Most of the time I hate it when bad things happen in my day, but I have to admit it is cracking blog fodder when I’m running low on ideas.
Today was a good one. It involves me shouting at someone while I walk down the street with my daughter. That’s fine parenting right there!
Related: Be kind to parents
I’ve been toying with how to write this one. I could try for humorous, which we all know I try and fail spectacularly in equal measure. Or, I could go for the sympathy vote: tough drop off at childcare, busy day, colleague stops me as I’m walking out the door to do something, lift is broken so have to walk down six flights of stairs, yah yah yah, poor me. But really, it’s just this.
I knicked an elderly woman with the pram today.
I didn’t mean it. No, not at all. The woman was ambling at a slow pace while I tried to race home with missy on a 31-degree day. I slipped past her *winning* and she veered right, knicking the pram. I kept walking, but turned back briefly to make sure she was OK. Big mistake. Cue abuse.
And the worst kind of abuse. The “You should be more careful with your baby” abuse. The kind of abuse that makes you feel like you’re a terrible mother. Never mind the cuddles you gave the night before after missy fell out of bed, never mind the supply of carefully chosen snacks on the way home, and chatter about dance classes while basking in kisses. You. Are. The. Worst.
I ignored it. “You need to be more careful with your pram,” she remonstrated.
“No, you need to be more careful where you’re walking,” I said back, ready to move on.
“It wasn’t me, it was you!” she yelled. “You hit me. You hit me with your pram.”
At this point the sea was in my ears. I was feeling a very calm kind of rage and I let loose. There were no severe insults. The worst I could do was, “Maybe if you could walk straight” but the point was I lost it. I lost it in front of my impressionable, parroting two-year-old who had much to say about the incident as we walked home.
I felt shame. Of course, I felt this shame while still mentally shouting at the woman in my head, and thinking about all the things I should’ve said instead of walking about and shouting “We won’t agree until kingdom come (until kingdom come, wtf?) so let’s just move on, shall we?”
No matter who was at fault (her of course), I had lost it in front of my kid. I had a moment to set a good example, to be the bigger person, to admonish a woman for her behaviour, rather than sinking to her level, and instead I let my inner bogan rip.
I feel like a bit of a nerd admitting that I used this as an opportunity to chat to my wide-eyed miss about mummy’s behaviour and how it’s not nice to shout at people, no matter what they did – but I did.
Then I shared the experience with mothers’ group and they all made me feel wonderful, so things can’t be that bad, can they?
Next up: We survived ditching the dummy