Last week, I enjoyed the ultimate mom indulgence: I was at Target by myself. I was on a solo mission to return some throw pillows and, of course, decided to wander around the store to look at the things I don't get to look at when the kids and my husband are with me - definitely a rare treat. There were lots of moms and kiddos of all ages at the store. I finished up my (impulse) shopping and stood in the shortest line, behind a mom juggling a chubby and tired little baby. She started to do one of the ninja mom moves we all have in our bag of tricks: baby on a hip while unloading a cart full of items, but he just wasn't having it.
I could see her struggling and him rubbing his eyes, when I asked her if I could help her by putting her items on the belt for her. She seemed relieved and said yes. She was very appreciative and thanked me several times. "I understand," I told her, "I'm normally here with two little boys and never have enough hands." We got to chatting, and she said, "I was just talking to a friend about this. It's always the mommies who help. Everyone else looks at you like you're a nuisance. It's like a club!" I couldn't agree with her more.
She's right, it usually is the mommies who help. The ones who offer to take your empty cart back for you as you try to wrestle a toddler into a car seat. The ones who hold the door open just a little bit longer for you, while you have your arms full of baby and bags. The ones who give you a sympathetic smile when they overhear you telling your child, "no, we cannot get another pack of Pokemon cards." They know, they've been there. It's almost as if they can sometimes sense what you need before you even realize it.
I know that the "Mommy Club" typically has a negative connotation, one filled with gossip, judgement, and shaming. But I think it can mean something else: kindness, empathy, and camaraderie. Now we don't have to be best friends with every mama we meet, but a few nice words and a nice gesture can really make someone's day better. I gave up staring at my phone to make human contact and help. A few minutes of kindness while waiting in line made someone else's day brighter and a little easier. I challenge you to do the same with a stranger this week: a seemingly small act of kindness can really improve someone's day or help them through a difficult moment.