An Act of Kindness toward this Struggling Mom

Sometimes life is challenging.  An act of kindness toward this struggling mom is all that was needed to turn things around.

Back to Good
Getting back to good…

We moved cross-country from Boston about 10 days ago. This past Marathon Monday, the kids and I were at Target. I was trying to distract us from feeling so far from home. After a move, leaving all of our family and friends, and living in a hotel for a week, I was parenting poorly. Really, really poorly.

I was being unkind to my kids- the very ones who needed me to show them MORE compassion and understanding. I simply could not pull out of it no matter how hard I tried, and I nearly cried myself to sleep each night because of how badly I felt.

It culminated with Owen breaking a glass jar of natural peanut butter at the checkout line (sharp glass, slippery oil, and sticky peanut butter everywhere). It put me over the edge.

I stood frozen, not helping to clean it up, and giving Owen the cold shoulder- I even said unkind and uncharacteristic things to him. I was lousy.

The woman who cleaned it up was so nice to him, and once we were all checked out she came back. She had stickers and snacks for the kids. She knelt down, gave them stickers and treats said “you are two great kids! You handled that so well!”

The sentiment brought me to tears- it’s what I should have been saying to them. Maybe I could have been embarrassed or defensive, but I was grateful to God; for the kindness, for the reminder, for being snapped back to reality of how my children should be treated.

The kind woman was standing by the door on our way out. Through tears I said “it’s been a rough week and a rough day. I can’t tell you how much your kindness means to me. Thank you.”

This one simple gesture changed everything for my children and I. It got me back on track, it reconnected us. It made us happier and more loving again. Our trend continues, and I have thought of this woman every day since… and I know I will for many days to come.

8 Replies to “An Act of Kindness toward this Struggling Mom”

  1. We all need to be that and need that kind of person in our lives from time to time. Life IS tough and we could all use a little encouragement along the way.

  2. Your honesty touched me. We’ve all been there. Thank you for writing this.
    My children are now grown and so my role is to be that lady, supporting the mothers on the street and in the stores. I usually smile at all the children I meet to let them know that the world is a good place. I also try to reach out to the parents but it’s not easy to catch their eye.

  3. Reminds me how often it can take the help of a village to raise our children. All of us moms/parents/guardians need a helping hand from time to time. We are all human with human emotion. When we have a lot on our plate every little helping hand helps near and far!

  4. Thank you for sharing this…it brought tears to my eyes as I think we’ve all been there as Mums as one stage or another.
    This story has made me realise I’ve been doing a bit of the same this past week…I’m going to take a deep breath and think of your story today.
    Thank you for ‘paying it forward’.
    Louise x

  5. Thank you for sharing this story. All too often people make quick judgements about others’ parenting based only on a brief moment that they witness. What a wonderful woman that stranger was to act so kindly to you and your little ones.

  6. Jennifer, I commend you for your bravery in sharing this with us and for not being tempted to be defensive (as I would have been) in the face of this kind gesture. This lovely woman who came into your life at just the right time has most likely “been there” and knew that we all need help in this life. I’m so happy that she was able to bring you back on track. And I’m sure your children felt your love through all of the stress. They will continue to benefit from your strength! Again, thanks for sharing and good luck in your new home.