Today I was THAT mom. The mom we never want to be. The mom we’ve all judged. The mom who blames herself for allowing her unruly children to disrupt a public establishment. As I frantically stormed out of the movie theatre with two crying (ok, one was screaming) children, I couldn’t help but shed a few tears as I felt like the huge failure we never want our children to see in us as parents.
In the past, many times, I’ve been guilty of judging moms with the screaming toddler on the cereal aisle, but today my emotions shifted to the other side of the fence and wow, did it feel terrible. As my children managed to ruin a major motion picture event for a theater full of other paying customers, I found myself hopeful that the mother sitting next to me had been there once too and was willing to forgive my child’s unwelcome behavior. But, let’s be honest, movies are expensive and I know somewhere in the dark theater, someone was passing judgment on my “poor parenting.” In that moment, I thought of all the times I’d judged the “terrible mom who lets her kids run amuck in public,” and I felt truly sorry for each and every mother who has ever been THAT mom.
My son, who is really too young to attend a movie in a theater, was out of control, off schedule, and wanted to get down and play. I wanted him to take a nap (I should’ve known better). The collision of our two very strong-willed personalities resulted in disaster and made for a very disappointed 4-year old who desperately wanted to see the end of the movie. Trust me, we couldn’t exit the theater fast enough!
For the most part, my kids are pretty well behaved and have suitable behavior when in public, but today was one for the record books. For a while, I wasn’t sure we’d ever leave the house again. After a few days of licking my wounds, I came to the realization that my terrible theater experience left me with some really valuable lessons. Next time I see a mother with a screaming toddler, I won’t be so quick to judge. I’ll consider offering assistance, a friendly smile, or an “I’ve been there.” I’ll give my kids more credit when they are exceptionally behaved in public. I’ll not be so concerned with what others think because I know I’m a good mom regardless of an epic meltdown. And finally, I’ll always expect this situation to arise again, after all … kids will be kids.