I almost forgot to use my interior filter today.
You know when you have good intentions – so therefore, you want to gush what you’re thinking, but then you remember that no one else is inside your brain and those good thoughts may not come out right?
Totally me in the drop off line at daycare today.
My daughter’s teacher recently beamed when explaining how my cherub has a new friend in class. As if she was trying to win me over to this new daycare setting, (possibly a hangover from the “milk for atheists” situation from last week, (see earlier blog post), she gushed on what a wonderful addition this new friend is because they are “similarly well-mannered and smart,” and because “the mother is a lawyer.” Interesting tidbit. Truly, as long as your kid isn’t a maniacal disobedient wildebeest, I’m game for my kid being friends with everyone, I really don’t care what profession the parent is in. And then I got to thinking, how, even without trying, I can be quick to stereotype/generalize people upon first appearance. Enter need for brain filter.
So, this morning, after drop off, I saw a woman retreating from the direction of the 3/4 classroom and she looked, well, very lawyerish. I wanted to run up to her and inquire if she was the mother to “so-and so,” because my daughter just loved her to pieces, and they are now best friends, and isn’t that so incredibly heartwarming that our kids are now BFFs? Yes, I almost did this, although I didn’t have the foggiest clue if this was the correct person or not. The brain filter and her body language cautioned me that now was not the best time for this exchange. She wasn’t cold, she wasn’t even unfriendly in posture or countenance, she just looked battle weary. I quickly glanced and noticed the sulky pre-teen who was walking next to her way slower than necessary. Immediately I felt her aura – the tiredworkingmom aura and I sent her positive energies. She may very well have been the highly praised, sharply dressed, probably wealthy attorney, and by all initial appearances, the sulking pre-teen and probable pre-Ker could not have cared less.
I was reminded why, overall, I enjoy the concept of daycare – beyond the fact that it meets the obvious need for child care. For a brief moment each morning and evening, as throngs of parents come in and out, I feel a part of a club. And in those moments, we are all the same. We are all trying to do the best we can juggling work and childcare. And we are tired. But we press on. In those few minutes, the kids who hold our hands through the busy parking lot don’t care whose parents bring home high salaries, who lives paycheck to paycheck, or the credentials of anyone. They don’t care if you were popular in high school, if you went to college, if you are in an entry level position or climbing that corporate ladder. They just see Mommy or Daddy, and they want a snack, thank you very much.
Whether you have an ivy league degree or barely made it out of a state school, makes no difference to the 6 month old who just learned how to flip on his belly the second you lay him down for a diaper change. Better catch him before he blazes off and leaves a trail of pee. Any worldly prestige means nothing, and if you don’t have any, it isn’t missed. And one more thing of the young: at the first sign of parenting insecurity/weakness/weariness, their brains register and respond with “I am about to own you, joker!” But, if you are capable of love and feeding, these kids will rate you highly. Its the ability to parent that matters, and last time I checked, no university gives out degrees in that.
And that is kind of how the potential lawyer lady looked this morning. She looked like presiding over a trial may be easier than wrangling multiple kids up and out of the house. Her eyes said “I want to return your smile, but I just can’t, not today, been through too much as it is, and it isn’t even 8:30 yet.” And I totally get that. I’ve been in that club, too.
I wish someday our society would get to a point where we don’t feel the need to impress with introductions like “she’s a lawyer,” or a “doctor’ or such. I wish we were at a place where we could simply say, “she is a working mom too, and she works hard to make sure her kids’ teeth are brushed every morning before drop off.”
Because that is impressive. Sign me up for a play date with that mom.