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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Scene on the Street...

This was one of the blog titles I was thinking about writing when I first thought about a blog and the name empathetic mom.   I see people being unkind to each other much more than I would like to admit.  Whether it's a sign of the times, our lives being hectic, pressure filled, overscheduled and stressed, it's no excuse.  It's a disease and it's spreading.

Now that I am a Mom, when I see another Mom being mean, rude or unkind to the cashier, waitress, dry cleaner, fellow Mom or whomever, I think, wow, that's someone's Mother and that's a bummer for that kid.  I really feel for the kid.  Kids learn what they see from their parents and some of these instances I've seen don't bode well for the development of a kind empathetic kid.

Which brings me to my "scene on the street" story.  Unfortunately, this one involved me.   I was able to get to the gym this morning.  The gym I now belong to has child care which is quite nice.  I worked out and then headed back to the kids room to pick up my daughter.  The entrance way into the kids room is made kind of narrow since they put some planters there, so there really isn't much room to pass someone without physically pushing them out of the way.  Keep in mind the entry way is no more than 4 yards, NOT LONG!  I was drinking my water in peace walking in that entry way and got that feeling you get when someone enters your personal space right behind you.  You know that feeling, when you feel the presence of someone so close, you have to turn around.  So I did, and there she was.  Literally, less than 6 inches from my face.  The last time I remember someone I didn't know this close to me was on the dance floor on spring break in Cancun years ago.  Anyhow,  I jumped, I was startled.  It was bizarre.  She didn't say a word, and  I didn't move since we were right at the entrance to the kids zone where you have to turn this key to get in (so the kids don't get out).  She made some weird huffing noise, like I wasn't doing it fast enough.  I chose to bite my tongue and not say anything.  Once in the room, I was signing the clipboard that signs my daughter out which happens to be on top of this cubby where parents leave their diaper bags and stuff.  It's a SMALL space, and this Mom pushes her hand on my leg to move it to get into one of the cubby holes.  This time I looked at her like "REALLY?, did you wet your pants?".  Again, I didn't say a word, then she said, "excuse me" in the shortest angriest tone that had no place in the happy kids zone.  If there were flowers in there, they would have wilted.

I walked into the play area, with the counselors telling me my daughter was a 'delight', 'so sweet', a 'doll baby', 'wonderful with the other children' (of course, this is not always the case).  And this women was greeted by a crying son, who the counselors proceeded to tell her had been fine until he saw her.  I sort of immediately felt better about the situation since I had been debating whether to say something to her or not, but as I have learned so many times in the past, sometimes saying nothing says it all, it catches up in the end.  And,  I didn't give her the platform to vent whatever hostility was pent up in that body of hers and didn't get out during a workout.  I did consider the idea that she might have to poop as excessive exercise does get those catecholamines going, thus the rush, but she was still there after I had left so I ruled that one out.

I don't know what is going on in her life and for all I know, her world could be falling apart around her.  She could be an anxious person, her husband may be cheating with his high school girlfriend he reconnected with on facebook, she could be getting her period, she could have missed her morning coffee, she could just be having a bad day.  The point is, all of the above may be true, but that doesn't give anyone the right to be mean and rude.  And by the way, I'm a Mom too, we're all in the same boat and can show a little more compassion towards each other.  Now that's the kind of modeling behavior that would be beneficial for our kids to witness.  Kids are sponges and they are watching us every minute.  Things you don't think they see or hear, they do.  What they learn from us, they will take to school, to interpersonal and work relationships.   Unlike some people in the public eye who deny their roles as role models, we are parents and we are role models and that is part of the job and it's non-negotiable.  You chose to be a parent, so be one.


ksc said...

I loved this post for so many reasons. First and foremost, "taking the high road" and not ripping a woman like this a new one is something that I have a verrrrrrrrrrrrrrry hard time doing. My blood would be boiling, but you sounded so cool about the whole thing. I am inspired to take the high road the next time I am in a situation like this. Because you are right-- who knows what kind of day she is having but WHY should you let her ruin your mood. Second, I lol'ed several times-- thank you. I am 37 and "poop" makes me laugh. Third, you are totally right and I needed the reminder: We are role models and our kids are sponges. My baby girl is only 6 months old but she is starting to comprehend more and more every day-- how I behave matters!!!! Thanks for sharing!

jessjax said...

You are brilliant! BB (before Bex) I was a highly impatient person, I was the one on the line huffing and puffing when the cashier was going slow or needed a price check or the customer in front of me was chatting on her phone rather than checking out. I don't know if it was the New York in me or just genetics as my Dad is also this way but after 14 years of living in FL you would think some of this would wear off. Well it didn't until I had Bex. Now I'm the Mom that if you have one or two items you can go ahead of me or having a bad day, yes you too move along I have all the time in the world and you my friend need it more than me!
Besides I really do believe in Karma and that is a big part of it but having a child really makes you understand what is most important in life and you know she/he is only young once you have to soak up every minute of it! Especially if you are an older Mom and may not have any more children:)