{My “all over the place” little one with the hair that started it all}

Dear Random Lady In The Bathroom,

I know you heard my kid protesting using the restroom quite loudly and I’m sure it wasn’t pleasant for you to hear either.  I’m sure you thought what a rude or poorly parented child she is, and it may have even crossed your mind that someone should give that kid a good swat on the booty.  I’m sure you heard my redundant pleading with her to just use the restroom, because I had seen her dancing around and knew she needed to at least try.  But if you’ve ever tried to reason with a two-year-old, ESPECIALLY a toddler who is rapidly approaching nap time, I’m sure you know that it’s easier to talk a lion into eating a salad instead of steak.

Here’s what I’m not sure of though.  I’m not sure why you thought it was necessary to comment as we finally exited our stall.  I’m not sure why your comment to my child was, “You ok, honey? Your hair is kind of all over the place.”  Pardon me, but what the what? How is that helpful? How is that encouraging to me or my child?  If you had noticed that I am pregnant, perhaps you would have thought, “Hmm…I bet that mama is just exhausted.  I bet she could use a little love.”  So perhaps a better response would have been a sympathetic smile, or a funny memory of how your own kids were crazy in their own right back in the day.

Maybe it wasn’t the time to comment on how my kid’s hair looks.  Actually, I’m not sure that’s ever really an appropriate comment to a complete stranger, unless it’s to say how lovely it is.  She’s not derelict, she’s just a toddler who hates to have her hair done.  And her mom is just trying to make sure everybody gets through the day alive, not that we all look perfect doing so.  I’m sure you meant well by your statement, or perhaps you didn’t even realize it would be a hurtful thing to say.  But just know that it will stick with me for awhile.  Any mom is just trying to do her best, so even the most slight of insults feel like daggers to the heart.  Especially when you’ve got pregnancy hormones pumping through your body.  Even though the comment was directed towards Cora, it felt like a cheap shot at my mothering skills, whether that’s how you intended it or not.

So here’s what to do the next time you think about opening your mouth and commenting on the appearance, behavior, or any temporary negative traits of a toddler while the mother is within earshot.

1) Close your mouth.

2) Smile.

3) If you must say something, make it a positive affirmation that yes, this season is hard, but you will get through it.  And NO ONE will care about how your kid’s hair looked thirty years from now.

Much obliged,

An imperfect but trying mom