We all see that mom and immediately stop and stare with discretion, gazing at her with distasteful scorn and unnerving wonderment through judgemental eyes. The mom that seems to care less about the kids in her presence, looking like she would rather be anywhere but with her own offspring.
She's The Mom sitting in the parking lot with a car full of kids, obviously waiting on someone, most likely Dad, to come out. The kids are acting obnoxiously rambunctious, which is what drew you in for a looksee in the first place out of pure disbelief over the sight you're witnessing. Mom's hunched over on her phone or lost in a book, oblivious to the screeching, flailing, jumble of chaos unfolding within inches of her face and body as the kids wildly play, argue, fight, and entertain themselves without rule.
She's The Mom at the grocery store, looking completely disheveled, as if she just survived the zombie apocalypse after breaking out of jail. It's very likely that those are the clothes she slept in last night, a sight you can't help but fixate on with repugnance. Her kids are a bit more hyperactive than everyone else's and there's no keeping them still, even when the shopping cart is unmoving. You abhor the failing bribery tactics and are perturbed by the lack of firmness The Mom uses to corral her little hooligans, perplexed as to why she doesn't have herself together or them under control.
She's The Mom at the park whom you see shooing her children away with aggravation in her tone. Threatening not stay another minute if they don't find something to do away from her. The look on her face says she wants to be anywhere, but there. Without her precious little cuddlebugs. These kids run around, calling out for her repeatedly, and it takes at least four or five times before she finally responds, though she barely lifts her head to look. She's lost in la-la land, when she could very well be spending quality time with her kids. It irks you to see such a wasted opportunity to bond with her kids, because their childhood won't last forever.
What you don't know is why. Yet, you judge based on assumptions of negativity, because it's not what you yourself would be doing with that moment. Or so you think. Again, with more presumptions based on your own personal story.
The Mom you are actually seeing is one I know all too well. She's given up hope. She's running merely on fumes. Overwhelmed is not a strong enough description to the state of her mind as a parent. The fruits of her love are now poisoning the very tree that bore their life. There's no one to turn to, no help to be had, no saving grace for the last sliver of sanity. The same sliver of sanity that's unraveling at the speed with which it takes to catch my runaway three year-old, who takes immense pleasure in attempting to sneak off for solitary excursions through the neighborhood. Nekkid.
This mom doesn't have the tight-knit family circle nor the giggling, gossiping, gabby groups of friends to call upon for support when this parenting gig gets too difficult to manage on her own. There's no one to give her a five minute break nor an overnight reprieve from her duties. There's no aunts and uncles, no grandparents around for spoiling. You cannot assume, either, that she is a single mother, because, let's face it, she'd have the ability to escape those sticky clutches and koolaid stains some of the time. There are many “married-single” mom's like myself, even though it's not talked about often, as if the implication would offend someone truly acting as a single parent. A married-single mom is someone raising their kids as would a single parent, because their spouse has a job that takes them away from the house and family more often than not. She has no partner in the day to day dealings with her hoodlums, no one to help take care of the household, no one to share the natural burden that comes with raising children. The Mom you see, she has NO village.
These occasional, brief moments when you cross paths with her, she's struggling to hold herself together, and, yet, you mock her. You despise her. Feel ever so thankful that you are not her. No compassion or kindness for The Mom…. just the negativity, assumptions, and judgement. Careful not to make eye contact, you keep on walking past her, never giving this poor excuse of a mother a subsequent thought. Unless, that is, to give her a mention in your next bashing session with your closest mom friends, declaring, “How dare she have the nerve to!”
You go on with your life, not caring, not even considering, what's going on in her's. A time when friendly conversation, assistance helping to settle her children, or just some reassuring advice would go a long way to brighten her day, her week, maybe, even her lifetime. Maybe, even yours. Mother's shouldn't be so quick to turn away from one another. Mother's shouldn't be so quick to assume everyone's had the same opportunities or the same experiences. We should be a village united, joined together to help one another raise the best future generation we can raise collectively.
For centuries now, women, especially mothers, have been deemed the underdog in the hierarchy of human life. Let's rise above, be the village that raises all of the world's children up. Starting with a little extra kindness to their momma's, no matter who they might be.