Motherhood is hard. It’s the evening of 9 April, and I’m sitting here, finally calmed down from what happened this afternoon. I picked up Ashton, my youngest, now 3 and a half years old, from school and we decided to get some baby spinach and Sriracha. We ended up getting more than that, but that’s usually the case. Chloe and Ashlyn were with me as well, as today is a day off for them, to replace being at school yesterday for sports day. As we were picking out stuff, Ashton was already more active than usual. Running around, being quite noisy. Since he was in a cheerful mood, and wasn’t really bothering anyone, I let him be.
Everything was fine, until Ashton fell down and I didn’t baby him. Everything went downhill from there. He cried really loudly, and I tried to calm him down. I didn’t want to just walk away without doing anything because he would cry louder and cause a scene. I HATE creating a scene in public. If we were at home, I’d just ignore him and let him cry until he calms down himself. Good thing was, he did stop for a while, and the girls stayed with him while I hurried to pay so we could get out of there before things got worse.
So I left them there, and went to the checkout counter where I could still see them. I didn’t know what happened because when I was paying, he started crying really loudly, wouldn’t stop, and started screaming. Everyone was looking. The girls tried to calm him down, but it just got worse. Nothing they did worked and I was stuck at the counter. Then I felt accusing looks directed at me. Great. I was too late. Shit did hit the fan.
Why isn’t this mom doing anything? Why is she just letting the kid scream?
It was really stressful. The place suddenly felt really hot and humid, and I was sweating. Why is the cashier so slow? I felt like leaving all my stuff there, grab the kids and go. I looked really calm, but man, my heart was beating so fast, my ears were drumming. Then Ashlyn came to tell me that a woman told them off. Told Ashton to stop crying so loudly like a girl. What. The. Fuck. What is a boy cry?
At that time, I didn’t think much about her comment. The girls were very angry so I didn’t need to add fuel to fire. I was more focused on getting Ashton to stop. He never had a meltdown before. This is the first time I had to deal with it. The girls never did this. At that very moment, I never felt more embarrassed. It was really very stressful when he was screaming and crying and I just couldn’t stop him. I panicked. I felt like I failed as a mom. All the eyes on me felt judgmental, and I felt guilty for the disturbance. Some might have pitied me but whatever it was, I felt like shit. So did the girls, so did Ashton. So I just took his little hand, wet from wiping his tears, and walked out with head held high (and avoiding eye contact!), as fast as I could to my car.
As we were speed walking to the car park, the girls were still talking about the woman who made the ridiculous comment. They naturally felt more empathy towards their brother and expected others to understand. So they were baffled some stranger would say something like that. Then Ashlyn said it’s not true all girls cry loudly because Chloe sobs quietly. That stupid woman. LOL!
I called my husband on the way home, and I started crying. I didn’t know where the tears came from, but thinking back, I felt really helpless.
If you see other kids have meltdown in a shopping mall, or at the groceries, how do you feel? Do you just think UGH shut up already, it is so annoying… or do you pity the parents and make a mental note not to have kids, or would you tell the kid off? Would you blame the parents for just letting the kid cry? I expect parents to be more understanding and sympathetic because they’d probably experience this before. When I see other kids throw a tantrum in public, I really feel for the parents. I make a point not to look because that might stress out the kid even more. Then, there are parents who leveled up and discovered immunity.
Mommies and daddies out there, have you experienced this before? What did you do? Please share so I can get some guidance! Now that I think about it, I’m really lucky I just experienced my first ever meltdown after 3 kids. Didn’t make it any easier or less emotional though.