Since I became a parent to twins, there have been so many times when the kindness of strangers has quite literally made my day. Just one small act of kindness can have a much bigger impact than you might realise.
A few weeks ago, for example, we were having lunch in a very small, quiet café (my idea of a nightmare by the way. Two feral children, out in public and having to wait for food in a confined space… Rarely a winning combination!) Anyway, at one point, I was desperately trying to get H to sit on his chair. He was jumping up and down and generally being disobedient and turd-like (totally a word!)
After about the fifth time of me trying to tell him and being dutifully ignored, the café owner came over. He’d obviously overheard and probably sensed my growing frustration. He said firmly: ‘Henry, could you sit down please? We don’t stand on chairs.’ H looked up at him wide-eyed, then sat straight down on his seat without a word. If he had a tail it would have been between his legs. The guy then smiled at me and said ‘ah they always listen to a stranger!’ and went back to his work.
Now I don’t know if some mums might find that undermining? Maybe they’d take it as someone interfering and implying they couldn’t handle their own kid. I on the other hand, am well aware that I can’t handle my own kid and could have kissed the bloke! 😂
It got me thinking about how grateful I am when random people take the time to try and help me in some way. It tends to happen more if I’m visibly struggling, which isn’t so often these days to be fair – more when the twiglets were smaller. There were sooo many hard days when I was feeling overwhelmed, sleep-deprived, lonely and outnumbered by babies. Just a kind word from someone could have such a huge effect on my mood and really make my day.
But there have also been a LOT of occasions when I’ve really been having a hard time out in public with them and not a soul has offered any sort of assistance.
Why don’t people always help?
I think sometimes people can be reluctant to offer help in case they offend the person, and I totally get that. No one would want someone to get defensive or upset that they look like they’re not handling a situation. I’m quite a shy person so I often struggle to talk to new people. Therefore I actually find it difficult to offer someone help as I know I’d be upset if they took it the wrong way. However, I think most of us would realise that it was meant as a kind gesture and be grateful for that. And anyway if someone did bite your head off, surely that’s still better than a mum potentially being left to struggle away on her own?
Help a mum out
What I’m saying is, if you see a mum struggling, offer the help. Even if it’s just a knowing look of support when her kid’s having a meltdown in a shop. Or offering to keep an eye on one of her children for a few minutes at softplay while she deals with the other one having a tantrum or has to go and change a nappy. Or a quick chat to let her know she’s not alone and that others understand. Even if you’re not sure whether she needs it. You just never know what a difference a simple gesture of kindness might make to someone’s day.
Thanks for reading!
Til next time,