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Don’t Be This Mom

“Are you serious? Did you really just say that?” I found myself saying to this stranger. This tired mom didn’t look up at me. We were at the airport, together, waiting for our luggage. Together, we were each holding a child. Side by side we sought our car seats in the oversized baggage area. Together, our eyes darted through and around the crowd to keep track of our other boys.

another mom

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How to Avoid Being Shameful to Another Tired Mom

When I moved my body towards the designated car seat deployment area, I tripped over a sweet boy who didn’t see me. I can’t blame him. I didn’t see him either. I was intent on finding my car seat, while keeping a close eye on my 6 and 5 year olds off in the distance.

I felt his soft hair with the palm of my hand to gently move past him so as not to knock him over, or bump him. Little guys running around my legs hanging onto me, bumping me, I can handle that much.

That is when I noticed the mother. She bent down and looked her son in the eyes. At this point I found my lips begin to curve up in a warm smile because that’s just what we’re supposed to do, get down to our child’s level and talk to him like a human being. Any warmth I felt at that moment was stripped away from me in an instant with these words:

“You have to say ‘excuse me’. Now, she could have said ‘excuse me’, too, and set a good example.”

Followed quickly by a knife cutting into my cold skin.

That’s when I looked down at her and asked her: “Do you realize I am less than a foot away from you? I hear you. “ I bent down to catch her eye. She turned away. She stood up. She walked away from me.

another tired mom

She continued to ignore me, or at least it seemed that way, but I know she heard my words.

This situation didn’t feel right to me. I walked up to her, placed my body in front of her, made her look at me, and said: “I get it. I have three boys. I just travelled all day, too. I am tired. I feel a bit defeated by TSA, lines, and sweating on a cramped airplane. But listen, you and me? We’re in this together. You and me. We have to remember that fact.”

She didn’t acknowledge me with words. She gently brushed past me to grab her five year old who was about to jump onto the baggage claim belt and simultaneously said: “Here is our bag. Let’s go.”

She looked over her shoulder at me. Her glare softened and our eyes met.

How can we avoid be shameful to other tired, hardworking moms? We can create mantras that remind us that we’re in this journey as one raising human beings to be adults in an uncertain world. We can focus on the fact that we all have tough days and good days.

Getting caught up in a moment, having a difficult day, choosing the wrong words while trying to do the right thing is something to which we can all relate. Being aware of those weak and vulnerable moments ahead of time is the truly challenging task for which we don’t have the space in our lives. You see, though, we need to make the space if not for ourselves but for each other. The message we send to our kids about challenges, about hard things, about triumph, about heartbreak, about community, about togetherness, about support, about friendship, about parenthood, about motherhood ring loud and clear every day. We have to work to carry one another down the path. We’re in this together, friends, you and me. Let’s not forget that fact.


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