Wearing someone else’s shoes even when they give you blisters

Today I’m trying something NEW and participating in the Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge. This week’s challenge is Leave your shoes at the door.


Empathy ecard

I could have used a little more of this pre baby

In my BC (before children) life I was what can only be described as a right little Miss Judgy McJudgy Pants.

If you didn’t know the difference between “your and you’re” and “there, their and they’re” I turned my my nose up in disgust.

Uneducated bogan I’d sniff.

If you pushed in front of me in line I’d butt in with an Excuse Me without a second thought.

Some people are SO rude. Huff and puff and huff and puff.

If you presented a ridiculous argument during our conversation I did not hesitate to tear it to shreds, and you a new one.


If your 3 year old child kicked the back of my chair for an entire flight I would have had no qualms about turning around and making sure you were aware of my dissatisfaction.

Contain your child. 

If you never managed to remember anything I was irritated beyond distraction.

It’s not that hard! Why are people so stupid?

If it took you ages to text me back, well you were just plain rude and it was a deliberate slight. I mean, your phone is there.

How hard is it?

The phrase “She doesn’t suffer fools gladly” was often used to describe me and boy was I proud of it.

I was an empathy free zone.

And then I birthed a human.

What a life lesson that was. Now I could barely remember who text me 15 mins ago let alone whether or not I actually got around to replying. Rude? A deliberate slight? Are you kidding me? I just plain forgot. As apparently it is all a lot harder than I realised.

I remember, clearly, the first moment I had the chance to put this new found empathy into practice. I was on a flight home from visiting my family with a 7 month old baby. He, much to my relief, was being absolutely charming. Googling, drinking milk and sleeping. In that order. As the lady next to me said “You wouldn’t even know he was on the flight, darling”. I was lucky.

The mother behind me however, not. so. lucky. Her and her husband were traveling with 3 kids.  On a plane. Ranging from about 3 years old up. Poor mum was sitting in the middle seat of the row behind me with a child either side (silly woman, I would have stuck dad with that for sure). The 3 year old was sitting directly behind me and continually kicking my seat.

Again. And again. And again.

Steam was bursting out of my ears. It was annoying. And my head was going crazy with thoughts.

Should I turn around and say something?

Maybe I could just glare?

Maybe I could just do a sympathetic look at Mum?

Maybe if I have a little glare at him the fact that I am a stranger will freak him out and he will stop?

The whole time the mum was saying versions of:

Please don’t kick the ladies chair.

She is holding a baby mate, we need to be nice and gentle so don’t kick her chair please.

3 year old: NO!!!

Then finally, the penny dropped:

Oh my god that poor mum.

It was annoying. I won’t lie. But I did hear the exasperation in that mum’s voice and she was trying her heart out as much as you can on a plane full of people. She held it together really well in hindsight. I didn’t know the meaning of the phrase back then so was unable to really recognise the fact but I wish, now, that I could run into her at the shops and tell her all about how awesome she was that day. Not that I’d recognise her but you know.

Anyway, back on the plane. So finally, I mustered up some empathy for this poor woman and decided to put her shoes on and think about what must be going through her head, even if the wearing of the shoes hurt and gave me blisters.

I thought it might go something like this.

OMG he is kicking that lady with a baby.

Why won’t he stop? Pleeeeease let him listen today.

Oh man, traveling with young kids sucks.

Maybe Daddy can help. I’ll get him to say something.

Nah, didn’t work. Precocious little shit.

Oh man, she is going to turn around any second and go off. I would. What a little baby she has. Far out.

This the the WORST. DAY. EVER. I’m never traveling with 3 kids again.

And I took a deep breath and said to myself “Bite your tongue and shut your damn mouth woman. That could be YOU one day”.

Sometimes we need the blister folks, sometimes we need the blister.



34 thoughts on “Wearing someone else’s shoes even when they give you blisters

  1. You know this is going to be me in 8 weeks time flying with a 19 months old ! I’m hoping and praying he sleeps or at least watches his cartoons nicely for the whole 2.5hour flight. Ha wishful thinking.
    I was so you before having a child. Now, Just like you I can’t remember anything! Nothing! nowt, nada.. That’s just life. I keep telling myself I gave my brain cells so my boy could be smart.

    • haha that’s what I say too. When you grow that baby you actually have to donate some brains!!! lol

      Good luck on the flight!! I’m sure he will be great. Give him something to chew for take off and landing so his little ears don’t hurt as he may not be able to really tell you what is wrong and just get “naughty”. It’s what has worked best for me and we’ve flown quite a lot.

      • Thanks for the tip! I’ll make sure I pack some snacks. Last time I flew he was 8 months and nursed for take off. He is still nursing currently but I guess that could all change.

  2. Great post. As a mother of three children I totally relate to this. Two of my children were relatively well behaved when they were younger, but my youngest was just like that 3 year old on the plane, in fact he still is a lot of the time. It is very easy to judge but much kinder to stop and actually realise that we are all just doing the best we can.

  3. LOL, you are I were very much the same BC! It is amazing what a difference it makes once the tables are turned and you realized that you are on the other side! I try to be empathetic and understanding – some days are easier than others! 😉

  4. It sounds like a bunch of us can relate to the BC Rachael (and identify with her, big time). And yes, I did find a lot more empathy once I had two of my own. But… I’ll say that now that mine are adults, I’ve gone back to miss judgy pants. Maybe not to the full extent I was BC, but definitely nowhere near as empathetic as I was during the child-rearing years. Your post was a good reminder that I shouldn’t look to judge so harshly because, “there but for the grace of God…” And that shit is not happening again under my watch. 🙂

  5. Really awesome take on the weekly challenge!! Having children really does change us in so many ways. Empathy grows immensely within, so much so that you want to nurture anyone struggling, particularly other moms!

  6. Chair kicking=free back massage. LOL! Right? I’m glad you didn’t get on him. Well, maybe, in some instances my kids listen a heck of a lot better when somebody else tells them the same thing I told them…but I get awful embarrassed.

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  9. Well done.
    It’s amazing what a bit of experience can do to our perspective. Pre-kid, I would have definitely been thinking the same things on a plane. Why are they traveling? Why can’t they contain their children? Etc.. Now that the Queen and I have the Little Prince, and have had the (mis)fortune of already being on 6 different planes with him in his short life, I totally get it. I’ve had those same thoughts running through my mind. “Someone is going to say something.” “Why won’t he just settle down and sleep?” “Worst flight ever.” “What were we thinking!?”
    Good post.

  10. It was incredibly humbling having a baby and realizing that all that I thought of parenting and how good I would be at it was really wrong. It makes me cringe to think how I used to judge so easily.

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  14. Oh, little humans… they can’t be contained by mere airplanes, or silly rules. I like how you focused on a moment of change for you– not a total switcheroo, but a conscious decision to practice empathy. I think that shows very well how good-hearted you are. I bet you are an excellent mamma! Thanks for participating in this week’s challenge!

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