sticks and stones

Yesterday marked a milestone of sorts – my first piece of completely unsolicited advice from a total stranger.

Basically, she called me an unfit mother.

You see, I have a sleep fighter.  My girl goes down peacefully at night, and sleeps well.  In the day, however, she doesn’t want to miss a thing.  She also has tummy troubles and it causes her to cry a lot.  She also cries quite a bit when she’s tired during the day, and will only succumb to sleep with a patented blend of bouncing and holding, and then… that’s no guarantee that she’ll sleep more than a cat nap.

So yesterday, I brought lunch to my dear husband at work.  We ate in the food avenue area at Target, where I fed my girl as well.  Then, I took her to the restroom and changed her diaper.  She seemed to be in an agreeable mood so I put her back in her car seat to get my shopping done.  After about a minute, she started to cry (a combo of gas and sleepiness) so I gave her some drops and I tried to woo her to sleep by walking fast and letting the motion of the cart lull her.  She stopped crying.  I had 90% of my shopping done in record time, too!  I stopped in one spot too long and she started up again, so I started moving.  This time, she was harder to console, but I was able to calm her.  I walked over to seasonal, where Todd works, and I spotted a pair of boots that my mother in law was wanting.  I called her to ask her if she wanted me to get them, and she said yes.  I decided to update her on my girl’s status and my girl started crying again.  While on the phone, I started walking again, but this time she was so tired she wouldn’t go down.

I stopped in an aisle to gather myself and see if I could soothe her.  While I am talking to my mother in law, a woman walks up to me.  (Forgive me, but this next part is a blur… because of the trauma and because she just wouldn’t shut up so I don’t know all she said.) She begins like so: “I’ve been listening to your child cry nonstop for 15 minutes, and you’re just talking on the phone.  You need to hang up and get your priorities straight.”  She proceeded to tell me that my child was hungry or needs a diaper change and I need to be a mother to this child and make her stop crying.  She told me I needed to stop being irresponsible.  She told me I needed to get the baby out of the store, stop what I was doing, and take her home.  She also said some other very angry things, but I can’t remember them anymore.  I tried to firmly tell her that I knew why my child was crying and that I was her mother and it was none of her business.  The viperous woman ran her evil mouth a few moments more and then left angrily.

My mother in law asked me how I was doing… and then I quietly burst into tears.

I got off the phone with her, and then another woman came up to me (while I’m trying to console my crying daughter) and reassured me that it was none of that woman’s business and that babies just cried sometimes.  I went to my husband and he was able to let me go into a safe room to compose myself and some employees helped me check out and get myself and my girl to the car.

Ironically enough, most days my family tells me I am spoiling the girl.  Apparently I am always holding her.  I snuggle with her while she sleeps.  I pick her up on her first cry.  They tell me it’s okay to let her “cry it out.”

That morning, I was wishing that people would stop telling me how much I’m spoiling her.  I got my wish, I guess.

People just need to think before they speak.  I am doing the best that I can, and 99% of mothers I know are doing the same thing.  Do we always get it right? No.  Do we feel overwhelmed sometimes?  I know I do. I’ve made my living taking care of children and doing all that I can do make sure I attend to their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, and I still have days where I am totally clueless.  But, I always make sure I am loving her as much as I possibly can.

I’m trying to forget that woman, but the scene keeps replaying itself.  I’m a little hesitant to go shopping with baby girl for a while.  I’m praying that I can move on gracefully.  I am also praying that something comes back to bite that woman in the butt.

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Ministry surely has taught you that people can be SUCH idiots. Don’t worry about people…just love your little Annabelle and as long as your comfortable with your style of mothering go with it!

    Reply

  2. April, I’m sorry you had to go through that. I cannot stand nosey little busy bodies like that. Where does she get off? I’m mad and indignant for you.
    ~Amy

    Reply

  3. Boy do I have a comment!!

    However, since that nasty excuse for a human being probably doesn’t read your blog, I’ll just have to keep it to myself and remember the whole “Jesus loves that trashy lady,” so I probably need to, also. In fact, if you discover her phone number and/or email, please let me know so that I can post it in a highly visible online place along with this post so that others can share their appreciation of her actions, as well.

    In all seriousness, I don’t know what kind of a mother you are, since you’re in a different state. But based on your character and the things you’ve written online, I have a hard time thinking you’re not incredibly awesome at it, though – attentive, loving, tender, etc.

    And good grief! Babies do two things, and crying is the other one. If a crying baby bothers you then go some place where babies are not allowed. Like a bar. It sounds like a drink would have done that lady good.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Gina on May 25, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Sweet April. I, too, have endured evil meddlers. I’m sure you can imagine how hateful people can be when faced with my beautiful little mans family dynamic. Don’t give that meddling, nasty woman another thought. Don’t allow her to waste precious bits of your energy by thinking about it one more second. She wins if you let her ruin your day. Annabell is abundantly blessed to have such a wonderful mother. You know that. She knows that. Todd knows that. And the people that love you and her know that. ❤ U!

    Reply

  5. Posted by Rebecca McKee on May 25, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    April,

    I understand exactly how you feel. Izzy is the same way. She hates to sleep during the day (maybe she’s afraid of missing something). It’s always uncomfortable to be in a store and have people stare at me because my baby is crying. But sometimes people are caring. When I had to fly home a few weeks ago for my grandfather’s funeral we (Izzy and I) had to switch flights in Atlanta. We got on the plane and the air conditioning wasn’t working. It was so hot. She started screaming. It was horrible. I couldn’t get her to stop. A nice guy switched seats with me so that I could sit with a mom who was willing to help me. Two grandmas were right there to help us with our things. The flight attendant said that they could go back to the gate and let us off the plane if we needed to. No one said a mean or nasty thing the entire flight.

    Just know that for every mean, old woman who thinks she knows it all, there is a plane full of complete strangers who will give up their seat for you.

    Rebecca

    Reply

  6. Posted by April McGrew on May 25, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Thanks. 🙂 You’re right, there are a ton of truly decent people out there. She’s bitter for one reason or another… I just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Reply

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