It happened, my first public melt down as a new Mom. Here is its retelling, in full technicolor!
I was accosted today by a woman who felt I was a bad mother. The scene isn’t all that relevant except to say that it took place in a country where I don’t speak the language and where the general tone of communication borders on agitated. It didn’t rock me so much while it was happening, but I later yelled at my dog for something this very good and smart animal does all of the time, and proceeded to break down into tears in the street.
Why do any of us feel the right, obligation, or duty to judge others behavior? I wonder if this woman really thought I was hurting my three month old generally happy, healthy son by letting him cry in the stroller. Does she know that he sleeps on top of me all night so he won’t have to cry when he is hungry? Does she know that I stare at him all day with a love that fills my soul to bursting? Does she know that when he sleeps I secretly wish for him to wake because I miss him? No, she knows none of these things. Yet she felt it was her place, her prerogative to publicly scold me for letting my child cry warmly, safely nestled into his stroller while I walked around the track chasing my sanity.
Now that the fierce anger has left me I am sorely disappointed with myself for responding with anything other than gratitude. This woman was giving me a chance to smile, be gracious, and appreciate that a stranger cared about us. But that wasn’t what I felt. I felt judged, wronged. I could’ve opened my heart to this woman, thanked her for concern with a smile and body language conveying this, but that is not what I did. I met her concern with anger, annoyance, and hurt. At moments like this I am sad for myself, and for others, as I know I am not alone in such feeble attempts to find grace in times of trouble.
I share this with you, gentle readers, to offer a kind, gentle mediation for us all today on minding our own business. Of course, when does one draw the line? I mean, if I were to see an act of physical violence on the street I hope that I would arm myself with courage and intervene. But really, a crying baby in a stroller? Anyway, I am straying from my point. Cast not stones…..that is all I am saying. Mostly for myself, as I am gently reminded each day, this is the only behavior I have any control over and that, my friends, is a scary thought!