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.
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.