I would like to share with you one of the single most irritating things I encounter as a mom. I have my suspicions that I am not alone. I also have to confess that I am not innocent in doing the exact same thing to other moms. I think we just don’t give it much thought. It’s an innocent thing we say but with profound repercussions. Once I became aware of how much these little words affected my daughter’s behavior, I learned to keep my mouth shut!
As you may have gathered from the title, “it’s okay” is what I am talking about! Such an innocent phrase. Think about it, you have probably done this to someone at the park or in the store. Most likely today or at least this week. I think it’s something we are conditioned to say as Mommas. But how helpful is it exactly?
Let me explain. Wild child decided she wanted to push the cart in the grocery store the other day. All by herself. I wasn’t even allowed to lay a finger on the cart to help. It wasn’t crowded so I gave her some space to display her independence. Right up until this sweet lady stepped out of the end of the aisle and Riley almost ran her over! I grabbed the cart and said “Riley, be careful honey, you need to watch out for other people.” And out blurt those infamous words “oh, it’s okay!” But is it really?
I think no, absolutely not. At that point I had not apologized to the lady. She took it upon herself to interject as I was parenting my child. This didn’t bother me when she was little. But now, give that kid an inch and she takes a mile. She is the greatest example of a strong willed child that I have ever met. So as she has gotten older, it started to undermine my authority. She became very bold and defiant in public. I started reminding her that mommy and daddy were the ones who had the final say. Slowly but surely we regained control and I gained some perspective.
I think as mothers we try and ease the discomfort or embarrassment of other mothers. So we are quick to jump in and tell others that their children’s behavior is “okay.” We want them to know that we understand, or we were not truly bothered by whatever it is their child is doing. We also don’t want to be the cause of discipline for the child. Clearly they are not giving any thought to the message it conveys to the child. I wasn’t either. I still catch myself doing this and remind myself to keep my mouth shut. If Mom says not to snatch toys, then it isn’t okay even if the other mom doesn’t feel like her child was harmed or effected! Think about how it makes the mother look in the eyes of the child. Let’s not make it harder on each other!
Have you ever unintentionally interfered while a momma was parenting her child? Have you ever uttered “it’s okay?”
I would love to hear your experiences! I know I am not alone here!by