The power of kindness

So, I don’t want this post to turn in to a pity party. But lets just start with the facts:

Henry (my husband) is away in South Africa for 8 days. I am pregnant and Jet, our 18 month old has a stinking cold (thanks November). He woke up this morning really irritable and just not really much fun to be around. I’m shattered and not feeling super well myself. But I’d been getting through the morning okay, pouring all my energy in to being positive around Jet and trying to distract him from his poorly, snotty, sore throat, bad mood.

I thought it was best to escape the house for an hour so we popped over to a new café that we’ve discovered in our area. Its amazing if you’ve got little ones. It has loads of toys and space for them to run around but it also serves actual, good coffee. Shock horror. A café can suit kids and adults.

I am also quite behind on some work, not lots, just a few emails that had deadlines that I needed to get out today. I settled down at a table and Jet ran off to play. I was quickly trying to ping out at least one of my emails when I noticed a mum pull Jet off her little girl.

I missed the actual moment, but the little girl had a toy phone so I’m pretty sure Jet set his eyes on it and wanted to get hold of it, giving no thought to the poor girl.

I got down to Jet’s level and removed his grasp from the girls phone. At this point the mum hissed at me:

‘He just pushed and hit my daughter’

It’s funny isn’t it, how in just a moment we can totally change someone’s day. I had been coasting along trying to keep it together and in that one sentence that mum completely knocked the wind out of my sails and made me feel like such an atrocious parent.

She said it with such venom and judgment.

The reality is, Jet is 18 months. I am absolutely not condoning what he did. Trust me, there’s nothing I want more than to raise a kind, considerate, patient child. But, let’s be real for a moment, he’s learning boundaries, he’s learning about possession: what is mine what is yours, how can I make it mine(!)

Disciplining an 18 month old is tough. It takes a heck of a lot of repetition. Sometimes I hear myself say the same sentence SO many times I think it would be so much easier just to turn a blind eye. To pretend I haven’t seen him stand up in his high chair for the millionth time that meal and to just drink my tea and hope he sits back down. But I’m trying, I’m trying to be patient and persistent.

And you’d hope, of all the other people out there, mums would get it the most.

It also got me thinking about the fact that we never know someone else’s story, how their day’s been, what has got them to this point where you’ve just crossed paths.

She didn’t know that I’m flying solo with a poorly toddler. And she didn’t really care. She just wanted justice for her little girl (who 5 minutes later was doing the same thing to a different child, oh the irony)

This really isn’t a rant, or a request for sympathy. More just an observation and something that I’ve learnt this morning.

Kindness really is so powerful, we never know where someone has come from and to give everyone the benefit of the doubt is surely always the best route to take?

That’s definitely want I want to teach Jet. To assume the best in people. For them to always leave his company feeling better and uplifted rather than judged or criticised.

Whilst still with the mum and her little girl I explained to Jet that we don’t hit our friends, that it’s nice to wave hello or to give a cuddle. But she wasn’t interested in reconciling, she pulled her daughter away back to where she was enjoying a coffee with another mum and they both rolled their eyes at each other.

We didn’t last much longer, I got our stuff together and we headed back home. It’s a big café but suddenly I felt very on show.

I hate to think that I have ever made another parent feel so small or inadequate. The next time a child hits Jet I’m going to approach the parent with the biggest smile I can. In a non creepy way hopefully ;)

Anyway, enough nap time ramblings. I need to go and have a nap and start again this afternoon.


journal, ParentingRuth Marsden