I saw you wiping the tears out of your eyes today. I saw the frustration and pain on your face at the playground. Your son was playing you like a puppet master; disregarding your calls, mocking your pleas, fighting back your threats.
He was being a three year old at his worst, and you lost the power struggle today.
Mama, I saw you across the playground and my heart cried for you. You were shaking. Your face was red. Your body was tense. I’ve been there, mama. I’ve been there more days than I care to recall.
Sometimes it takes everything in me not to pound my fist against the ground. Other days I want to give up altogether. I’ve shed those same tears, I’ve lost those same power struggles.
I tried not to notice. You clearly didn’t want to be noticed. You wiped your eyes frantically. You found your sunglasses to shade the evidence. Other mamas were looking, though.
Did you see us? Did we make you feel ashamed? Or were you so caught up in emotion you couldn’t see past your toddler, throwing things, screaming, and taunting you?
Maybe I should have said something. It might have helped. But you seemed embarrassed and distressed. You were eyeballing your car in the parking lot as your ticket to freedom ― the place you could break down without judgement.
When you finally snatched up your son and scrambled into your car, my heart dropped. You had reached the end of your rope. You were done.
I want you to know I’m thinking of you, mama. I’m sending thoughts of encouragement and empowerment your way.
I also want you to know that you helped me, mama. You reminded me that everyone has bad days, not just me. You taught me that sometimes the kids win the power struggle, and it’s OK to shed a tear.
We never made eye contact. Our lives passed each other swiftly and without dialogue. But you touched me, mama. You have a place in my heart. We’re on the same team and I am rooting for us both.
This post originally appeared on http://andwhatamom.com.