Tuesday, November 13, 2012

An Anonymous Compliment

"I can live for two months on a good compliment. " -Mark Twain

I might even make this one last more than two months.  Just a little while back, one of my online mommy friends was complimented on her parenting by a stranger at a store, and I thought, gosh, I really wish that would happen to me, it would be so affirming and wonderful.  Turns out, it really is.

Maeve and I were walking around our local thrift store, and she wanted to see the Christmas section.  She totally skipped the part where she told me what she wanted and just broke right in to screaming and crying.  I immediately got down to her level, reminded her calmly that a tantrum means we have to go home RIGHT NOW, and then asked her to use her words instead of screaming.

It was one of those times that the trick actually worked, and she immediately calmed down and informed me she wanted to go touch the Christmas tree on display.  I thanked her for using her words (even though I feel like I sound like some kind of child therapist every time I do that) and we were off to the tree.

A grandmother-aged woman, on the younger side, caught my eye and said, quietly, "Good job, Mama"  and I stuttered a thank you.  But how do you really even thank a stranger for being so kind?  We parents have very few people to tell us when we're doing it right, mostly all we have is results, or lack thereof.  Her kindness meant so much to me, now every time Maeve is on the verge of another meltdown, and so am I, I'll try to remember what she said, that I'm doing a good job, and try to be patient with the both of us.

All that to say, your compliments for parents are never wasted, share them with friends and strangers whenever you get the urge.  We can all use a little encouragement.


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