You know the moment in Target when you lose your cool completely then look up at the security cameras and wonder if you are going to be on the evening news? I’m willing to bet at that same moment, there are women in Targets all over the country looking up for the same reason. We all see the same moon; we all see the same security cameras.
Losing your cool in Target is not unique. It is universal. Ironically, so are disapproving glares from fellow shoppers who presumably have never seen a child before. Why then, do we often feel like it is just us? Like I am the only person whose child morphs into a raving lunatic, complete with spinning head, because I won’t buy him new Legos or a bag of Halloween candy that is out two months too early?
Because people don’t tend to talk about the ugly parts. You see happy first day of school pictures and pictures of kids in football jerseys and kids holding trophies and everyone is always smiling. You hear stories of kids getting awards and being the absolute best at absolutely everything.
So we’re left thinking, “wow, I bet their kid doesn’t refuse to jump in the water during swim lessons, or fling the dance leotard across the room because she hates it and dance is stupid, or cry because he wasn’t picked to be a shark in soccer.” And we feel alone. Like we are doing it all wrong.
I get it that people don’t want to be complainers or make their kids look bad but we could all have a more meaningful shared human experience if we also got to see a more accurate view of what other people are going through.
I want to see pictures of your kid sitting down, picking grass in the outfield with no visible sign that he is aware he is supposed to be playing a game. Or a picture of your daughter crying on stage at the dance recital because she’s terrified, and now you feel like the worst mother in the world for making her do it. I want to hear the story about your son getting in a fight on the playground because it was his turn to be Batman. Or how you hosted a playdate at your house and your daughter refused to share a single one of her toys with the other kids and cried the entire time because you made her.
We all have these experiences. The more we hear that other people have them too, we feel less anxious and more assured that we are not doing everything wrong. Kids are just crazy.
I like to throw things.