This weekend, Huff the Hubs and I were in Tulsa, OK making my seventh grade dream come true! You guys, I totally met the guys from Hanson:
You can totally tell that he’s super excited about taking a picture with me.
For lunch on Saturday (in between Hanson events) we went to The Cheesecake Factory. We were sat in the most horrid of places–the half both/half table thing that makes you sit by people you don’t know. This makes my misophonic-heart very uneasy.
We were seated next to a table of four older woman (when I say “older” they were all 55+. Suffice to say I think they were all grandmas or soon-to-be grandmas). Because we were in the dreaded half-booth/half-table, I could hear their conversations.
A few tables down, there was a mother in a green shirt with a little boy that was a tad younger than Huff the Babe, along with two other women and another youngin’.
Every few minutes, Green Shirt Momma’s little boy would shriek. Loudly. Honestly, it didn’t bother me. Huff the Babe does that all the time and I know its not her trying to make me jump, its her saying, “Hey! Look what I can do! I can make a loud noise! Isn’t this AWESOME?!” Plus, I was just happy to have a meal with my husband, out in public, and not have to worry about my kid screaming.
The screaming, however, was not overlooked by everyone. People kept turning their heads to give the mother annoyed glances. The glances I could understand. What I could NOT understand were the remarks by the four old ladies sitting next to me:
“I wish I could give them a to-go bag so they could go.”
“That mother isn’t in control of her child.”
“You may have to pitch in for bail money because I’m gonna go slap that kid.”
“This is one of those moments when a muzzle like in Silence of the Lambs would come in handy.”
I could not believe what I was hearing. My hands were shaking and I felt myself resisting the urge to reach over and slap those women.
I looked down at the mother. She knew everyone was looking at her. She scrambled to find books, toys, spoons–anything to keep her child quiet so people wouldn’t look at her and judge her.
I watched as she took the baby to the bathroom, presumably to change his diaper, and saw that tears filled her eyes. I could feel myself in that situation. I too, know how it feels to try to hold it together while your child is freaking out in public. I know the feeling that everyone is looking at you and judging you, thinking that you’re a horrible mother. I’ve gotten the dirty looks and the seen people whispering behind their menus. I’ve fought back tears in a crowded restaurant.
In that moment, I wanted to scream at the women next to me. I wanted to reprimand them for their horrible, awful remarks. I wanted to flip their table over like Jesus did to the people in the temple and start whipping them.
But, I didn’t. I decided to do something a little bit more peaceful. And hopefully something that gave her a blessing and made her feel good about who she was as a mother.
I went to her waiter and asked, “Are you waiting on the woman in the green shirt with the little baby?”
He looked scared. I knew the Bitter Biddies next to me had probably already complained to him, and he probably thought I was next. “Yes…” he replied nervously.
“I want to pay for her meal,” I said.
“Really?” the waiter said, surprised.
“Yes,” I told him. “And I want to write her a note on the receipt, so could you please make sure she gets it?”
I saw Green Shirt Mom return from the bathroom as I was taking my seat. She was a little pink-faced but seemed to be keeping it together. Her kid kept squealing–much to the annoyance of the Biddies–and I couldn’t have been happier.
When the waiter brought her check to me, I wrote a simple note: “I have a twenty-month-old. I know how difficult it can be to go out to eat with a little one in tow. You are doing a GREAT job! Happy belated Mother’s Day!”
I don’t know how she reacted to it. I hope she felt blessed. I hope she felt like she was not alone in her “mommy struggles”. I hope she realized that not all people are Judgy Judgersons and that there ARE people out there who understand what you’re going through.
Please don’t misread me, I’m not saying this to toot my own horn or fish for compliments. I’m sharing this story because I feel like we as women need to stop bashing one another and judging each others’ choices. We need to stand up for one another and be our biggest cheerleaders! We need to support those fellow moms out there who are trying to be the best they can be for their kids. Let’s show love and support, and, should the opportunity arise, free cheesecake. 🙂