You can always find the mothers…

I recently had the joy of dealing with a nuclear-level toddler melt down in the middle of a fairly nice restaurant. And by nice restaurant I mean they had cloth napkins and a hipster bartender.

In defense of the Little Dude, we sort of set him up for the perfect storm. We had been on a long car ride home after nearly two weeks away. We were all hungry and all tired and it was dinner time. While Little Dude hung in there as long as he could, he just couldn’t take much more.

After eating a lot of fast food, we decided to stop in a restaurant with printed menus and an actual wait staff. That, too, was probably too much to expect, but we had high (and naive) hopes. We ordered our food and then I took Little Dude to the bathroom for a diaper change. Then it happened – there was an automatic soap dispenser, and he couldn’t get enough of it. Such wizardry!

There was only one bathroom and we couldn’t be in there all day, so I pulled him away from the bathroom as he started to scream. I saw our waitress (who mentioned she was a mother of five herself) go into high-speed food delivery mode, employing two bus boys to get our plates to us. But it was too late. Little Dude was tired, hungry, and wanted liquid soap dispensed via the magic motion-detecting soap dispenser. I felt my lips purse to the point that I thought I was going to suck my lips and cheeks clear off my face. As he arched his back and screamed, I felt my face flush red and I looked across the dining room to see four or five heads pop up – some with looks of understanding, some worried, some wondering if I was about to beat my child because I clearly looked like I was about to go insane. They were the mothers. And I could tell they all got it. They all had been there. (The hipster bartender scowled at us, by the way.)

I made my way to the door with him, hissing at The Sarge, “We’re going outside, I’m not going to let this happen in here”.

We went out the front door in a screaming, shushing flurry, and I put Little Dude on a bench. His tantrum immediately ended. He saw a mailbox and went to play hide and seek behind it. To the casual onlooker, I held a conversation with a giant blue mailbox for about 15 minutes.

Finally, I asked, “Are you hungry? Because I’m hungry. But we have to sit and be good in the restaurant, okay?” And he nodded, and we went back inside. He gobbled at his spaghetti and declared he was done, so The Sarge took him back outside. The waitress re-appeared, touched my shoulder and asked, “Are you okay?” It was the kindest thing anyone could have done for me in that moment. One mom just checking in on another in the most gentle way possible. I said yes, asked for the bill, and left a big tip.

I learned a valuable lesson in how not to set us all up for failure and unavoidable hunger-related tantrums. I’m also glad that in a moment of what felt like a parenting fail I experienced a moment of kindness from a stranger. Note to self: Return the favor…again and again.

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

When you need a win…

I’ve been talking to people lately about those times when you just need a win. Well, not people. Me, I’ve been talking to myself, a lot, about this topic.

You deserve a WIN.

You know the feeling. Those days, weeks, months, where nothing happens for long, long stretches of time. I think it’s a common stay at home mom malady. Yes, you’re raising children and that’s important. You love them and everything is going great, they eat well, and they sometimes have manners. But, let’s face it, you really don’t know how that project is going to turn out for at least another 15 years. You should be happy with that and pleased. You are rocking as a mom. But there is a part of you, the non-mom part of you, that is still there under the yoga pants and ponytail that wants a win. The type of win you got when you were a working gal.

Slam dunk! IN YO FACE!

You know those days when you really killed it at the office? You gave a killer presentation to the VP. Or you got the entire contents of the back storage room out on to the sales floor, and everything was stocked and staged and beautiful? Or you captivated your classroom with a history lesson that entertained and educated? Or you led a yoga lesson that was so frickin’ zen you think half the class officially reached enlightenment?  Or you simply had a day at work that was so busy it felt like time flew, and when you got into your car you felt competent, needed, and empowered.

And I mean “competent, needed, and empowered” in a different way than it feels to be a mom. You’re competent, needed, and empowered as a mom. But let’s face it, it’s because you and I are the ones who know how to make the macaroni and cheese and can stop the shower from making that weird screeching sound.

Man, I want that feeling. I need that feeling.

I really want that feeling. I really need it. For my sanity, and for my sense of self-worth. I’m not quite sure how to get that feeling. I’m working on it though, and when I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, I’m going to celebrate little victories, like getting my eyeliner to look on point every morning, and actually getting the folded laundry from the dryer to the proper drawers, and trying to not cook pasta like five days in a row.

Gotta start somewhere right?

Because I’m not a great photographer I rely on the talent of others. Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash. Thanks, Nik.