I am that mom
She walks into Target, 6 kids overflowing from what once looked like a giant shopping cart. Two are side by side giggling at the toddler in the traditional shopping cart seat. Another where the products are supposed to be placed. A fifth walking along side her. One more strapped to her chest in a fancy ring sling.
First stop, Starbucks...because like I said, 6 kids. The toddler starts crying for a treat...screaming when it is denied. Cheerios come out and all is right in the world once more. Mom is on top of the world because this will be the time everything gets accomplished. Everything is fantastic. Until it isn't.
All at once the meltdowns begin. It starts in the back of the cart and works it's way up. Other shoppers start to stare. Mom is embarrassed but the kids don't let up. The stares become more intense.
Y'all, I am that mom. What many don't know though is that the kid in the back has autism. He has come so far but still struggles. The tantrum throwing toddler with the blood curdling screams has been transitioning back to her birth parent and the inconsistency has left her confused. She is acting out and seeking attention in the only way her little mind knows how. The infant in the carrier is dealing with struggles many of us will never understand. The other 3, the other 3 are just wanting to be heard above the chaos that is around them.
Some outings are fantastic, others our reality is aired out for everyone to see. It is messy and it is loud. It annoys others and gets us judged more than we can handle. It is a beautiful mess though.
Amid the blurry lines, the deep dashes and the spills there is a masterpiece waiting to be displayed if only others are willing to look beyond the surface. Our hurdles are great but the triumphs are greater.
So, I challenge you. The next time you see a mama struggling, trying to keep her composure; instead of staring, offer an encouraging word. Let her know you see her and not just her situation. You never know the obstacles that she is facing.