Does the below scenario sound familiar?
I had been looking for a class or activity in which both my 3 year old and 18 month old can participate in together. Two weeks ago I decided to enroll them in a Musical Mommy & Me class that accommodates children 1-4 inclusively, which I thought was great, this way I didn’t need to worry about a babysitter or rushing to take my younger one while the other was in half day pre-school.
First, I brought them to a trial class, which they both loved! It was us and one or two other families with the teacher. Both of my children sat, sang, were engaged with the activities and loved all of the musical instruments. So to me, it was a done deal.
When we arrived to our very first class, I was excited. The trial went well, so this should be the same. Right?
Of course it was a dreary day and as soon as we parked in the lot it began to pour and mommy didn’t have her hooded coat on. I arrived in the music studio soaked but kids had hoods and were dry so that was fine. My 3 year old was excited to go in but the baby seemed to be getting very antsy…uh oh, this could be a problem. She already started squirming and took off running the moment I let her down. The class is in a large studio with a long mirrored wall… perfect for any toddler to want to run around and watch themselves get into mischief!
As I fixed my wet hair into a ponytail, and began chasing after my little one, I felt this overwhelming sensation that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Then it hit me, grabbing my little one who is now squirming non-stop to get free, I began walking into the circle of moms sitting on the floor – all with their children comfortably folded into their laps waiting for class to start. I sat down next to my other daughter still trying to calm the little one and I felt like all the moms’ eyes were staring right through me.
As class was underway, and after I got up to chase my little one about fifteen times already, I was feeling a sense of anxiety. Not only was my baby running all over the place but when I tried to engage her in the class, she sat for a minute then either tried to get up again or just screamed as I attempted to keep her on my lap, my other daughter seemed to be having a good time, but unlike the other children sitting nicely on the carpet, mine was rolling around on the floor and jumping all over as she played with the instruments. I mean, I normally would not mind what they were doing, they are kids who have short attention spans and tons of energy, but why were all the other kids just sitting and listening? Why was it only my two sticking out like sore thumbs? Why did I feel like the moms were looking at me as though I was the hot mess that I felt like at that very moment? Why did I even care… but I did.
I’m never the mom who gets embarrassed when their kid starts screaming in the grocery store… I’m the one who tries not to give a crap what other people think… I mean please – like your kid never acted like this??? But for some reason, that one day sitting in a close circle of moms from my same community, that I might see at other events or around the neighborhood, suddenly I cared. I was not and would never be embarrassed of my children and their behavior but I was embarrassed by myself, as being that hot mess of a mom, running all over like a lunatic with the wet hair that looks like she can’t keep it together long enough to get through a Mommy & Me class…
When you’re in the heat of the moment during these situations sometimes you can feel like this only happens to you. Like you’re the only one in the world with unruly toddlers. But please know this is not true You are definitely not alone!
Even though, at that moment, I felt like all those moms were staring at me, it is more likely that they were just remembering how they felt when their kids acted that same way… and they probably felt as shitty as I did at the moment. Children are just unpredictable and we all need to accept it and roll with the punches. I know I say that I like to do my best or at least look great trying but sometimes there are just going to be those days that everything is ok for a while then the shit hits the fan and it all goes downhill from there – then you feel like a total disaster. It’s just inevitable. When these days occur, you need to do your best to work through it, and tell yourself to stay calm. Try to remember that everyone around you was probably in your shoes at one time or another so they can relate. Just ignore that other stuff around you and focus on your kids and what you need to do to turn the situation around. Sometimes just getting out of there and changing the scenery totally changes everyones demeanor.
You will eventually find what works for you and If all else fails, tomorrow is a new day (with a whole new set of hurdles to jump over!)