A tired-looking young mother holding an infant and her toddler’s hand slows her pace to look around as she exits a store. It’s plain she intends to guide her babies through the busy parking garage. The head of a teddy bear is visible through an opening of the diaper bag she carries over one shoulder. She’d just reached her car and was attempting to carefully negotiate the placing of all within when a woman in a jeep came to a nose-dipping stop, rolled down the window and shouted: “OH! MY GOD! AND WITH A BABY?!!!”
The mother had not walked carelessly in front of the jeep. She’d done nothing to endanger the lives of her young family. The driver of the jeep had been driving too fast for a busy parking garage – and it’s a fairly sure bet she’d been on her phone, instead of paying the attention all pedestrians deserve of drivers. In all likelihood, the driver had looked up just in time to avoid hitting the young mother.
I was already watching this vignette; however, the volume and anger in the woman’s voice stopped several shoppers mid-step. Now close to the young mother, I saw the moment of startled confusion turn to embarrassment – then hurt – then protective anger. She resumed caring for her family and purchases, but it was evident she’d been shaken.
I think few of us have been spared an aggressive “drive by.” It’s an inevitable part of living that, at some point, something will come completely out of left field and leave us reeling. This was several months ago, and I still remember the effect of the negligent driver’s verbal onslaught on that young woman’s face.
Listening to a recent episode of the One Bad Mother podcast, this particular memory came swiftly back to me. Today, I want to echo a pivotal message ~ recent Episode 149 includes a “Fail,” where a mom had an upsetting, startling moment with her young baby, to which co-host Biz responds: “Don’t turn this into ‘everybody’s doing something wrong, everybody’s out to get somebody’. You go up and you tell somebody they’re doing a good job, and you’re here, and it’s okay, and they’re fine.” The caller shared what it meant to her “They took care of me, so I could take care of my baby.” For the human species, this is the be-all, end-all of why we have got to be supportive of one other.
I didn’t approach the young mother. Unfortunately, it didn’t occur to me that she might welcome a gesture of kind support. If she didn’t in the moment, it still would have been a good thing to do. Just a quick check in of support. This is a failure I continue to regret. So on this day, I want to send out a message of love and encouragement especially to moms. In whatever capacity you have mothered, to anyone who has used the feminine self to care for another, I thank you. I cherish you and the role of motherhood on behalf of our precious young.
Happiest of Mother’s Days
As the ladies of One Bad Mother would say- “You’re doing a great job.”