I can still see the day in my head as if it just happened yesterday. Kind of like those embarrassing memories from the 8th grade that randomly pop back up on the backs of your eyelids as you try to fall asleep. The chances of anyone else ever remembering this mortifying moment of yours are slim to none. Chances of you ever forgetting it are about the same.
That’s exactly how I feel about a party I attended with my husband and (then) very young children. I’m not the type of friend to drag my kids to a party where it isn’t appropriate, so I knew beforehand that bringing them along wouldn’t be a big deal to the hostess, who did not have children, or the other guests, some of whom who did. With toddlers, you know going into any situation that there’s strong potential for tantrums. What level of tantrums, you aren’t sure. They could be hungry and throw a booger-bubble inducing shit-fit, or they could be sleepy and go super-sonic red in the face. Or they could just be kids and flip the fuck out for no reason. WHO KNOWS. NOT ME.
As Murphy’s Law usually goes, what can go wrong will- and lo and behold, my kid throw the tantrum to end all tantrums. Super sonic booger bubbling from the depths of hell. I did the mom thing and tried to calm him down, and when that didn’t work, I took him outside, because the tension was palpable. My kid was the only kid losing his shit while everyone else, both parents and non-parents, stared in horror. Even though in your gut, you know tantrums are normal, you can’t help but feel like everyone is judging you. Everyone’s thinking your a crap parent with a kid you can’t control.
Calming him down outside wasn’t working, and I soon came to the realization that the only thing to do would be to leave. In no way am I going to be the parent that ruins someone’s party, or meal, or movie, because my kid can’t control their emotions.
While getting jackets and shoes on (my kid still melting down like a hot-ass snowman), friend without kids pulls me aside and asks if he is okay. In a way that implied something abnormal was going on. I did my best to assure her that this was typical kid shit, that it happens, that it’s normal, but I could tell she didn’t fully believe me. It hurt.
Let it be known, my friend is an awesome person. Great friend. Someone who didn’t have kids, and I don’t think even had any experience with them. I was her once. I probably had the same “the fuck is wrong with that kid/mom?” moments all those eons ago. That doesn’t make her a bad person, not at all. She was awesome then, and she’s awesome now. Fast forward a few years, and now she’s a mother, too.
And this is where the life lesson comes in. WHEN is it a good time to say “I told you so”? See, when it comes to my kids falling down and hurting themselves after they SPECIFICALLY went and did something I told them not to- they get an insta- I told you so. Or when someone doesn’t safety flush their swamp ass droppings and everyone ends up knowing it was them who blew up the bathroom- TOLD YOU SO.
You see, normally, when I find myself in the midst of a tantruming child, I shoot a sympathetic look if her eyes are to meet mine, and thank the stars in the sky that it’s not me (because it has been so many times before)
This friend, now a mom, years after my kid lost his shit around her, now found herself in the same situation I was once in. It was now her kid throwing an epic meltdown surrounded by adults staring and other kids who were playing quietly.
This teeny-tiny part of me wanted to be petty. Wanted to smile and say “told you so”- because, just like I said, it IS all kids. No, there’s nothing “wrong” with them. And I could tell by the way she handled the situation (like a damn bad ass) that she knew that now, too. Would be snorting “TOLD YA SO!” at her help? Was it the right time, place, or situation? Obviously not.
The last thing a mom with a tantruming kid needs is another mom being snarky as fuck about it to her, rubbing her face in being what is perceived to be “wrong”. Hell, the last thing ANY mom needs is another mom being snarky to her about her parenting. We should be lifting each other up instead of basking in the glow of watching someone else struggle.
Save the “I told you so!”s for the people who deserve it: children and husbands.
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