I will be the first to admit that I don’t have the foggiest idea what the hell I am doing when it comes to being a mother. I begin everyday with grand ambitions and lofty goals, only to feel like I have fallen short and that my child will ultimately hate me and end up having a shrink who will inform him that he is the way he is because of his crazy mother.
Deep down, I know this isn’t true. Sacha is a good kid. He is very happy-go-lucky by nature, always smiling or laughing, loves to read and play pretend and dance the freaken mambo with Dora. He is, however, becoming a terrible two: he knows how to throw a tantrum (and HOW!) and get on my last nerve. He has also developed a lovely habit of scratching and pinching other kids. For no real reason. Just because he is a 20 month old boy. But everything I’ve read tells me that this is normal, and that he is not a bad kid, nor am I failing as a parent. Then there was The Comment.
I had signed Sacha and I up for a Messy Play workshop at a local drop-in center for preschool children and their parents. Sacha and I frequent the center a LOT. The staff are amazing, the toys are great, and it gives me a chance to visit with other moms while the kids play. I had taken Sacha to a Messy Play workshop before and he loved it: a craft, doing some baking and cupcake decorating, what’s NOT to like? Today, apparently everything. He didn’t want to wear a smock for sponge painting, nor did he want to use a sponge. He didn’t want to sit at the table long enough to even see what type of baking we were going to do. He put his body into full rigor like a plank of wood and refused to do anything that was “organized”. At that moment, in a room filled with moms and their 2 and 3 year olds, one particular mother of 4 looked at me, fully pregnant at 38.5 weeks, struggling with Sacha and said: “If you can’t control him, what are you going to do when you have two?”
Huh? WTF? I think my jaw dropped to the floor, I probably urinated myself a little, and stood up with Sacha and pretended not to hear her. But how could I not? It is one thing to think that you, yourself, are an inadequate parent. It is entirely another for a bitch of a woman, a fellow mother, to share my opinion and voice it in that way. I’ve been stewing over this all day, and I still don’t know what I would have said to her. I know her little boy is no angel (I think Sacha picked up his screeching habit from him), but I still can’t come up with a retort that would have put her in her place, the way she did me.
We left about 10 minutes after the comment. I still don’t know what I could have done or said. I know I will see this mother again, as she frequents the center a lot, but I really wish I could just crawl in a hole and die instead. Or that she would do the crawling and dying for me.