Monday, June 20, 2011

Do Mother's Forget the Mommy Code?

I've mentioned before (I think!) that I am an advisor to a Jewish teen youth group.  Last week we had the closeout for the summer, inductions for council board (the supervisory board for the area) and awards.  One of my co-advisors and I went to the ceremony (which is too formal for what it actually was) to support our girls.

My coadvisor, S, (who is 5 months preggers with her second son!!!) brought her first son with her.  J is about 2.5 years old.  He's energetic but ADORABLE.  Anyway, we went upstairs to where the ceremony was taking place.  A bunch of chairs were set up for the teens to sit in and perpendicular to those chairs were chairs for the guests.  S and I sat down in the spectator area but J was not in the mood to sit.

Off to the side was a pool table. S sat J on the edge of the table, holding on to him, and gave him one of the pool balls.  He started rolling it into the pocket and would giggle when he made it in.  Now there were other balls in the pocket so it did make a small noise when it went in.  But we are talking about a ceremony being led by teenagers and attended by teenagers. Believe me when I say J's noise was barely noticeable.

But a woman in the spectator area actually shushed us (well ... technically S and J but I was standing there so I'll say us).  S fortunately realized she wasn't doing anything wrong and decided to ignore the woman (who was now also rolling her eyes).

I happen to know this woman.  I know that her youngest child is an advanced teenager.  So it has been a LONG time since she's had a toddler.

Do mother's forget?

Is it possible she has forgotten what it was like to calm her children?  I know one of her girls very well.  While lovely and creative, quiet she is not.  I imagine she gave her mother quite a challenge when growing up.  And I'm positive if that mother had been shushed she would have spoken up in her defense.

Shouldn't all mothers support each other (too naive?).  I'm not even a mother yet but I recognized that this wasn't an "inappropriate" place for a kid and J was definitely not doing anything wrong.

What about motherhood support?  Instead of looking at S with J and flashing the "knowing" mommy smile, she decided to shush and roll her eyes.

Am I the only one who thinks there is something wrong here?  That this woman broke some sort of mommy code?

A picture of my mom just because!


  1. I think you've hit the nail on the head, unfortunately. Once people are out of the toddler stage, they seem to forget that they ever went through it.

    It's a vicious cycle that starts before people have kids ("I'd NEVER let my kids act like that") and continues as people's kids age ("My kid NEVER acted like that.")

    As to why it happens...who knows? Some competitive spirit that makes everyone believe they will be/were the best mother on the face of the earth?

    All I know is I wish it wasn't that way. And I *hope* I don't turn into that woman.

  2. Some people just have no patience. Also though, her kid might have been a quiet toddler. I am an only child and my mom is amazed at what I can tune out... She says I was never as loud as my clan LOL

  3. I have to say I'd LOVE it if there were some kind of Mommy Code where we all supported each other 100% of the time... but there's not. I find that people with kids in elementary school are the most likely to sympathize instead of criticize, but even then you'll sometimes get disproving looks instead of "we've all been there"

    I also have to admit that I now completely understand all the mothers I used to roll my eyes at. I'd be in the grocery store watching Mom's bribe their children or letting their children scream in the middle of the aisle while they shopped and I would roll my eyes and say "I'll never have a kid that behaves like that" Guess what? I do. It takes having a toddler to realize that the easiest way to avoid a tantrum is a bribe... and that 99% of the time the fastest way to end a tantrum is to just let them scream and act like you don't know it's happening.

  4. I don't understand why mother's don't support each other more! It's amazing. I'm not even a mom and I realize that sometimes you just have to let kids screams. Now if you are in the middle of a play, or movie, or graduation, ok fair enough. Take the kid outside. But grocery shopping? Sorry kiddo, you can scream all you want but you are not getting the choc on choc on choc "cereal."

    @Beth: I'm still naive enough to think I won't have to bribe my kid TOO much ... but even I am not naive enough to think it would never happen!

  5. Oh I wish there was a mom code, but sadly there isn't. I get stares, comments, dirty looks quite often. You'd think that as a mom they're understand where I'm coming from. Sometimes kids just have to make noise, not in inappropriate settings, but they do make noise. Far too many times I've had to restrain myself from hurting someone! ;)

  6. This is a really great post. It raises a very good question. The thing is some people are jerks and think that they are superior in every way even as mothers so they dont bother to have any empathy. You are going to be a great mother someday if you choose to be : )

  7. @Crunchy: Thanks. The more I think about it the more I think there should be a mom code!


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