For every caring, generous, love thy neighbor person in Davis, there is an equally irritating, know-it-all person that will make sure to tell you to put sunscreen on your kids or that your dogs should always be wearing their rabies tags when they are on a leash. This morning my youngest woke up with some sort of bug up her booty because by 7:15 am we were already on tantrum number four. For those of you unfamiliar with a tantrum (you must not have children) in my house it looks like dramatically throwing their bodies on the floor, simultaneously screaming and crying whilst flinging snot everywhere. Her final tantrum occurred because I wouldn’t let her put both of my wedding rings down the drain. Luckily my eldest was keeping it together so I calmly told Madeleine that I needed to take a step away and she could calm down in her crib.
Let me back up and tell you that our air conditioning has gone out completely and we will need to drop $5k on a new unit once the 30 people ahead of us on the waiting list get their units in. So naturally, all our windows were open to let in the cool Delta breeze thankfully we get in the mornings. I decided to take out the trash since a mother’s version of fresh air can only come with the lingering smell of baby poop and last night’s dinner. Standing just outside my front door was a woman I’d never seen before walking her yippy, romper-wearing chihuahuas and here verbatim was our conversation:
Her: “What’s going on up there?”
Me: “Oh my daughter is having a tantrum, so I am giving her a minute.”
Her: (Shaking her head and her finger at me) “It doesn’t sound ok.”
Me: “No she is fine. I have it under control.”
Her: “It sure doesn’t sound like you do.”
Me: I stood there stunned wearing my “Peace, Love & Motherhood” t-shirt, still gripping the trash bag. “Um. Ok well I will get her in a minute, don’t worry.”
Her: “I’m sure everybody says that.”
It pains me to tell you that last week I lost my beloved friend and mentor who would have been the exact person I’d turn to in situations such as these--where I am being criticized by a complete stranger before I’ve even had my cup of coffee. I immediately walked inside garbage bag still in-hand and began to cry. I cried because I missed my friend, because like all mothers we already feel like we have an impossible task before us and we need cheerleaders, not critics and lastly I cried because my daughter was still screaming upstairs, which suddenly made me feel shameful. My oldest came over to me and asked, “Mommy are you sad?” I told her I was and that someone was rude to mommy and hurt my feelings. She hugged and kissed me and then since we were not filming a made for TV movie about feelings proceeded to root through the trash.
In that moment, I knew exactly what my mentor would tell me to do: ask for help and do something for others. So I picked up my phone and messaged a friend and reached out to my Fit4Mom village asking for support. Here are some of the gems I got in return:
“The general public can be so lovely sometimes. I sat down to get a pedicure yesterday and an older man next to me very rudely told me to be quiet, keep my voice down and talk softly because he was mediating. The only words I had spoken were to the pedicurist to show her where I had rolled my ankle and to please not touch it.”
“You are not alone. Tantrums are so tough. I hate that lady for you.”
“I’m seeing RED right now. If I wasn't on my way to work, I'd be hunting down that awful witch. You did the right thing, you are an incredible mama, and an inspiration to me EVERYDAY. I LOVE YOU. ”
“Cannot wait to read your revenge blog.”
Besides offering choice expletives there was offers to come over, bring me coffee and hugs, they all, the women that know me and have been alongside me in the trenches, complimented me on being a loving, strong mother. They say it takes a village to raise a child, I highly suggest you don’t mess with mine.
After my morning run with my girls and a playdate with my nieces, I spent nap time making lasagna for our village leader who just had her third baby and decided I better make some extra for my neighbors, just in case someone, like me, was having a rough day.