An Open Letter to the Mom with the Toddler at the Restaurant this Morning

Child-eating

Originally published in 2015

By: Nicole Collins

I was there on a business meeting, discussing the usual return on investment that would arise if the given company had made changes to their data infrastructure, but you caught my eye. Actually in all honesty, the older woman and her friend sitting in the booth next to me first caught my attention when they called a manager over to their table. You see, her unsweet tea wasn’t quite sweet enough, and her bagel – well that bagel apparently was too salty. (may I suggest next time not choosing chive cream cheese if you’re looking for a mild taste) After telling the manager all the things he is doing wrong in this establishment that is just shy of being open for four days, he gave her her money back.

A few minutes later this women turned her attention to you. Someone changed the TV channel from one news station to another. To your toddler, this was the end all be all of everything that held him together at that moment. I get it. I know the feeling. See, I too have a toddler and I understand their abilities to go from zero to complete-and-utter-meltdown-because-you-won’t-let-me-eat-this-here-pepper-shaker. I know the fluttering feeling in your chest when that happens because you don’t want to be THAT mom in the restaurant with the shrieking tiny human. In the two second window of this all beginning I saw you glance up and pray for maybe just another sixty seconds of non-meltdown freak out so you could quickly inhale your iced coffee and bagel.

You’re doing okay mom. These things happen. No one wants to have a shrieking toddler, but it happens. I know the lump in your throat that arises and the flushed cheeks when you can’t possibly escape the place you are in fast enough during a toddler meltdown.

The lady next to me, she seems to have forgotten what it’s like. Even if she never had children of her own, somewhere someone in her past did. After her tenth exaggerated dirty glare directly at your table, and after her fourth time fully twisting around and staring at you as if her refunded chive cream cheese that she was now eating somehow got in her eye, you so gracefully grabbed your belongings and your little guy and got up.

What she didn’t know was how you felt in that moment. I whole-heartedly considered coming over to ask if I could entertain your little one for five minutes with the random toys that I’m sure were buried in my purse, just so you could eat. The reality of stranger danger these days prevented me from approaching you as I’m not sure how I would have felt if some strange lady with toys in her purse asked to helped me out, but part of me still regrets not trying to help so you could at least have finished your coffee.

What the lady in the booth didn’t notice was how beneath your cute sun hat, was where your hair once was. You couldn’t have been a day older than me, but you’re going through a battle I can’t even fathom. She didn’t notice how slightly to the right of your v-neck tee, the scar from your port peeked out, but I noticed. You’re a strong mom and you’re doing a great job. See, this older lady in the booth next to me, she was too busy feeling accomplished that you were now leaving with your noisy toddler.

I’ll admit it, I’m guilty of it. Before having a baby of my own I didn’t understand why parents couldn’t control their shrieking kid and just press the mute button. But now I get it. It happens. Controlling a toddler can often be compared to trying to nail jello to a tree.

What’s happened to our society where we’ve become so inward focused that we’ve lost the human nature of compassion for one another? We need to stop focusing so much on ourselves and how everyone around us negatively affects us and go back to a compassionate view and putting yourself in the others shoes.

You’re not perfect. I’m not perfect. Your bagel isn’t perfect. But we’re all human. Life is an adventure and if we can’t slow down enough to focus on everyone we meet with the same compassion and love that you want the world to give you, well then, I guess everyone is just going to want their money back in the end.

Hey Mom at The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. in Coral Springs this morning around eleven, you’re doing a great job. I don’t know you, but I am praying for the battle you’re fighting Momma.

bf19ec4dc111416fea178fb881a0da3eNicole Collins is a Coral Springs based mom who runs “The Mom Editorial.” She is mom to Blake and is a sunshine loving, corporate America working, organic baby food making mom. The Mom Editorial is a new and exciting lifestyle blog for the modern busy and stylish mom that focuses on baby, kid and beauty products that keeps women’s lives functional and fashionable.

  • Sam Gray

    OK- I am one of those people who hates screaming kids. And I have 2 nephews, so, I have been there as well. But I get it. and this woman with the toddler has a lot going on in her life. This truly made me think before I judge. Thank you for writing this. It brought tears to my eyes.

    • Rhonda Collazo

      I cried as I read your article- I would have gotten up and sat down with her, after giving the old bat a very long dirty look. You see I lost my daughter last year, so I do notice the “things that you noticed” and what ever I can do in my life to help any mother, I will. What ever happened to compassion for our fellow man?

  • kilroy

    originally published on 2015 ? Why not throw in the moon landing from 1969 while your at it.