Woman to Women
Boo-Hoo Tales from the Loo
Let’s give ourselves – and each other – a break
Sometimes, when all of the stalls in a restaurant bathroom are occupied, you hear things you really don’t want to hear.
“You’ll have to wear a diaper, because that’s what babies wear,” said a frustrated female voice, reverberating through one of the stall doors.
From the sound of the little girl’s voice, I’m guessing she was 3 years old, tops.
“Well, your father isn’t here now, is he?” Mommy Dearest said testily. The girl continued to be reprimanded for not letting her mother know that she had to go to the bathroom and for ruining a pair of her underwear.
As the daughter was told she’d have to wear pull-ups until she could be “trusted” with underpants again, a part of me wanted to break through the bathroom stall, rub the kid’s soiled undies in the mother’s face and chastise her for being so cruel.
Instead, I left the scene altogether. My bladder could wait.
While I don’t agree with the way she handled the situation – shaming a kid is a surefire way to ensure he or she will rack up therapy bills later in life – I decided to hold my tongue, despite my knee-jerk anger.
Why? She could have been having a hard day. Maybe the hubby dumped their three kids on her and went out to play golf while she got stuck taking them all out for breakfast. On top of that, her daughter – who had been toilet-trained for at least six months – suddenly did her own surprise dump, right in her pants.
And all the mother had wanted was to enjoy that one sip of coffee.
In a few months my son, Alex, will turn 2. At that point, I’ll have entered the scary realm of toilet-training, of training pants and singing songs and cajoling my little one to the plastic throne of doom.
As I traipse through this messy period of child rearing, I’m hoping that other moms will look kindly on me and not judge me too harshly if my kid someday has an accident in his pants in a public place.
Because I know how brutal mothers can be in assessing their own, fairly or unfairly.
Just the other day, Alex had a meltdown as we were leaving the pool. It wasn’t relevant to him that dinnertime was fast approaching, and he’s the kind of kid that thrives on a schedule. His world was unraveling because he had to let go of the pool toy and put on his mini-Crocs.
As I tried to coax him into his stroller, shamelessly using Goldfish crackers as a lure, I looked behind me and saw a woman holding the hand of a young girl about Alex’s age. Both were staring disapprovingly at me. At one point, the woman whispered something in the girl’s ear.
“This is how you DON’T want to behave,” Super Mom was probably saying. Either that or she thought poor Alex was being tortured.
Let’s all cut ourselves a break, ladies. We’re all going to have that horrible day when we don’t say the right thing or do the right thing, or it’s our kid who decides to throw a tantrum in the middle of the supermarket.
In my case, when Armageddon strikes – again – my hope is that I’ll get a tired little smile from another mom nearby.
A smile that says “I understand.”