Wishing you a happy holiday from Sensory Bridge and my family.
I love Target. How can I not be happy when I’m surrounded by cute lamp shades and Santa shaped sippy cups!?!? Target opened its doors in my town this week. I have already gone twice. It is my happy place.
I was getting a shopping cart for my youngest to ride in when I saw her. Snarky Mom was in my happy place. This woman causes rage in me that is seen by few. Her child attends the same school as my children. She is someone who regularly stares down her nose at me. My deep-seated dislike for this woman reached a new level when she grabbed my son, who was mid-meltdown in the school hallway, and told him off for being a bad child. Suffice to say, we are not BFF’s.
I loaded my baby into the cart and grabbed the coats from the older kids; they’d be abandoned in an aisle somewhere never to be found again if I didn’t. I could hear a child crying somewhere nearby. It was 4:15; it’s not unusual to hear kids getting cranky at this time of day. Especially since they were in a store full of people, toys, and other fun things that mom probably wasn’t buying for them.
Snarky Mom, in all her self-righteousness, starts talking down about the mother of the child who was freaking out to her own child. Snarky Mom started with, “Listen to that badly behaved child. Oh and listen to that mom. I would never treat you like that. She is such an awful mother to say that.” She carried on, lambasting this mother.
The mother in question is not someone I know, nor do I know her child. I know nothing about the situation other than what I heard over a row of racks filled with $1.00 items. Did this mother say something unkind to her child? Yes she did. Was it a good thing to say to her child? Probably not. Have I said something similar when one of my kids had been misbehaving all day and I was at my wits end? I am sure I have.
In an ideal world I would get enough sleep, eat right, have a few minutes to myself each day to recharge, and do it all with patience. Reality is a big kick in the head! Some nights I don’t get enough sleep. Sometimes I am stressed about something and snap at my kids. I can be a less than perfect mom. I know there are times when I am an absolutely amazing parent and there are times when I am not. When I heard this mom dealing with her screaming child, my first thought was, “You can do this. I know it is embarrassing to have your child screaming through the checkout. I know you are tired and ready to call it a day. I know you don’t mean what you are saying. You’ll feel guilty later; you’ll apologize to your child and forgive yourself. Ignore the Snarky Mom types who think you are a bad mom."
I wonder if her child really was misbehaving. Maybe her child was one of the many that have an ‘invisible’ special need. My son doesn’t look different, but he sure can act different from his peers.
Can we start a revolution where we build up rather than tear down? Instead of giving dirty looks to people, can we be thankful for those few minutes when it isn’t our child causing the scene? Can we change our own thoughts from ones of judgements to ones of kindness?
I realize that I need to try and extend this kindness to Snarky Mom. Oh how it pains me to say it. While I doubt that I am going to invite her over to do our nails while we giggle and watch lame 80’s movies, I will try to start this revolution from inside me.
Will you join me? Can we build up with kindness and do away with the judgement? I’d like to see that.
I recently found my grade 12 yearbook. Besides noticing that I have a few more wrinkles and a few more pounds, I noticed that my grad write-up about where I would be in 10 years, was not where I was. I wrote something about being a missionary and I had a few shout-outs to my large group of friends.
If motherhood had yearbooks, my 2004 write-up would be a picture of me with a little baby bump and a list of how I was going to be the one mother who’s child was always well behaved and adored by all. It would say that my husband and I were sure we would still eat at posh restaurants and take in the occasional rock concert or theatrical event.
My 2013 motherhood yearbook would look very different. The picture would be of me, in what I affectionately call, my “dirty hipster bun” and at least one child would have their finger up their nose or be crying. I would write about how the longer I have been a parent, the less I think I know about it, how I love these children more than life itself, and how sometimes the child that is perfect for you, isn’t perfect.
My oldest child has Sensory Processing Disorder. He feels more, sees more, and hears more than I do. Small things, like the type of fabric that his clothes are made of, affect him greatly. This in turn affects our family. Every time we do something, like go to an event, or visit someone’s house, I am aware that it could be too much for him.
Last year, right before Christmas, a friend sent me a message with a link to a Santa mall event. It was a sensory-safe event. This meant the organizers had tried their best to remove the excess stimulation. I could not attend because it was a limited event and over an hour’s drive away. What it did give me, was an idea.
This idea, to start a company that could host events for families with special needs children(sensory or otherwise), has taken another six months of emails, texts, phone calls, and me begging friends to come on board and help. I have been blessed with some amazingly gifted friends. They have set up meetings, walked me through countless tech problems, taken my picture, edited/written copy, built websites, and volunteered to help with anything else that I need.
I am so excited to bring Sensory Bridge Events to life. The events that we host are open to all families that have children with sensory disorders or other special needs. Everyone deserves to have fun. If you have a community, company, or personal event and would like to have a sensory-safe version, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will contact you and discuss how we can work together.