We’re All Just Doing Our Best

My son turned 7 last month and I’m still reeling over the fact that, yes, it really does go by so quickly. All of those adages about time flying seem all too real, which would be more heartbreaking if it weren’t for the fact that the person my son is becoming is just so darn funny, smart, and cool. Yes, we have our hiccups and our moments, and these are the moments I want to get into today because parents (especially moms) oftentimes shy away from the not-so-pretty moments of parenting. But those moments are the moments when we need to support each other the most, when we need to cast aside differences and judgments and just be supportive.

Considering it was my son’s birthday, we felt obliged to throw him a birthday party at an indoor park down the street from our home. This is the place where virtually every child in town has his or her party, so everyone knows the ropes. As usual, trying to get an accurate headcount was nearly impossible. Parents were calling and texting an hour before the party. “Is it too late to come?” “What toys does your son like?” But there was one text that got to me. This text, arriving an hour into the actual party, simply read “I know we said we would, but So-And-So will not be coming to the party.”

To be honest, it was so late and so abrupt that I was offended. I mean, who does that at the final hour like that? Well, I will tell you who does that: a mom who needs a hug and a glass of wine, that’s who.

You see, later on that day I received another text from this mom. She was concerned that I thought they “were blowing off” my son’s party (I did think that!) and she wanted to explain. Her son has problems with anxiety and it was just too much for him to handle a birthday party that day. He also has ADHD and his mom was concerned he might be a little too wild at the party, should she even be able to coerce him through the door. And my heart broke for her and for her son. I’ve been there. My son struggles with social skills BIG TIME. I have been that parent who did not attend a party because I didn’t want to witness the reality that my son can be a little off, a little different. He doesn’t just go to the beat of his own drum, he has his own band. I love to hear his music, but sometimes I cannot handle the looks and the comments others give him. This mother was not alone and I needed her to know that.

Instead of being annoyed that the numbers were off or that we had made so many (ridiculous, let’s be honest) favor bags, I just told her that moms should not be allowed to make assumptions about one another. We are all the doing the best we can and it is never easy. Her response to my comment was simply a smile emoji and the words “Yup, it’s never easy.” And that was that.

There are a number of lessons to be learned here:

  1. We really need to stop judging people before we walk a mile in their proverbial moccasins.
  2. We need to start supporting one another more in this whole childrearing endeavor.
  3. We need to stop hiding our children or being embarrassed about who are children are or exposing the struggles and quirks they might have. Children, however unique they might be, should have a place at EVERY birthday table.

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About Becky Jha

Born and raised in rural Connecticut , Becky DeMattia-Jha attended Salve Regina University in Newport, RI, and has her M.Ed. She has been teaching high school English for 15 years and currently resides in Massachusetts with her husband, their two children, and their German Shepherd. She spends her precious summer vacations indulging in passions other than literature: serving as a lactation peer coach, practicing herbal medicine, organic gardening, making natural cleansers and cosmetics, and preparing quick and easy organic recipes for her family. She hopes to share her efficient, chemical-free, eco-conscious, frugal, and simplistic homemaking and homesteading tips with you.

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