If you are a mother, you know how challenging the job can be sometimes. Don't get me wrong, it's the best thing in the world - but it's challenging.
And we all know there are no shortage of critics. The key word there is "critics": "why aren't you doing this?"; "you need to put a stop to that"; "I'd tan my child's behind if she acted like that." They question whether you are honestly trying to do what is best for your child or not. I could lay out a whole list. And sometimes it is particularly difficult when your biggest critic is somebody you respect - maybe a family member, or a friend.
Here's the problem: Critics demoralize. They wear you down just when you are at your wits end anyway.
But, there is an opposite to this, and it is what we as mothers need the most: encouragers. (I'm getting to my point here).
I was at Hobby Lobby on Friday afternoon. Chuck was coming home that day after being gone for six days. Allison and I had been to order Mimi a birthday cake; we went and picked her out some new music for the car (mom's, you know you have to change the cd every couple of months); and we went and bought Daddy a few of his favorite cookies to welcome him home. Our last and final stop was Hobby Lobby.
Now, I don't know about you, but Allison cannot go into Hobby Lobby without getting into a cart; otherwise, this story would be far worse. So, I put her in a cart. Things were going pretty well on our way back to the fabric department. All I needed was some orange tulle to finish a tutu for a neighbor. But once we got to the fabric department, Allison wanted DOWN!!! And she pulled out every trick in the book including: "Mommy, I just need to get out so I can hug you and kiss you better!" Yeah, right.
Well, she ran out of excuses why she needed to get down by the time we got to the checkouts (where there were two very long lines). Her excuses turned into very LOUD pleas; she started trying to climb out of the cart herself (which I stuck to my guns and made her stay in). To make a long story short, I stayed very calm, but I was at my wit's end by the time we left. And now, the point of my story is here:
A lady came to my car as I was getting my screaming child into her car seat and she said this: "I know you are probably frustrated, but I just wanted you to know that you are doing a good job." What? Excuse me? She continued. "You were in a tough situation. You stayed calm. You didn't give in. You can't. Once you do, she'll scream even louder next time. And I just wanted to let you know that, as a mother, you did a good job."
You see, this lady was an encourager. I'm sure there were no shortage of critics in that line, but this lady knew what I needed. And she, without knowing, has taught me a valuable lesson. She was an encourager just when I needed it the most. A stranger. I can only hope and pray that I might be an encourager to, as well as friends and members of my family with kids, complete strangers when they need it most....on the spot.
Thank you Lady at Hobby Lobby...I don't know your name, but I have no doubt that I will remember your sweet face for a very long time!