Yesterday after work, we stopped to buy Monster some pull-up nappies at one of the local stores.
I decided to have a look at the prices of the nappies for Gremlin while I was on the premises. I still needed to stock up on some of the sizes, so working out a budget in my head couldn’t hurt.
While I was waiting in line to purchase the pull-ups, there were two other parties in front of me. The lady that was currently paying was buying her toddler son a Barney Toy. While she was talking to the cashier lady, her son was playing with a smaller version of the Barney toy. He tapped her leg and lifted the toy to show her. I don’t understand exactly what ticked her off, but she suddenly snapped at him, yelling “Put that toy down – aren’t you happy with what you’re getting? There are children that don’t get anything!”. Then she grabbed the toy away and turned back to the cashier.
I was in no position to judge her or her reaction. I too have snapped at Monster in times when I have had a bad day, but there is no excuse to the way you handle such simple situations.
What made me mad was how it must have made the lady between us feel. She was waiting for her turn with a small pack of wet wipes in front of her. Her son, about the same age as the Barney toddler, was standing at her feet and eating a pear. You could see he was enjoying his snack and not even moved by what had just happened. While Barney mom was yelling at her child, I saw the Pear mom recounting the money in her hand, looking down at the wet wipes and then at her son, giving him a small smile. I was more than willing to help her out, even if at that moment I was only able to afford the pack on nappies I was carrying.
I could feel her guilt and her shame. I could feel the embarrassment she was feeling. I have been in such a situation before. There were times when I stood in queues, recounting the money I had on me and trying to see if there was anything I could leave out in case I didn’t have enough money to buy all the necessities for Monster. I remember the embarrassment I felt surrounded by other parents buying baby things and getting impatient with me as I recounted the money and then left out some items. I know it was no one’s fault there that I couldn’t afford everything I needed, but there was no need to make me feel more shit that I already did. The guilt was already eating away at me as it is.
Getting back on point. Here was a mom who was buying her son something he needed and it looked like she wasn’t sure she even had enough money to pay. Then there was another mom who was yelling about her child being ungrateful about a toy. I know that mom felt shit. I felt shit as well. I was supposed to be buying nappies and wet wipes, but I only had enough to buy nappies, in the hope that they will last as long as possible until I was able to buy another pack. There were no luxury items or toys in my hands, just a basic purchase.
Then my anger turned to the Barney mom. Why couldn’t we stand together in our times of need? Why can’t we be more considerate with the things we say around others? Especially moms. Moms who were doing their best to give their children the best. Judging them because you can do more is distasteful and ignorant.
Everyone goes through a tough month where corners need to be cut to be able to survive the moment. There’s no need to place yourself on a podium high above others just because it’s not your month of struggle and shame.