Don't judge a mother by the screams of her child

My face is still flushing with embarrassment as I write this.  I have over and over vowed not to be "that mom".  The Mom that stands by and judges things like screaming kids, kids running thought the aisles at the grocery store, kids melting down at the Icee machine.  Because sometimes I'm on the other side of the fence.  Sometimes my kids are the ones evoking stares of the masses, and unfortunately the stares from "that mom".  I was that mom today, as I listened to a child scream 3 or 4 times in Costco.  Today being a Sunday, a very crowded Sunday, with samples at the end of most aisles, and everyone shopping for the up coming week.  
At first I was kind of dumbstruck at the sound coming out of a child.  It was loud, even breaking the sound barrier of the normal din in Costco.  I looked toward the sound and thought, well it must be nap time, or it must be time for a snack, or maybe it's just time to go home.  

By the fourth time I heard the sound, I turned and saw the family in line for check out.  Mom, loud/crying toddler, and his older brother and sister.  He was having a meltdown, as I can spot those a mile away, and then something happened that stopped my Judge Judy alter ego in it's tracks.  His mom, lightly touched his cheek, made eye contact with him and started signing.  Signing.  As he tried to turn his head she snapped her fingers and continued to sign and then pointed toward the food court.  Looks like her little man wants some ice cream and doesn't want to wait for it.  It was then that I flushed with embarrassment.  

Who the hell do I think I am?  Judging mothers who are very much like me on the outside, but with a story so different from mine on the inside.  We are no different, her and I.  We have children, we are both trying to navigate through Costco on a busy, hot and humid Sunday.  I was embarrassed because she is doing the best she can with what she can.  I was embarrassed because she has an obstacle in motherhood that I don't.  I was embarrassed because I judged too quickly.  

So as I walked by enough shampoo to last 2 lifetimes, I said a prayer.  
Lord, thank you for blessing me with all I can handle.  Lord, bless her for what she is handling,  Lord, forgive me for judging a mom by the screams.  

You'd think my embarrassment ended there.  You would be wrong.  To end our day at Costco, we too had to stop at the food court for hot dogs.  Again, I bumped into this same Mom and her three kids.  Again, she was signing to the little one, who was still asking/crying for ice cream (it was about 100 today, so I get it).  Then with a barely audible sound, the Mom, snapped her fingers and signed to her oldest son.  I flushed all over again.  This wasn't just a Mom dealing with the chaos of motherhood, this was a warrior, battling her way through motherhood with obstacles I will never understand.  Can you imagine mothering your child without your hearing?  How many of us rely on what our ears can and cannot hear?  Can you imagine mothering without your voice?  Without the ability to quickly get your point across?  

I'm sure this mom, this warrior, would tell you she's just a mom.  She just goes along loving her kids and doing her job.  Yet to someone like me, who feels like motherhood is a daily battle, she is a super mom.  A super mom whose kids were running around and crying in Costco.  A super mom who I never once saw lose her temper.  A super mom who was able to discipline and explain circumstances, without the sound of her voice.  A super mom who spoke straight to my heart and changed the meaning of motherhood for me once again.  

Perhaps it's not the Pinterest projects, the organized pantries, or the color coded calendars that make us a super mom.  Maybe it's our ability to mother under the most challenging of circumstances.

Today I learned my lesson, said a prayer, and will try really hard, 
not to judge a mother by the screams of her child.


  1. My friend's brother and his wife and both deaf and raise 2 kids. I am always amazed at how they do it. Their 2 kids are not deaf and are the sweetest little things. They have adjusted their lives to face their challenges and I am always amazed.

  2. I really enjoyed reading through this post, Megan! Your honesty as always is what gets me back here every time. :) You are one of the most "real" mommy bloggers that I've come across so far online. Continue sharing your experiences with us all...they've been a huge help! (Btw, I will be sending you an email later!)

  3. So true, it is so easy to judge even when we don't know the whole story!

  4. GAH! Great post and I am so guilty of that.

  5. What a wonderful post and reminder. I think after we all have an "incident" of our own we do good not judging for a while but it is too easy to soon forget. We all need reminders, thank you.

  6. Hi! Found you through a retweet on Twitter- and so glad I clicked on that link!

    Thank you so much for the wonderful reminder. I also tell myself not to be "that mom" with judgy stares but it happens more often than I'd like.

    I'm working to be more conscious of my quick judgement.

    Her Heart Proclaims ♥ eMinistry

  7. Great post - as usual. I think we all do this, even if we don't want to admit it. Judge other parents. We should really be a better community of support for one another. Because I know personally, more times than not, I feel so alone in my battles/struggles/mom guilt and all the rest. This is a great reminder for all of us.

  8. Wow. this is awesome! Truly eye opening.

  9. Exactly this: "Perhaps it's not the Pinterest projects, the organized pantries, or the color coded calendars that make us a super mom. Maybe it's our ability to mother under the most challenging of circumstances."

    Love you, friend.

  10. So, so, so needed to read this today...thank you for sharing.