‘I heard a lady say, ‘I would never NOT care if my child was running around. I’d STOP them.’ She gave me a disapproving look when my son threw himself forward and I had to catch him.’

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“I was brave enough to venture out to meet a friend and her husband at a rib and burger place last week.

I don’t like to go anywhere as a single parent where there are food and people with my children, because it usually leads to an anxiety disaster.

Rest assured folks, this day delivered.

My son (God love him…) clung to me like Velcro, and I had to peel him off me to grab my purse to order.

He screamed, he yelled, he wanted to leave, I bargained him with chippies and he semi settled enough for me to go order.

The lovely girl behind the counter asked me about 20 questions, none of which I understood because I was just trying to make it through the order process alive.

She gave me a disapproving look when my son threw himself forward and I had to catch him.

I know what people think of people who come in with kids who scream at restaurants.

You wish we wouldn’t.

The anxiety provoking experience is like commando crawling through a minefield – we are just waiting for it to explode in our faces… so we don’t need disapproving shakes of the head, or stares when a child yelps or makes a tiny little sound.

I personally do not need you to act like we aren’t welcome. I already visualize tranquilizing my children so they can be quiet, and therefore you can have an enjoyable experience, and therefore I can have enjoyable experience.

But now I’m starting to think, well, ENOUGH of that.

If I can maneuver two children, order food, feed them, and leave all alive, without blowing up the place, or creating a 48-hour seizure… then I’d say I’m doing a marvelous job that should be celebrated.

So, on that merit, I went to a cafe with a friend, where for the first time I didn’t helicopter my child. I was just too tired, and I wanted for once, just once, to enjoy a coffee.

I heard a lady say, ‘I would never not care if my child was running around. I’d stop them.’

My son was picking up rocks quietly and examining them…

Instead of reacting, I didn’t. I sat and sipped my coffee and enjoyed it. I savored every little moment of that caramel-colored liquid gold…

You know why? Because I matter.

Because mothers matter.

A coffee and having adult company are very nurturing to the isolating world of parenting. The biggest problem parents face is isolation and the greatest cure for that is socialization.

Socializing keeps us sane… and considering we are raising the next generation of potential world leaders, you should also encourage that we stay sane. You should encourage children in restaurants and cafes, because their interaction is important too. They might be little, but they’re still humans! So, smile when you see them, and in fact, you should be so enthusiastic about our presence, that you should buy us a coffee.

Just kidding.

We don’t freeload at restaurants or cafes either… We pay for our short-lived fleeting moments of adulthood, we don’t just order a coffee. We order three meals, cookies, cake… and more coffees…we earn our keep and contrary to societal beliefs, we don’t want to spend those adult socialization moments at play centers every. single. time.

So the next time you see a poor mother, struggling with a stroller and a little screaming banshee… move the seats for her so she can get her stroller through. Smile at her… and carry on like her and her children’s existence hasn’t disrupted your life, because I guarantee her anxiety is through the roof, and not because her child is running around screaming, but because she’s worried about what YOU are thinking of her.

A kind gesture goes a long way to her. She’s a mother, she doesn’t get sleep, she doesn’t poop alone, she works 24/7, she gives herself everyday – so tirelessly. She deserves to enjoy a hot coffee. She deserves a little piece of sanity.”

Little boy sits drinking out of little green mug
Laura Mazza

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Laura Mazza of Mum on the Run, where it originally appeared. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best love stories here.

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