I had one of those mom guilt/shaming moments today at Walmart (no, it wasn’t the Independence, MO one, in case you were wondering). It wasn’t one of my proudest moments. In fact, if any of my friends ran into me and the kids today, you’d probably be thinking, “Wow, she’s grumpy!”.
So, backstory: the kids have had the last three days off school due to sickness. They have these horrible lingering coughs that just won’t let go. I took Wednesday off work because I felt like crap and had hardly slept the previous two nights from a wracking cough, also. Yes, we’re taking all the stuff across the board from essential oils to Equate brand cough/cold meds. I even bought an apple pie for numero uno child’s 11th birthday because it has less sugar than cake. FYI, the chocolate cake you saw in birthday photos was from last weekend.
Today I had to go into work late because I had to take the middle child to the audiologist for his 6-month hearing aid checkup and hearing test. He has 40% high frequency hearing loss in his right ear. If you’ve ever wondered why he doesn’t listen, well, that’s why… I mean besides the fact he’s a 9-year-old boy, with lots of energy, selective hearing, and a strong will.
I brought all three kids to the doctor. Something I prefer not to do. Picture a pack of dogs tumbling over each other and knocking into things, biting, whining, and barking… that’s my two youngest. Okay, not really, but that’s what it feels like. Lots of bickering and whining. I was irritated by the time we got to the store with the coughing and picking at each other. Impatient, because I really just wanted to get to work so I could warm and eat my lunch before I clocked in and worked the required hours I needed today.
We were at Walmart killing time while I was waiting to drop the kids off with my dad so I could go to work. We grabbed some more tissues, cold meds for me and them, oranges, lunch for the kids, and assorted odds and ends we needed. We’d even looked at the toys!
I was dragging them back to the frozen food section because I forgot to grab something for dinner at grandpa’s, snapping at them once again to settle down, when the middle child, who is incredibly dramatic, and puts his whole effort into everything he does, had a coughing fit.
Now, we teach our children to cough into their elbow. We’ve ALWAYS taught them that. We keep harping on it. They know to do it. But some of them don’t always 100% of the time. Especially when they take a deep breath and bear down on the cough with all their might, head pointing towards the ground, or the side, or into their fist.
Our parade of four was walking at a good clip down one side of the long row of open freezer cases, when middle child started coughing. I heard this angry, loud enough to be heard, but not TOO loud, with lots of tone, “Cover your MOUTH!” come from behind me on the left. I barely paused in my fast walk as what I heard was processed. I immediately got angry and mama bear came out at the rudeness of the middle aged lady and turned to give her one of my most withering glares as I kept walking. She quickly looked away as I turned my head towards her. I was absolutely incensed and embarrassed. Way to go lady, you skillfully plunged the knife in and twisted it. AND you picked on my kid! NOT cool! Now I was feeling shame and guilt for taking my kids out in public to get more cough meds to dose ourselves with in the car. I was already mortified that my kids had these horrible coughs in public, and I’d been coughing for days at work…but not all of us have the luxury to just take the number of days off to completely be rid of the cough before returning to work (or school for the kids).
I’m revealing my maturity level, or lack of it. Don’t judge, please. We all have our moments. This was a particularly weak moment for me, and the lady unknowingly ripped the Band-Aid off.
After complaining to my dad… and husband on the phone, I arrived at work (no I didn’t have time to eat, had to wait for my 15 minute break), I got to musing about what happened. I thought of some good zingers I could’ve retorted with, like, “Could you repeat that? My son didn’t hear you… he’s half deaf.” Or, “Thank you for helping me teach my kids proper manners!” (Said with the most sarcastic tone ever). But that wouldn’t be a great example, nor would it be constructive.
Yes, I probably blew it completely out of proportion. Yes, I should’ve let it roll off my back. She doesn’t know me or my kids. She was probably tired and cranky and sick of all the sick people out in public coughing and making her sick. Hey, I gotta make up a story about why she lashed out or I’ll just make myself angry about the injustice of her passive aggressive comment. She could’ve said the exact same thing, with a much nicer tone and a few more words added in to soften it, and it wouldn’t have been offensive. Anyway, her three-word sentence sparked an idea to write a blog post about kindness.
We need to be kind. I need to be kind. If I get mad and judgmental about her unkindness, then I’m no better than she is. It reminds me of the scripture,
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir
up anger.” Proverbs 15:1.
Yowza! I need to work on that one daily! Let’s remember to be kind instead of lashing out in irritation or anger.
Oh, and don’t be like Simcha and glare at the stranger in Walmart. Instead, smile, wave and say, “Thanks for the reminder!”