Today my mama bear came out. It was one of the moments that I was silently preparing for as I watched my son go towards a boy who was already showing aggression over some toys in an open play area.
A boy who we were with had just recently came crying over to us as this boy showing aggression had scratched his face because he didn’t want him touching the toys. So when my son went over to the same area, I was on high alert. I even boasted to my friend that I wasn’t taking my eyes off of the situation. So when my son encroached on the kids trains, I shifted in my chair. When I could see his body shift towards my son’s, I flexed my legs ready to spring. When that little boy grabbed at my son’s neck and shoved him backwards, it was go time.
A loud, angry “hey, hey, hey” exploded from my mouth as I ran over to help my son. I didn’t take my eyes off the situation to see if the other mom had taken notice, but I saw her rush over in my peripheral vision. As I hugged and soothed my crying son, the other mom came over, a bit red in the face, and obviously upset. She hadn’t seen, but knew her son did the damage. She tried to get him to apologize, but he just looked, red faced, lip pouting, eyes angry at my son and I. We parted ways, as I continued to comfort my son.
I walked over to my friend, holding my son close, but with a sort of clout that upon reflection is unfair and judgmental. I made a comment to my friend like “now I’m certain that boy scratched your little guy”. It was time to pack up for home, and we all left. I saw the mom of the boy that pushed my son, drive out of the parking lot as we walked out. I turned to look at her, wanting to give a last wave of “we’re cool” but she avoided my eye contact and had her head down. Embarrassed and just wanting to leave.
So I’m sitting here, reflecting. I wasn’t mean to her, but I also didn’t tell her “oh it’s fine”. I maybe should have chatted with her more about the situation, but I didn’t. It seemed that she has a tough time with her sons aggression. I’m quite positive I would also struggle with my child’s aggression in that circumstance. I tend to be passive aggressive by nature, so my common “ohh it’s totally fine, don’t even worry about it” surprisingly didn’t come out. On one hand, I’m proud of myself for being a little firm because the behavior wasn’t ok. However, on the other hand I’m really ashamed at my lack of empathy in the moment.
Aren’t we all in this together? Don’t we all struggle with different unknown battles? Maybe that mom was having a really rough day with her son and just needed to take him somewhere so she could sit for a minute. Maybe he has always been really aggressive and she’s been working really hard with him, and this was one of his first outings. My point is, we all have struggles and things we have battled. Those things can have a huge impact on our kids or how we react in situations.
So while I know that protecting my son and being firm about good, safe behavior is a must, I can also empathize and understand a fellow Mama’s need for grace and patience when her little guy is not having his best moment.
So to the mom this morning, I’m sorry I didn’t display more grace and patience. I’m sorry I didn’t say “having kids can be so tough”. I hope you can forgive this imperfect, constantly learning, stranger to empathy, mom for not having one of her best moments.