Yes, I am staring at you. And yes, I am judging. But not in the way you are thinking. The first thing I wonder is why on earth you thought you could bring your two-year old to a restaurant at 8 p.m. and expect angelic behavior. Certainly, you had to know he was going to fuss.
And then I think, Young mother, you will learn. You need not go red in the face with embarrassment. Every mother in here has been in your shoes and not one of us looking at you has the right to judge. Parenting is hard, and we all know that. We also know that this won't be the most embarrassing occasion your child will bless you with.
There may be a moment when he craps his big boy underwear in the middle of the mall. Or that he points to the clearly overweight and not pregnant lady and declares loud and clear, "She has a baby in her belly!" Oh yes, this moment in the restaurant will not be your worst moment, nor your biggest mistake.
I can tell you right now, your fussy child will ruin your night. You will get your meal and shovel it down your gullet just as fast as your fork can move, not tasting a thing, so that you can get the squeaker out of here and stop being looked at. You will seethe with anger at him, want to shake him, or squeeze his arm just a little too hard. You will lay him in bed tonight and let him cry it out; there will be no extra love for the kid who just ruined your dinner. You will snap at your husband, like it's his fault this is happening, and wonder why the hell he is just sitting there, not helping.
All in all, the entire family will suffer your wrath, because you decided to take your tired two-year old-out to dinner too damn late.
But you will learn, like the rest of us. You will learn to stick to his routine, to go to restaurants at 5 p.m., to stay home when his day has been too long. But you must go through this embarrassment first. Because not one of us was born knowing how to be a good mother, nor were any of us handed the manual at the elevator of the hospital birthing floor upon exit. And when you have this situation figured out, a new one will come along and slap you in the sweet young-mother face, and you will be put at square one again.
So listen, lady with the screaming two-year-old, people may be staring, but don't you mind them. Every mother here knows what it is to be you. You go about your too late, shouldn't be here right now, I think I might die of embarrassment dinner with no apologies. You are young and, quite frankly, a little dumb. But you will learn.
It won't get easier, but you will get better at this. You might even get good at it. And sooner than you know it, your children will be grown, it will have all gone by too fast, and you will be old and, quite frankly, not give a shit what anyone else thinks any more.
So order yourself a glass of wine. Better make that two. Because not only is this going to be a long night, but motherhood will be a long, yet extremely rewarding roller coaster.
Enjoy the ride.
The Pulled Together Mom
Written by: Pam Toigo is a part-time working, full-time mother of three. She's also a wife, decorator, shopper, runner, and blogger, among other titles. To read more from Pam, visit www.thepulledtogethermom.com.
Photo courtesy of www.thepulledtogethermom.com.