The Mama Journal | An Open Letter To The Mom Who Yelled At Me Today
Dear mom-who-yelled-at-me-out-the-car-window-as-you-drove-by-today, hello. We haven't been formally introduced yet (though you definitely broke the ice!) - I'm Sophie. First of all, let me just say that I hope you were on your way to the nearest Starbucks drive-thru, because it seems like you're having a bit of a stressful morning. I mean who yells at random people as they drive by? If I could have, i would have slipped you a dollar so you could add a little whipped cream to your drink - something to turn that frown upside down.
I have to admit I was a little taken aback that you actually rolled down your window to yell at me that my child needed a hat. Because again, who does that? But let me assure you that if you are the new leader of the MMSS Brigade (Mean Moms for Sun Safety), you picked the wrong target. I'm actually pretty obsessive about my fair skinned, light-haired child wearing a hat outside, and before I realized how terrible the ingredients in sunscreen really are, I was all about the highest SPF in town. Now I generally opt for more natural SPF protectors, but it's still a top priority. So you see, mean-mom, you kind of wasted your breath on me. Because I'm with you sister, sun safety is important. But, that's neither here nor there now, is it. Because this post really isn't about sun safety. It's about moms. Mean moms, to be specific.
I'm just assuming that you are indeed a mom. Because sadly, these days it seems only a mom would feel so entitled to put down another random mom out of the blue. It's kind of what a lot of moms do. Whether it's on internet forums, at the park, or - apparently - while driving by. It's a sad reality that I quickly was introduced to as a new mama. I came to realize that everything is cause for war, debate and belittling- everything from your method of delivery to whether or not you vaccinate your kids to what your child wears to the park. Can I be real with you for a minute, mom-who-yelled-at-me? I'm so over the mama-wars. Motherhood rocks. It really does. We're all different women, with different children, making different decisions. And I really wish that we could just stand united on the common ground that we love our kids to the moon and back instead of pointing out each other's flaws.
You're right, mom-who-yelled-at-me-today, my daughter should have been wearing a hat. But here's what you didn't know.
We had been outside for an hour. My 21-month-old daughter had a hat on for 55 of those 60 minutes. In fact, on the way to the park, when my little one decided the hat was lame, I took the time to elaborately explain why we have to wear our hat outside, and by the time we reached the park, she had learned the phrase "soleil bobo tete, chapeau tete" - which is a simple French way of saying "sun hurts head, hat head". And the hat stayed on. Win! 1 point for me! We spent the next 45 minutes playing at the park, and then decided it was time to walk back home. Did I mention my daughter chose to push her toy stroller (containing a purse, two stuffed animals and a few other toys) to the park? Well, a few seconds before you drove by and schooled me, she decided she was done. She was done pushing the stroller. Done walking. Done wearing her coat. And yes, done wearing her hat. She was hungry. She was tired. She was over our little outing. And no amount of reasoning, singing, hugs and distracting her with birds and cars was helping anymore. Isn't it great when that happens on a street corner, in front of all the neighbours? I'm sure you've been there, mom-who-yelled-at-me, because we all have. I knew that it was a pretty big accomplishment for my under-two-year-old to have pushed that stroller all the way to the park and 3/4 of the way back. I knew it was lunch time. I knew she was tired. And you see, mom-who-yelled-at-me, I'm the kind of mom that likes to pick her battles - maybe you are too. When you drove by and saw me carrying a stroller full of toys and a hatless toddler - it wasn't my finest mama moment. But I was just happy I managed to keep her coat on. And here's what I knew, that you didn't. We were 6 houses away from home. 6 houses. I figured that 45 hatless seconds would be ok. Because even though we care about sun safety, we're also big fans of vitamin D and feeling the wind in our hair. And we also know that sometimes, all that really matters is getting your cranky kid home before all H-E-double-hockey-stick breaks loose on the street corner.
So you see, mom-who-yelled-at-me-today, not only was your rant pointless and misguided, it was also mean. I was already feeling pretty embarrassed and exasperated about the whole situation. And to be honest, your words stung. Next time you see a mama struggling on a street corner to carry a giant cranky toddler and a stroller full of toys home, instead of yelling out to point out what she's doing wrong, why don't you slow down and ask if she needs help? Or tell her you've been there. Or, just keep driving. And mind your own business. But stop being mean. Because how are we ever going to teach our children that bullying is wrong when mamas all over do it all the time? We're all in this together, and quite frankly I'd much rather sip a mimosa with you and laugh about all of our hilariously exasperating mama stories than engage in this never-ending mama war.
p.s.: this wouldn't be a mama journal post without a few cute photos - so here are a few I snapped last night just as David arrived home from work (we were waiting at the window!). And if someone points out that Neve isn't wearing a hat, I might cry. lol