I pledge allegiance to the sisterhood of mothering.
When I see a fellow mother on the train with a small child who’s throwing an unholy fit, I will not pretend I don’t see the desperation on her face. I will not ignore the fact that her eyeballs are 10 seconds from bursting out of her head at the frustration of being so very far over the limit of patience one person can be expected to exhibit. I will not politely turn a blind eye the fact that her tantruming toddler just slammed the back of his thick skull into her fragile cheekbone while she was attempting to restrain him and answer her cell phone. I pledge to jump up and offer assistance even as my embarrassed husband silently begs me to not get involved with strangers, because I remember plane rides alone with small children I wouldn’t have made it through without the kindness of strangers.
When I have the luxury of grocery shopping alone, I pledge to let the mom of one, two, three, four, FOUR children under the age of five in and clustered around her cart go ahead of me even though she has more items than I do because I can see if I don’t she’ll probably give up and abandon the cart and her groceries and go home without checking out because she just can’t take it anymore. I’ve been ushered to the front of lines more than once for exactly that look of panic in my eye.
In the restaurant when my children are behaving and eating quietly, I pledge not to judge or roll my eyes at the mother at the next table with the kid who just told her he hates her and he’s not eating the pasta he ordered and then threw the plate on the waitress’s shoes. Instead, I pledge to catch her eye and give her a reassuring smile so she knows that my asshole kid did the same thing two weeks ago at a different restaurant.
At the airport when I see a mom engaged in a heated discussion with the TSA agent about exactly how her stroller is supposed to collapse small enough to fit through the scanner while she holds a 6 month old baby and her 3 year old daughter becomes distracted and starts to wander off, I pledge to yell and make a scene so the kid doesn’t get lost, even if it means I’ll be detained and strip-searched for my trouble.
When I see a kid whose mom isn’t watching pick up an old band aid on the ground at the playground and move it toward her face, I pledge to swat it out of her hand in horror, even though polite society says I should mind my own business.
I pledge to be bossier, nosier, pushier and more involved with other people than the bare minimum, because my children and I wouldn’t have survived as long as we have without similarly bossy, nosy, pushy and overly involved people.
I pledge to be a mom.