Archive for February, 2012

The Mom Shame Game

I am unhappy to be writing about my latest rite of passage in motherhood: my first official look of disdain from another mother.

Max and I were at our very enjoyable music class (Loudoun County libraries rule) and Max was having his usual behaviors at the opposite end of the room from me …. Emptying the basket of scarves instead of dancing with them, finding the one cabinet in the corner of the room with a broken lock, not wanting to put his music sticks away …. Normal stuff for him and rightfully so; he’s young, exploring and just learning how to communicate.

When it came time for the pile of rattles, shakers and bells, I see Max across the way, trying to remove one of a pair of yellow rattles from the hand of another mom, who is sitting on the floor with her three-year-old daughter in her lap. The daughter, nonplussed about my son’s lack of boundaries is just sitting there, while her mother is firmly and then with great annoyance, trying to get my son off her rattle. I’m pretty sure I heard her utter a, “Goodness. Stop it!”

By the time I get to them, Max is crying, ’cause this momma is not giving up that toy. I try to comfort him and say something lame like, “Toddlers. What’s mine is mine.” I smile. She glares. That look of, I cannot believe you have not taught your son about sharing! or perhaps it was a, I am not here to discipline your son! Whatever, it was not nice. I turned and took a step away, to meet the lovely librarian, waiting with a pair of rattles for Max. We went back to our spot, he shook them for thirty seconds, and they got tossed back on the floor.

All this time, I’ve been operating on the idea that younger children rule it. This particular group was for zero to four years of age, so I assume that the little ones that aren’t socialized yet get the right of way. Would it have killed this mom to give up a rattle and pluck another one out of the basket a mere two feet over away? Was I supposed to offer up an embarrassed apology that my son, not yet a year and a half old, did not relinquish his desire for a shiny yellow rattle? Did said mom have to throw me the look of annoyance?

I mean really, just the day before; a total stranger handed over his smart phone to my toddler and let him run around with it for ten minutes, despite my embarrassment and attempts (two) to remove the phone from a giggling Max. That guy clearly knew nothing about little kids (except they’re cute, and they really love technology). This mom had two children, including a son that was just old enough to start walking and had been crying throughout the entire class. Shouldn’t she get it?

“Getting it” is one of the joys of having relationships with other moms. If we go to a play date, I don’t have to worry if I forgot to refill my travel pack of wipes. I will sit with two babies in high chairs while the other mom picks up our sandwich order. We automatically reach down for a thrown toy, no matter who’s kid threw it. It’s that kind of shared mom intimacy that is so awesome; clearly, that rattle-hoarding mom is missing out!

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