A week ago I took my eldest to her toddler "gymnastics" class. She loves this class and I am a little sad that she won't be able to go after the summer as she will be in nursery in the mornings (as opposed to the afternoons like just now). Each week is a bit of a struggle though, there isn't particularly anything to do with my 19mo while the 45 minute class takes place so we potter around the place and she looks at me occasionally with a look of 'I'm bored' and more to the point I have 50 minutes from the end of the class to nursery drop off so fitting in lunch can be a bit of a struggle.
This means we tend to take a packed lunch and eat it in the leisure centre before we come home (before running out the door to make it to nursery). Sometimes I feel a little of that all-too-common maternal guilt about the rushed nature of lunch or trying to feed them something substantial enough on the move. I have blogged about our lunches before. They tend to look something like this
This day in the leisure centre was no different, so my children were tucking into their fruit and vegetables and yoghurt tubes when someone sitting near us struck up some conversation about how they were jealous of my children's lunches. I made some suitably non-accepting remark about it just being the stuff I had lying around the kitchen, the culinary equivalent of someone complimenting my outfit and me saying "oh, this old thing". Someone on another table also chipped in that they had been admiring the contents of the lunch boxes. I was a little taken aback but pleased, the conversation continued for a few moments, about the challenges of feeding small people and about how organised I must need to be to get it all sorted in the morning (although in my defence, a crap sandwich in that particular leisure centre costs about £4.50 so it definitely adds some incentive!). The conversation drew to a close and one of the ladies stood up and before she left looked at me, looked at the kids and said, "you are doing really well".
Thank you to that lady, I have no idea who you are, I have no idea if you have kids (although I suspect you do) and I will likely never see you again but I have thought about that comment many times this week and I have smiled. Thank you for recognising my hard work. Thank you for voicing it. Thank you for not choosing the 20 things you could have judged but for speaking about the thing I was doing well.
I am hoping it will inspire me to speak good things to all my other mum friends (and strangers). parenthood is fraught with difficulties and we can all feel judged and even make judgements but that compliment has kept me going for a whole week and beyond so let's all just say nice things to each other!