… the mom just like me.

I saw how when you entered the gym your two little girls were arguing, pushing and shoving each other. The elder one rushed through the turnstile and the younger one tried to follow, trying to emulate her sister, or retaliate, only to get smacked in the head by the bar coming up behind her. I saw how your hands were full of kit bags and car keys and entrance cards, you didn’t catch it in time. I saw the guilty and exasperated look on your face.

It happens. It used to happen to me every time we went there until about a month ago. Now my youngest scoots under the turnstiles. It’s nothing you did wrong. They will eventually learn. 

I saw you …

Wiping jam of your child’s face as you kissed him goodbye at the door of the classroom at 07.25am. I saw him wince, and I saw the guilt wash over your face. I saw you check you watch.

It happens. I did it the day before. Most days my child is still eating her toast on the way out the door, I did clean her face ten minutes before but it was dirty again by the time we got to school. I too didn’t have baby wipes in my back pocket, I mean, they’re nearly four! FOUR!

The guilt – forget it. We ALL do it.

The time factor – don’t stress, tomorrow will be better.

I saw you …

I saw your child run out in front of a car at the supermarket this afternoon, and how quick your reaction was in yanking her back. You yanked her back so hard you hurt her arm, she tripped and fell, and got mad at you and cried. I saw the guilt and relief wash over your face.

Don’t feel bad! It happens. You saved her life! She may be angry at you for making her fall down, but she has no idea what the alternative was. Ignore that angry driver who hooted at you. You did actually catch your child. I know you have tried to teach her how to cross a road a million times before. I know! But guess what? You won that one! Don’t feel bad. You did your job!

I heard you …

Screaming at them. I too don’t understand why they won’t keep their seat-belts on! I know you’re terrified of the harm they could come to. I know the daily fights to get them to ‘obey’ your seat-belt rules are tiring and feel pointless.

At least you’re still trying.

The screaming tells me you care. I scream at mine too. It’s our job. What’s the alternative? Let them roam around the moving vehicle? NO! Scream if that’s what works. Scream if they didn’t hear you the first five times you talked nicely! Do it! Don’t feel guilty! You’re trying to protect them. You care!

I saw you …

I saw you pull that biscuit out of your overloaded oversized unstylish handbag and give it to your crying child to try keep her quiet in the bank queue. I saw the desperation on your face, and the relief for the two minutes it took her to devour it before she started again.

You know what? Yesterday I paid double the accepted price for two bananas at the gym because I was in too much of a rush to feed them a proper lunch between school and their afternoon activities. I felt guilty, knowing I could have bought a whole bunch in the supermarket for the price of two in the gym. But you know what … it filled that hole. It closed that gap. It bought me time between that moment and dinner. That biscuit enabled you to complete the task you needed to get done. Ignore that judgy women tutting behind you, she’s not you, that’s not her crying baby, it’s yours!

What’s my point?

Do what works!

Do what you need to do!

Scream, yank, wipe, feed, shush, and cry.

Whatever you need to do, DO IT!

Only YOU know your child.

Only YOU know what they need.

Only YOU know what he or she has been through and can cope with.

Only YOU.

I see you!

We’re not all judging.

Forget them!

Some of us who see you are admiring, empathising, praying for and sending you positive vibes in the hope that you feel them and cut yourself some slack.

You are doing your best.

Parenting is hard.