At the weekend, we decided in view of my husband’s redundancy to just chill a bit.
We went out to a local town and enjoyed choosing glasses for the children after their eye tests and looking around the charity shops.
My son said he was hungry and as it was lunch-time, we thought we would go to one of our favourite coffee shops. As we got to it, I noticed hand-written signs in the window saying it was under new management. It was a hot day and the door was open with a metal fly-screen curtain thing. For some reason, this seemed to freak out my daughter. I held it back for her and we went in and took a table. My husband went to the counter and ordered hot food and coffees.
My daughter was still not happy and was saying “I am scared by this place” and “I want to leave”. Convinced it was the metal thing that had bothered her and she would calm down, I tried to reassure her. I asked her to sit on my knee. She refused. I said that no harm could come to her whilst we were with her. I tried everything I could think of as did my husband and son. Nothing was working.
Suddenly, along came the owner of the place and shouted at my daughter ”You have to be quiet dear as you are upsetting all my other customers”. Obviously, this did not make my daughter feel any less frightened.
Mortified mum got up and found herself flouncing out of the place. My husband asked for our money back and was ignored.
So we found ourselves on the street all feeling upset and vulnerable. I went in to talk to the owner and said I wanted our money back as were clearly not welcome in her establishment. She gave it to me. I said to the elderly customers, all female. “I am sorry but I am sure some of you are mums and struggled sometimes with your own children”.
“Not as bad as that!” commented one of them.
So I stood alone in the café and felt so isolated and very much like the worst mum in the world. In that moment, it felt like been transported back to the worst days of post-natal depression where I felt so useless, worthless and alone.
I don’t know about you but I can’t just flick a switch and wave a magic wand when my children act in a less than ideal way.
So yes, I am clearly the worst mum in the world or at least the worst one in that café. Maybe I should have left as soon as my daughter became unhappy but then hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Except I know in my heart when I see a mum struggling I show more compassion and I hope I remember to do that when I am older or in a position of authority,
We did not give up. We went to another place and I specifically asked if children were welcome. The owners chatted to us and gave the children pictures to colour in and a packet of crayons. The food was fantastic and you can guess which of the two places we will be going back to.