A word to the wise...you really should refrain from putting your hands on any children other than your own; unless the situation is dangerous, of course. I went to pick up Mr. President #1 from aftercare the other day, and as we walked into his classroom to grab his backpack, he noticed the Peanut Free sign posted on the classroom door and pointed it out to me. That sign obviously caused a thought to come to mind, because he quickly turned to me and said, "Mommy, did you know I can't have peanut butter here?" I answered him by saying, "Of course not. Too many friends could have a peanut allergy, and since peanut butter is made from peanuts, you aren't able to bring peanut butter here." I could just tell there was another thought brewing in that amazing, precious mind of his, so I patiently waited to hear what revelation was next in line.
As Mr. President #1 grabbed his backpack and we began to make our way out to the parking lot, I noticed his shoe was untied; as I bent down to tie his shoe lace, one of two things was happening again: 1.) he really had to pee, or 2.) the thoughts were beginning to flow again. "Mommy, do you remember that time you let me have peanut butter, and apples, and crackers for breakfast," to which I replied, "yes." And Mr. President #1 went on to say, "when I told my friend I had peanut butter for breakfast, his mom grabbed me on the arm and it really hurt!" As Mr. President #1 stood in front of me holding his wrist, to demonstrate how this devil of a mother grabbed him, I quietly began to turn into SHE-ZILLA, and grow horns from the top of my head. This whole long thought process Mr. President #1 had just gone though was a clear indication that he really wasn't too sure about breaking this news to me. It had LITERALLY been MONTHS since he last had apples and peanut butter for breakfast, so he obviously knows me all too well.
Let me tell you something though...the grace of God is really a miraculous thing, isn't it? I mean...the grace of God kept this woman out of sight and unknown to me because, who knows what would have happened? If I had been in the presence of that mother when Mr. President #1 delivered this news to me, I am almost certain there would have been some rather "choice" words exchanged. I mean...was she serious? What in God's name possessed this woman to grab my child by the arm because he shared with a friend of his [who I am assuming was allergic to peanuts] that he had peanut butter and apples for breakfast? Nothing about that situation sat well with me, but I quickly pulled myself together and said to Mr. President #1, "We should never bring peanut butter to school, [which we did not], but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy it at home. And just so you know...it's never okay to put your hands on anyone at any time." I was pretty sure my little guy got the message, but he mumbled, "okay," and ran off to the car in his usual, six-year-old style.
Now that I've gotten all of my frustration out, let me put SHE-ZILLA back in her cage. I digress...where were we anyway, haha? Oh...When I arrived at the car and I managed to calmly get the boys strapped in, I sat in my seat and just took a deep breath. I'll admit it! I had a little "Come to Jesus" right at that moment. I really tried to give the other mother the benefit of the doubt, so I replayed the whole situation in my head. I'm sure she just heard the word peanut coming from Mr. President #1's mouth, freaked out, and just grabbed his arm to move him away from her child. What mother wouldn't have turned into a superhero to save her child from a life-threatening situation? I would not have grabbed anyone [child or not] to the point where my grasp was painful, but I am certain I would have reacted as well. In my opinion, the best resolution would have been for the mother to grab and remove her OWN child from the group [rather than touch someone else's] just in case there were peanuts around somewhere. Do you agree with me?
Just to note: I take allergies and school policies very seriously. I know that food allergies can often be dangerous, and even deadly, so I try to always be mindful of what Mr. President #1 has packed in his lunch.
This whole situation begs the better question though: Is it ever okay for you to verbally or physically reprimand someone else's child? I honestly have to say that it is never appropriate for you to touch a child other than your own unless your child and another are in danger. As previously stated, in this particular set of circumstances, the appropriate reaction would have been for the mother to remove her own child as opposed to someone else's. The same thing applies to tricky situations at the playground or during a playgroup. My advice would be this: If you see another child misbehaving or hitting your child, give it 60 seconds before responding to allow the other child an opportunity to stop misbehaving (if the other child is going absolutely nuts, remove your child immediately). If the behavior continues after 90 seconds, remove your child from the situation, and keep your thoughts to yourself. I know the latter part is a bit difficult, as I would probably say something to the other parent about his or her child acting out, but avoiding any further confrontation is probably best. And depending on the situation, even though some experts say, "hold your tongue," sometimes the obvious needs to be said.
Now to that other mother who decided she was going to grab my child--YOU ARE A JERK! Yes...I said it! It better not happen again. But in all seriousness, if I see her at some point, I will be sure to address the situation in an appropriate manner. I just can't let this one roll off of my back, and I'm ready to give her a piece of my mind, so I will be sure to let her know that her behavior actually caused pain to my child. Parents, listen up! We need to seriously act better and be accountable for our own behavior. Too many excuses are being tossed around. At this point, you have brought a life into the world, so grow up and act like an adult. You know who you are! Our children are looking up to us, so it's up to us to set a good example for them. Okay, that's it!!! Any advice on handling the situation from you? Please share!
