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Dear Mom Who Played With My Kid, Thank You

Photograph by Getty Images

Dear Mom at Dance Class,

See, it's terrible. I'm clearly not on my game lately because I'm not even sure what your name is, though I know your daughter's name. For some reason I can easily keep track of all of my daughter's classmates.

Anyway, I wanted to say thank you for helping with my son the other day. I didn't ask for help, but you seemed to know I needed it.

My patience has been running short lately. Shorter than usual. Besides the usual chaos of raising two children 5 years old and under, life has been a bit more overwhelming the last few months. I'm fighting an internal battle of emotions related to secondary infertility. We've lost several loved ones. My husband and I haven't had a date night in months. I've been sacrificing sleep for quiet down time.

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I haven't told you any of this since we don't really talk while our girls dance. You're always so cool and collected as you care for your twin babies. The opposite of how I felt that day.

You've seen how busy my nearly three-year-old son is, but that day was particularly exhausting. He wasn't listening to me and was running all over the studio. I just wanted to sit down for a moment, maybe drink some coffee.

Instead of assuming the worst, I accepted the thought that you were helping me get a breather. You were lending a friendly mom hand.

Then my son wandered off for the umpteenth time, but this time he went over to see your babies. I was about to call him back over when you asked him about his trucks. You engaged him in play, which kept him happily occupied for most of class. When he started to wander too far, you reminded him to listen to me.

At first I felt like crying as I watched you easily interact with him. What must you think of me? I know you heard the frustration in my voice. Why didn't I think to play with him like that? I really started to think you were judging me.

Then I relaxed. Instead of assuming the worst, I accepted the thought that you were helping me get a breather. You were lending a friendly mom hand.

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We get stressed out, stretched thin, and then mom guilt crashes the party. It happens to the best of moms (or so I keep telling myself.) But those 5-10 minutes made a difference. It allowed me to catch my breath and regroup. It allowed me to refill my cup enough for me to reconnect with him by joining in his play.

It was a relatively small action that produced big results. You didn't have to step up and do anything, but you did and I appreciate it.

Thank you.

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