As I was looking through my old website, I came across this blog written in 2016. It was an open letter to a woman at Coles who judged my parenting.
As I read through my words, which I will include below, I want to race back in time and give that 30 year old version of me a big hug.
But I also want to lift her chin up, and straighten her shoulders. I want to tell her to stop pleading for understanding as to how hard her life is, and start boldly telling people to mind their business.
To stand proudly for the incredible mother that she is, and to advocate fiercely for her boisterous and hilarious child. Instead of apologising for their existence.
To trust in her ability to lead this child, to trust in her ability to make ripples of change in this world for her children and to place a giant fucking crown on top her glorious head.
These realisations are a testament to my growth, to my unravelment, to my coaches and mentors, to myself.
Victim mentality keeps as small, growth mentality sets us free.
Have a read.
2016 Blog Post
Next time you judge a parent by their child’s behaviour, please stop yourself for a second and pull your head out of your own ass.
Right now, we are having an awful time with our six-year old son. Focus issues at school, behavioural issues at home and school, plus a recent ADHD diagnosis, which has entailed many doctors, paediatrician and child psychologist appointments. Not to mention phone calls from the school and notes in the diary.
We are doing everything we can to try and curb his behaviour and quite frankly it’s exhausting. We’ve renovated his room, kept a diary on potential triggers, eliminated things from his diet, supplemented with vitamins, we have even tried essential oils. Not that I should have to explain myself to you, however just so you know.
Last Friday, I took my boy to the supermarket to do the groceries. We spent forty minutes navigating the aisles of your store. Forty minutes asking him not to run, not to grab, to slow down, forty minutes negotiating what he could and couldn’t add to our trolley.
When it came time to pay, I decided a cashier operated checkout would be better than the self serve as I could put more time into watching my child and less time trying to scan and bag the groceries, whilst little hands attempt to “help”.
We selected your aisle and as luck would have it, we got stuck behind someone buying a mystery item that you couldn’t find on the register, and had to call up assistance resulting in us waiting quite some time. During this time, my son was assisting me in unloading the trolley, with constant reminders to be gentle and slow down, the couple in front of us good-naturedly said “Make sure you load all that red food on there too for him” I laughed politely and said I didn’t think he needed it. Truth be told that was also something we were eliminating from his diet.
Mr 6 asked for a small Lightning McQueen blind bag which he spotted close to the checkout, I said no and he ran off to put it back, or so I thought.
Whilst I continued unloading the trolley, unbeknown to me, he threw the item near the next customer. You said something to me, which I didn’t hear, I asked “pardon” and you rolled your eyes and turned away, continuing to scan the customers groceries.
When it was finally our turn, you made a point of storming over and picking up the blind bag and throwing it on the desk with a sigh.
It was then that I realised what had happened and my heart sank, and my cheeks began to flush with embarrassment. I said “Oh my gosh did my son throw that? I’m so sorry” You replied haughtily “Don’t be sorry to me! Be sorry to the person in line in front of you whom it hit!” By this stage they had left the store… by this stage my son is also dancing at the register. In my head I’m thinking “Please just scan my fucking groceries, so we can leave”
You shook your head at me, and then my son starts pushing around a trolley basket, back and forth. You say “he can’t do that” . I say “I’m trying my best, we are going through a lot right now with him.” and you kept shaking your head saying “He can’t do that. He can’t do that.”
Standing on the spot. Shaking your head. Not scanning my groceries. Actively judging me.
By this stage my anxiety levels were rising and my fight or flight responses kicked in.
I pleaded with you.
“You don’t understand the things we are going through. I just need to get the groceries please” You stood there, you kept talking about my child, you didn’t scan the groceries.
Then I snapped. “Don’t worry about these” I said taking the slab of water out of my trolley and slamming it down on the bench. “It’s much too hard for me to even get groceries right now” and started walking off leaving an entire conveyor belt of food with you. Whilst you yell after me “You cannot simply leave it there!”
Your judgemental attitude meant that we left the store without our groceries. I got into my car in tears, whilst my son stated over and over that he hates himself because he can’t be still long enough for me to pay for our items.
You couldn’t deal with it for five minutes whilst I deal with it, all day, every single day of my life. You saw a small window of our lives and my parenting.
What you didn’t see was the beautiful, compassionate, sensitive child in front of you. Struggling to come to terms with the fact that he has ADHD. Feeling different and not good enough. What you didn’t see is the mum who cries in the shower every single morning, wondering if she is failing her child.
Did you know that an ADHD-afflicted child has one to two negative interactions per minute with the people in their lives. Whether than be a judgemental look, a stern no from a parent, a redirection from a teacher. Its no surprise that their self esteem suffers.
I am far from a perfect parent, but my god, I put every ounce of my being into teaching my children to be kind, compassionate humans and that is something they are mostly, getting right. Something you could learn a little more about.
So next time you see a child behaving poorly in a store, think for a moment about that parent. Think about how much they love that child, and how they are doing their best all day, every damn day.
It may not look like it to you, but it is impossible to strive for perfect parenting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week whilst still trying to maintain a home, run a business, and mundanely doing the groceries to feed their family.
Next time offer that tired mum, who feels as though she is constantly failing, a small smile, say hello to her child and please just scan the fucking groceries.