Letter of Apology

by C.J. Kirkland

Dear Moms,

Apologies sometimes don’t come easy for me so please forgive that it has taken me this long.

I’m sorry for being that person who looked at you with the Eyes of Fire when I saw you sitting with your baby in the airport terminal, awaiting our flight. While chatting away on my mobile phone the pleasant, laughter-filled conversation was interjected with the bitter “Ugh, I hope that woman and her baby are not seated next to me on the plane.” I gave you the Stare of Death as you walked down the narrow airplane aisle juggling baby, diaper bag and carry on, my blood pressure rising as I prayed that you would not sit next to me on this flight of unassigned seating.

How self-centered of me.

I’m sorry for telling the person standing behind me in line at the grocery store that you needed a lesson in Disciplining Kids because you sure were sucking at it right now. All I needed to do was pay for my three items and go about my busy day. But here I was stuck behind you, your child throwing a tantrum because he couldn’t have one of the dozen chocolate bars strategically placed at check-out for our enjoyment. “Is it really that hard for her to control her kid?” I asked the stranger behind me. “What that kid needs is a good old-fashioned whooping!” I exclaimed. The stranger and I nodded our heads in agreement, as if we were practicing for a synchronized swimming team. “In fact, if that were my kid, he would surely not behave that way because I’d know how to discipline my kid.” The stranger and I would chuckle and puff our chests out just a little more, confident that we were better people than you, confident that we would make better parents than you.

How asinine of me.

Please accept my apologies for being the person who summed up your entire parenting philosophy and implementation of such based on the two hour interaction I’d just had with you and your child at our mutual friend’s birthday party.  In between sips of wine I rehearsed all of the child psychologists I studied in college and tried to decide which would be of most help to you. And when your child had a meltdown towards the end of the evening, I rolled my eyes so hard they nearly got stuck in the back of my head. “Did she seriously bring her kid to this party? Is her kid seriously disrupting the party right now? Aargh. You know, I’ll just attend Adults Only parties because having kids at parties is insane. This is for the birds.”

How judgmental of me.

From the deepest parts of my heart, I am sorry for always saying how superior So-and-So’s child was to yours. So-and-So’s daughter would never scream in public. So-and-So’s son would never writhe around on the floor of Target after being denied a toy. So-and-So’s son would never wrestle with another boy over a stupid little toy truck when there are five others scattered about. So-and-So’s daughter would have been able to sit on the sofa, for hours, entertaining herself while the adults around her enjoyed themselves at the birthday party. So-and-So’s son would never, ever do anything that would set my eyes on fire, force me to dust off my child psychology books, or ponder attending a party at which children would be present. Because So-and-So’s child is perfect. At least he was during the 480 minutes I spent with him this year, so obviously he’s also that way during the other 525,469 minutes.

How illogical of me.

You Moms would often tell me that there are some things I just won’t “get” until I become a Mom, too. You were right. It was not until I became a Mom that I realized how self-centered, asinine, judgmental and illogical my frame of thinking had been towards those of you with children. I had no idea of how hard you worked at trying to be the best Mom you could be. It never occurred to me that your blood pressure rose even higher than mine when you boarded an airplane, or that you had already read gazillions of child psychology books- and still had not mastered defeating the onset of a toddler tantrum in Target. I never imagined how many tears you shed in the privacy of your home after being told by someone how perfect So-and-So’s child is and how, perhaps, you could learn from So-and-So about how to parent the right way.

In closing, I want to throw in a very personal apology to someone whom I love and admire tremendously, particularly as a Mom. Nikky, do you remember when we were on our way to the store and I made you turn the van around and take me back home because the twins were crying? I saw the frustration in your face as you tried to calm them. I saw the slight tremor in your hands as you pulled out toys and snacks, reaching for anything you could as you tried to soothe them. I didn’t even offer to help because I was too wrapped up in Me and my so-called agony. I am sorry. Forgive me for my lack of compassion. Forgive me for my lack of understanding and lack in even trying to understand. I know better, now. Because now, I am a Mom, too. 
C.J. Kirkland is a freelance writer currently based in Memphis, TN.
Call (901) 267-5287 or email cj@cjkirkland.com