The last few days have been tough. It's been raining and cold so we're stuck inside (which makes both me and Veda crazy). Veda's got a cold. And she's popping up new teeth left and right so she's in pain and not sleeping well. And I've been busy with work at night. Busy trying to keep the house clean for showings (no bites yet). And busy trying to think of things to keep an active child busy indoors. We went to the library this afternoon in an attempt to do something away from home. When we got to the kids section we met another little girl who was hands down, the dirtiest child I've ever seen. (And I am not squeamish about dirt. I let Veda get pretty dirty when she plays.) But this girl had thick yellow snot running down her face. Filthy clothes. Wild hair. She sat down with us and we all colored on some flyers I found lying on the librarian's desk. She told me she was 3 years old and that she was here with her mommy.
Her mom had had her face stuffed into a computer screen since we got there and was not paying a bit of attention to the girl. She didn't even look up as her kid was talking with a stranger.
After a few minutes Veda got bored coloring so we walked through the aisles of books and looked at the different stuffed animals that were on top of the bookshelves. The little girl came along and we all made the different animals noises and scrunched up our noses when we saw bunnies.
When we hit the second to last row, her mother appeared out of nowhere and grabbed her hand and said "c'mon" and shot me a look.
And I judged her. Right then and there. For her "bad mothering". For her dirty (but really sweet) kid. For her lack of interest in where her daughter was during all that time. For the gruff handling of her kid. I judged her.
Veda and I picked out a few books and went home. When we got there, she was a basket case. Tired. Teething. Whiny. I offered her an array of snacks and she turned them all down… pointing at some nameless thing in the fridge that I couldn't figure out. She started bawling and then I lost it. I said that my life was a lot easier before I had her and that sometimes I regretted this whole motherhood thing.
I said that out loud. And right after I said it I felt my heart shatter into a million pieces. What an awful thing to say. What a mean thing to blurt. What if she understood me and I scarred her for life? Then I burst into tears and left the room, calling Colin away from his work and telling him I needed a break.
After 15 minutes of getting myself back together I came back in and picked Veda up. Told her I was so sorry. And would she forgive me because I didn't mean that. She was the best thing that's ever happened to me and I loved her dearly. And she kissed me on the lips. Forgiven.
Afterward I remembered the mother that I judged in the library, and it struck me that I was no better. I don't know her story or what she's going through. Maybe her daughter had just come in from playing in the mud puddles. Maybe it just wasn't worth the fight to comb her hair. Maybe she was looking for a job on the computer. Or maybe she was just tired and needed a little escape. And man… who says that to their kids? I did. I felt so ashamed.
I read all these blogs and know all these moms who seem to always have it together. Perfect moms who adore their kids every second of every day. It makes me wonder if they ever have weak moments when they lose all composure, or if they are just not telling the gruesome bits. Either way, in case there are other moms out there who need to hear it… who need a horrible mother companion… I am telling mine. And I'm not going to be judging any longer.