Wednesday, May 20, 2009


COM·RAD·ERY: the quality of affording easy familiarity and sociability

Now lose the "c" replace it with an "m." What does that spell?


You are in the line at Target after a strenuous shopping trip with your 2 year old. You bribed said child the whole way through the store by lettering her play with an obnoxious toy without any intent to purchase it. You're hoping to pull the old "bait and switch" at the last second at the checking out-swapping the annoying toy out for the old sippy cup. You pull the switch too early and a tantrum erupts. You stand your ground firm and refuse to give into the tactics of your two year old. As you attempt to will yourself invisible, you lock eyes with the woman in line behind you and you can tell by her empathetic smile and slight nod, that she too has pulled an unsuccessful bait and switch. She is giving you a nod of approval for being a rock star. You feel empowered, slightly less embarrassed, and even tougher. Those are the moments I love, het ones where you feel in the company of your fellow "momrades." Instead of rolled of eyes, glares, loud sighs, and judgmental looks, you get a shout out-whether through a look, an applause, or someone actually shouts out. You get it. You feel it. You love it.

I was at Old Navy one day. I was childless-amazingly-standing in the checkout line. 2 people in front of me, at the checkout counter stood a mother completing a purchase. Behind her, stood a little girl approximately 3-4 years old screaming. Now there is a scream that as a fellow mom, you recognize immediately as a tantrum scream. A tantrum scream sounds completely different from a legitimate fear or injury scream. A tantrum scream is loud, annoying, ridiculous, and takes serious concentration and control on the part of the mom, not to lose it!

Checkout mom kept her cool. She glanced back at the little girl and whispered something that I strained to hear, I think it was, "you need to CALM down." Her child's reply-extreme head shaking accompanied by additional screaming with some stomps thrown in for emphasis. I admit it. I was staring right at the "situation" you are supposed to look away from. I wasn't staring because I was judging (sometimes I do stare at people because I am judging); I was in awe at how calm and cool checkout mom played it. After what seemed like an eternity for checkout mom I am sure, she made her grand exit. She reached for her daughter's hand; the child dramatically refused the non-negotiable gesture. Check out mom STILL kept her cool. She hoisted the hysterical child over her shoulder, calm and collected, and marched out of the store.

At that point applause should have erupted. The sales clerks should have ushered checkout mom back into the store and presented her with a 50% coupon for being the bomb. I wanted to run out of the store and tell her, "I know you’re dealing with some major drama, but can I just say, you were AMAZING in there! You rocked that whole tantrum situation. Way to stand your ground and not lose it. Way to rock at this whole mom thing." My hypothetical pep talk would have gone something like that, had I sprinted out of line. I am slightly embarrassed to say, I did not want to lose my place in line, so I just sent her a "shout out" in my head.

Every mom experiences embarrassing moments in public with children. If you haven't experienced one yet, one is coming. And when you do experience one, remember that your fellow "momrades" paved the way. Other moms painfully stood in that checkout line or store aisle, or on the playground, or sat in that restaurant booth with a child behaving badly. Let that be an encouragement to you. And when you see your fellow "momrades" out on the battlefield looking tired and weary, stop and salute your fellow woman or at least give her a quick smile, a slight head nod and look that says, "You are a rock star!"


Mi ch ele said...

Luckily, we never once had a tantrum. Not one in public nor one in private. Claire was always an even tempered child. Sure there were minor tears over losing a passy or not being able to figure something out, but far from a tantrum or a fit.

We were very lucky... until she became a 4th grader and the attitude problem came about. This year has been a year long struggle with her. No she is not snotty or mean to us... but she just now at age 9, is learning that she has the ability to talk back and so she is flexing this ability!

When you go years with what seems like a darn near perfect child in the drama department, the attitude seems extreme! Hopefully those of you with kids doing the tantrum will avoid the year of attitude! :o)

Joy said...

Amen, Brooke! You had me laughing about the "bait and switch." I can't tell you how many times I have handed the cashier a book or toy at checkout. It's about survival when you are in a tantrum moment. Thanks for the encouragement!

This Heavenly Life said...

So right! I often hope that the look on my face in those situations comes across how I want it to - as encouragement for a job well done. I have a fear that I end up looking like a judgemental starer...because I'm too wussy to speak up.

Wonderful. This word has definitely been added to my vocab!