Today I was pushing Emily in her stroller while she ate a snack. We were on our way to music class. I scrolled through my phone as we walked and checked my Facebook feed.
Out of nowhere a woman walked close to me and with an intense anger looked me in the eyes and said, “Don’t text while you’re pushing your baby in a stroller. Your baby can’t tell you that you’re a NEGLECTFUL mother.”
Yes. A stranger- a woman I have never seen before (and hope to never see again) said those exact words.
She did not stop walking as she spewed her venom but just continued on her way. I, on the other hand, stopped and froze in complete shock.
There was a moment while I stood frozen when I could have reacted in anger. I could have said a lot of horrible things to her in return. But I’m a good mom and I would never want Emily to see me act that way.
Once the woman, who I’ve since deemed “angry mean scarecrow lady”, was far away, I looked at Emily in her stroller. She contentedly ate her puff cereal and her eyes struck me as particularly blue and pure in that moment.
I’ve had time now to get my bearings. I’ve talked it through with an empathetic friend and I’ve cried. And here’s what I want to say.
To judge another person so quickly. To just look at someone and decide to inject them anger and hostility. That must feel really, really horrible.
That woman must be miserable. She probably feels pain inside all the time, and she tried to spread to me.
Instead of internalize her absurd statement, I’ve decided to do what the wise Daniel Tiger says. “When something’s seems bad, turn it around. Find something good.”
So, if what that stranger did today was drive by meanness, I would like to start up some drive by kindness. Starting tomorrow when I notice something nice about stranger I’ll tell them. Whether it’s saying, “I know how hard it is and you’re doing great”to a hardworking mom or nanny or simply telling someone “that’s a beautiful hat!” I’m going to spread me some genuine kindness.
So, I’m sorry angry mean scarecrow lady, but your attack was not successful. I am going to continue to be the dedicated mom I am and I’m not going to let some hatred get in my way.
PS- This is a picture I drew of her when we got home. Something about drawing this was very therapeutic!