Dear Mom With the Snot-Nosed Baby and Toddler at Chick-Fil-A,
Hi there, Little Mama. If you are getting that weird feeling that someone is staring at you—you’re right. It’s me. And I promise, I’m not being a weirdo. It’s just—wow! I see you there with your two-under-two in their high chairs, dishing out bits from the oh-so-healthy fruit cup and grabbing napkins to wipe that snot away, all while not missing a beat in the conversation with your 3 or 4 girlfriends and their snot-nosed toddlers, and I am in awe. Truth be told, I’ve been in awe since I saw you walk in, pushing a giant stroller with one kiddo strapped in while carrying a toddler on your hip. Girl, you got BOTH sets of doors open and made it through without smashing yourself, your giant stroller, or that toddler on your hip.
And you made it look easy.
As I sit here, 38 years old with three kids in school enjoying my chicken nuggets in peace while I chat with a friend, I have to admit I’m a little jealous. Not because I am dying for my kids to be snot-nosed toddlers again, but because of your carefree attitude. When I was in your shoes, I was so overwhelmed that outings like these left me a frazzled mess. I really WANTED to enjoy them, but more often than not I just held myself together through them and said lots and lots of cuss words in my head. (And also, I am hella clumsy, so I probably would’ve smashed a hip or a finger in those doors!)
Is that what you’re doing, mama? Because it doesn’t look like it. It looks like you’re letting snotty noses and dropped chicken nuggets and spilled milk just roll of your back. You’re enjoying your kids and your friends and their kids even through the constant interruptions and occasional whiny toddler outbursts.
You’re going with the flow, girl, and that’s something I’ve never been great at.
Looking at you and your precious kids and your carefree manner, I’m wondering, even though my three kids are all in school, if I can’t apply some of your sweetness and light to my life long after I’ve heard my last “my pleasure” and left this place. Maybe instead of gritting my teeth and muttering under my breath during homework frustrations, I could take a deep breath and make a joke instead. Maybe when my preschooler screams about lack of screen time, I can put my hands on his face and tell him I love him before turning away, instead of stomping away with an “I can’t deal”. And maybe when my older two start going at it, I can get in between them and help them work it out instead of yelling from a distance.
Maybe, because of you, I can stop sweating the small stuff.
I’m still not gonna be able to push a giant stroller through two sets of double doors without SOMEONE getting hurt, but I bet I can really lighten the mood around my house. And I’m going to try.
So thank you, Mom With the Snot-Nosed Toddlers at Chick-Fil-A, for shining your mom light today. I may be older, but I’m only wiser after seeing you in action today. And girl? You’re nailing this mom thing.
Love and Kleenex,