Erin’s Parenting Post blog on how she felt judged when she took her son Alex with her to pick up a few bottles of wine for a dinner party (not a frat party or binge-drinking fest!). I actually was judged hardcore over the weekend. On Saturday JD and I joined our friends Megan, Dustin and Riley for a day at the NJ Children’s Museum. All of the exhibits are “Please Touch,” so the kids had a blast. Since we were out all afternoon, naptime went out the window and we didn’t really care because we knew it meant the kids would go to sleep 1-2-3 that evening. After two hours and change at the museum we were all starving and it was closing in on dinnertime. We decided to go to The Cheesecake Factory. YUM!
When we got there we discovered there was a 30-minute wait. Crap. The kids seemed OK at the time so we entertained them with Matchbox cars, our keys and let them press their hands against the dessert case that contained mouthwatering cheesecakes in flavors like Key Lime (OMG SO GOOD!) and Peanut Butter Chocolate chip. Well, ten minutes into waiting JD began to meltdown. He’s 3. He was tired and hungry. I hugged him, whipped out his sippy cup and a bag of pretzels. Soon, we were seated and since it was busy, the waiter took forever. JD and Riley started singing and banging silverware and acting silly. We ordered. The kids filled up on bread and chips and guacamole. They thought this was dinner. They were full and wanted to leave. JD stood up in the booth and started dancing. We ate while telling the the kids to sit down on repeat and force-feeding spoonfuls of Mac N’ Cheese into their little mouths. "Yum, yum, come on! Mmm, mmm!"
Now I was tired. Me, the adult. It was a long day. JD and Riley were racing a Matchbox car back-and-forth and it was falling on the floor under the booth every time. And Megan and I were taking turns crawling under the table. Enough. We got the check and paid. JD was standing and stomping in the booth. I grabbed him, our jackets and my purse and ran out of the restaurant.
Once in the mall, JD took off and I ran after him with my heart in my throat. It was really crowded and I hate, HATE when JD runs away from me, thinking it’s funny. Well, he’s three and he does think it’s funny, I guess. When I caught up to him I grabbed his hand and changed my tone. I didn’t scream. I didn’t yell. But, I did put on my mom voice. My mom voice is short and a little cold.
“You need to stop. Put your jacket on and hold my hand. Enough,” I said. JD knows my mom voice. He did what I said.
Well, a mom with a sleeping infant strapped to her chest in a baby carrier gave me the nastiest, most ugly look and rolled her eyes at me! She looked at me like I slapped JD across the face or called him a brat, when all I did was reel him with my mom voice. Reel him in so he wouldn't run away from me and get lost. LOST IN A MALL. My friend Dustin who was following behind noticed and said to me, “Holy, did you see the look she gave you?”
“Yeah, I did. I don’t care,” I said. After a day of museum fun and a dinner that I ate at warp speed because the kids were acting nutty, all I wanted to do was leave. Get the hell out of the mall and home to my cocoon where I could put on leggings and an oversized sweatshirt, wash my face, put my hair in a bun and watch a rerun of a sappy romantic comedy on TBS like The Wedding Date.
We caught up to Dustin’s wife, Megan, who was wrestling her almost 2-year-old on the floor trying to get her jacket on while the baby screamed, tears rolling down her eyes. The kids were exhausted. Day over.
Sometimes parenthood doesn’t look like a pretty mom with a sleeping baby strapped to her chest. Sometimes it does. Let’s not judge each other, because one day the sleeping infant that is incapable of walking or talking will start. And everything will change. That said, yeah, sure I've judged other moms. In my head. Last summer at the beach there was a kid with boogers dripping down his nose into his mouth and his mom was like, la-la-la. I didn't roll my eyes at her or do anything that would lead her to think I was thinking, OMG, clean his nose! Though, I did want to hand her a wipe. (JD is really clean.) The other day in Target, a mom had a complete sh*t fit because her five-year-old wet his pets. She screamed, "What is wrong with you! You're 5!" to him. I felt bad for the kid. I didn't say a word or make a face. I minded my own business. No one knows what's going on in a stragner's life. The mom in the mall had no clue I was a single mom raising my son alone every, single day. And to Erin's point, sometimes I buy wine. And JD is with me. It's OK. JD is with me for everything I do. He came running into the bathroom this morning when I was peeing.
When was the last time a mom judged you? Ugh! So annoying!