So I’m on the floor of Trader Joe’s this morning, my cart full of groceries and my preschooler, my arms full of screaming writhing toddler in full-on tantrum mode, when some old lady comes over and touches my son’s face.
Listen, I know there’s some new trend of “helping” struggling moms in public by trying to distract them or… de-escalate or something? And admittedly, it’s a much better trend than the ole bitch about how crappy a parent she is loudly enough for her to hear you one of yesteryear. We’re working toward compassion as a society and I think that is wonderful.
Woman, I had it under control. My son is at that age of obliviousness where he continues to monologue about whatever he’s thinking about even as the apocalypse hits so he was fine. He was talking about The Grinch and didn’t need a stranger touching him to make him feel better. In fact, he was like, “Mom, why did that stranger touch my face? I didn’t like it.” So thanks for making me apologize to my son for not protecting him from unwanted touching. That’s my first of all.
But after that, she tried to get in my face–actually, between my face and my daughter’s–to tell me how beautiful my daughter’s eyes are. And you know what? Yeah, yeah they are. They’re even prettier when she’s not clamping them shut and screaming with the full force of her mysterious banshee powers. But that’s not really what’s important right now, is it? (Also, she’s more than pretty eyes, bitch. She’s smart, strong, fearless and amazing and she doesn’t give a damn about your shallow compliments).
Mind you, I wasn’t also crying on the floor. I wasn’t screaming, I wasn’t losing my cool. I was very calmly balancing an angry python who could strike out and bite me with her venomous fangs at any moment. I was whispering in her ear and kissing her face and trying to soothe her, actually. I was asking her to tell me what she needs (because she can so she should), asking her if she was hungry, if she wanted hugs, if she needed naps. Eventually–you know, after I swatted away all of the “helpful” people distracting me from taking care of my children–she said Yes she wanted an apple. So I gave her an apple, sat her in the front of the cart, and she sat there calmly and ate for the rest of the shopping trip. Homeboy at the register gave me the apple for free too so I win at life all around today.
Ya’ll, I got it under control. For real. If I didn’t for some reason (because sometimes I really don’t), I’d leave the store, buckle my children into their car seats to keep them safe, and drive somewhere uncrowded to do some crying until I could get my own self under control. Then I’d take care of whatever was making my kids upset. And everything goes back to being ok again.
As for the “helpful” people in public, I mean… consider your motives AND the actual situation before you decide to insert yourself into someone else’s circumstances. Maybe ASK if they need help first and respect them if they say no.
And DON’T TOUCH OTHER PEOPLE’S BABIES without their permission! Like, I shouldn’t even have to mention that. Do you want me touching your baby? Do you want me, a total stranger, to touch your face when you’re upset? Do you want me to get in your face while you’re struggling with your life problems?
That woman is out there somewhere congratulating herself on a job well done while I’m over like, This Bitch.
“So I said, ‘what beautiful eyes you have’ and she said, “The better to see where to aim my fury at your oppressive patriarchal values, gender traitor!'”
I’ve got enough to do without being a martyr to someone else’s hero complex. Please take that misplaced altruism over to someone who really needs it.