My family has been dealing with a lot of loss lately, and honestly, I am not too sure what to make of it. My Uncle Bick passed away very recently, and as I reflect on our trip to San Francisco last week to deliver our final goodbyes, I am filled with so many different sentiments. As mothers, we have to remember that we too are human, which means we will experience a lot of emotion at times.
I think I was pregnant with Mr. President #2 the first time Mr. President #1 saw me cry. I was already hormonal and emotional, and something I was watching on the television just really did it for me. At first I was a little embarrassed when Mr. President #1 looked at me and said, "Are you crying, Mommy?" I initially attempted to hide the tears, but then I realized something...everybody cries at times; let me just explain to him what is happening here.
When I told Mr. President #1 that I was actually crying happy tears, he looked at me like I was crazy. I scooped up Mr. President #1, put him on my lap, and explained to him, "We all have happy and sad tears. Sometimes we just get so happy that we cry happy tears, and sometimes we feel so hurt that we cry sad tears. But the good news is that when we cry sad tears, eventually we become strong again." Mr. President #1 hopped up out of my lap, ran over to the table, grabbed a tissue and brought it back to me. When he extended his arm to me [tissue in hand] it was a sure sign he truly understood me.
I know some experts might argue that we should never let our children see us cry, or at least never let them see our vulnerable side, but what about happiness? Laughter and smiling are both expressions of happiness, which we all know is just another emotion. Should we hide our laughter and joy from our children too? Of course not! That would just be absurd.
With all of that being said, sometimes it's just necessary to LET IT OUT! When a loved one passes away...CRY. When the dog dies...CRY. When your son takes his first steps...CRY. When you close on your first house...CRY! Whether they're sad tears of tears of joy, life wouldn't be complete without the ups and downs. If those little ones see you shedding a few tears, just tell them why, and everything else will be just fine.
To my loved ones who have made a home in heaven...I shed a tear for you too. May you rest in eternal peace. Until we meet again...
I like to consider myself a young mother. Well...I USED to be one anyway! (wink, wink) I had my first child, Mr. President #1, at the ripe age of 24, and on a very regular basis, I was constantly falling victim to the unwanted and unsolicited advice from everyone else about how they thought I should be raising my children, or how they thought I should look or carry myself.
I love to give advice to young mothers in a "BEEN THERE, DONE THAT" sort of way, but for me, it was often hard to tell if the comments were genuine, or if some of y'all were just trying to get under my skin. Because I was once in their shoes, I am sharing this advice to save some of the young mothers from all of the agony and headaches I was subjected to. Motherhood is hard enough without all of the commentary from the rest of the world, so let's cut our young mothers a break.
Here are 10 of the most insolent comments I have received over the years. Whatever the cause may be, please make a little effort to NEVER UTTER any of these the next time you have an encounter with a young mother at the playground.
1. Are you their big sister?
Now I know you just heard that little boy call me MOM! Not that I'm trying to be rude or anything, but this might be one of those instances where you should probably just mind your own business!
2. You look sooooooooo young!
I'm sorry, but I really don't look that young. I'm 30 years old, so it's a little late for you to be mistaking me for a 16-year-old. Rather than trying to imply something nasty with your "you look so young" comment, just know that I'm all the way fabulous and keep it moving.
3. So...are you married?
Well if you would take a second to look at my hand, you would see that I am wearing a wedding ring. Regardless of that fact, why do some of you always have to assume that young mothers aren't married? Please stop. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a single mother, but this is not the case for all of us. I am a proud wife!
4. Do your kids have the same father?
This is probably one that offends me the most. It really does not matter if my children have the same father or not, but since some others are so concerned about this topic of discussion, the answer is YES.
5. Are you the babysitter?
Well......actually.......I'm not the babysitter. I'm their mother. But thank you so much for asking! Have a great day!
6. Are you planning to go to college?
Just keep 'em coming, why don't you!? I've already "been there, done that." I graduated from college before I had my children. This one can really make some young mothers feel unfulfilled and unaccomplished. Try building them up instead!
7. Do you have a job? What do you do?
The last thing I want to talk about at the playground is WORK! But since you insist......YES! I have a job! I probably make more money than you! And working mothers ROCK, by the way!
8. You don't "look" like a mom!
What does this even mean? What is a mom supposed to "look" like anyway? Mothers come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors, and come from all different walks of life. No two mothers look alike.
9. It's nice that you got it over with!
"Got it over with?" Really? News flash: you don't just get motherhood over with. I mean...come on now. Once a mother, always a mother. Motherhood is a responsibility a woman carries with her for a lifetime.
10. Did you get any stretch marks?
The nerve!!! Right? I know what you're thinking, and the answer is YES. Someone actually asked me this once. I have never been ashamed to admit that I do have stretch marks and an incision scar to accompany them. But I like to refer to these marks as my Battle Wounds and to my most treasured scar as my Badge of Honor.
I honestly don't know which is harder sometimes; being a mother or answering some of these ridiculous questions! The next time you see a younger mother at the local store or the neighborhood park, please refrain from asking her these questions. Besides, I'm sure she has heard them all before. Mothers, please know that you are awesome! If you hear the snide comments and questions, just keep it moving. You got this!