Tuesday, January 29, 2013

To the Mother of One Small Child

When I am out and about with my brood of four, I'm typically just trying to remain calm and keep everyone in line.  I know that to the mother of one little bitty child, my very active and very loud 9 and 7 year old boys look like an threatening juggernaut of masculine energy.  They feel that way to me sometimes too, especially when they're engaging in exciting play with my 3 and 1 year old daughters.  It's possible that in a few years, the same energy and behavior won't feel so threatening to you because your own sweet child will be closer to that age.

Please remember that my children are as precious to me as your child is to you.  I haven't trained them to be loud or to careen around like runaway freight trains.  In fact, I have worked hard to reinforce quiet and gentle play.  And most of the time, it has worked.  However, when we go out in public, they sometimes get overly excited for a bit before they settle in.  Other days, they have a lot of frustration to work off, and that's why we have left the house in the first place.  For me to insist on quiet and gentle play at all times would be to deny the basic nature of boys and to betray my children's trust in me.  I would have to crush their spirits and would only drive misbehavior underground, leading to deceitfulness and sneakiness.

Because you haven't been doing this mom thing quite as long as I have, I'm going to inform you about an important rule of the mom world:  Don't yell at strangers' kids.  If my kid bothers your kid, ask him to play nicely.  No big whoop.  If my kid is really out of line, pick up your kid if you feel he/she is in danger (which is probably not the case, but I know big kids can seem threatening).  Come find me, and I will likely rain down consequences on my kid.  For reals.  However, if you shout at my kid or at me, I'm going to assume that you're crazy.  Why, you ask?  Because it is crazy to yell at other people's kids.  Be the grown up.  I promise that I will be one too, that I will have a serious talk with my kid, that my kid will lose privileges even if it was accidental, and that my kid will play more cautiously for the duration, or we will leave.

Let's assume the best of each other, okay?  I'm going to assume that you are out to enjoy a pleasant time with the most precious gift in your life.  I'm sure you're a good mom.  By the way, your kid is cute.  Please assume the same about me.  My kids are precious to me, I'm a good mom, and I really need a trip out of the house.  Tell me my kids are cute, and I probably won't be able to refrain from wholehearted agreement!  Let's give each other the benefit of the doubt, okay mommas of little ones?

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