Yes, you. I owe you an apology. For all the times I cast judgement upon you, I am forever sorry. There I stood (childless) knowing exactly how I expected my family to look in years to come. I didn't realize I was judging. It wasn't intentional. It just seemed obvious that one day in the future I would have children who wouldn't belly crawl on the floor of the grocery store checkout lane. Obviously. It seemed clear that my future children would eat healthy (because, after all, they only learn to love the foods you offer). I mean, of course I wouldn't raise children who lick shopping carts. So, as I sat watching your child make an absolute pigsty of the restaurant floor, I knew I would always be the mom who would get on my hands and knees and thoroughly clean the restaurant carpet of all cracker debris before leaving the establishment.
AND. THEN. I. HAD. KIDS.
I take it all back. All the unintentional judgement is forever removed from my being. I get you.
I. AM. YOU.
Of course our children slither like snakes on the supermarket floor. Yes, it makes my skin crawl. Yes, I tell them to get up. Yes, they do it again the next time we go to the store. It's just who they are.
Of course our children lick shopping carts. And rocks. And the bottom of their shoes after just walking through the pediatrician's office. It's just who they are.
Of course we leave the restaurant floor a pigsty. It's not because we don't care or we are rude. It's because we just finished the herculean task of taking children into a restaurant...with menus...and breakable dishes. We made it through the ordering, the WAIT for the food, the cutting of the food, and the inhaling of our food so we are done at the same time as the children. We are tired. We already have thousands of lunch crumbs under our own tables at home. We can't clean these. We are too tired. And so, we add a little extra to the tip and thank the Lord for places where people will clean up after us for a change.
And last night, all we wanted was an onion burger from our favorite little burger joint. But we knew that restaurant was off-limits to us because they don't serve chicken fingers. Just burgers. Our kids don't eat burgers. So what did we do? We...wait for it...drove through the McDonalds' drive-thru and ordered chicken nuggets. I know...we are terrible parents. It gets worse. Then we smuggled them into the restaurant in our purses. Case in point:
And then after we ordered our onion burgers we sat RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of the restaurant and concealed said nuggets in the restaurant's own sacks. Case in point:
Some might call this absurd. But you (mom I used to judge) and I call it brilliant. The children were so happy with their chicken. We were SO HAPPY with our onion burgers. We had delightful family conversation. No one licked the floor. It was a success.
You and I...we get each other. I will forever support you. We are moms. It's what we do.