Around six months into her maternity leave she decided to take the leap and start a blog. Like parenting, she doesn't claim to be an expert. Shethinks of herself as a novice blogger! She is a master of typographical errors who's sometimes linguistically challenged and she worries that her only avid reader is her mother in law. But she's doing something which makes her happy and after all life’s too short.
When we arrived at the park you were already there. I saw you as we pulled up and for a moment I considered driving straight past. It’s silly, I know but you were with the other mums. I felt intimidated. I felt sad. I was having a bad day.
You couldn’t have known why I was really there. To the outside world I was just a mother, taking advantage of what could have been the last warm day of year. You couldn’t see my guilty conscience. You couldn’t feel the regret coursing through my body or hear the anxiety screaming in my head.
We’d spent the morning battling over scrambled eggs. He’d cried for what felt like hours. I lost my temper and raised my voice. It was the guilt which made me leave the house. The guilt which made me get out of the car. And the guilt which brought me to the park, where I met you.
Maybe you took one look at my puffy face, still smeared with yesterday’s mascara and perhaps you just knew. Could you tell I’d been crying all morning or did you just think I was a mama on the brink of exhaustion? It could be that you’ve been here yourself. Obligated to make amends for your shameful parenting. Nobody’s perfect.
Either way you decided to talk to me. At first it felt awkward. My guard was down and I wasn’t myself but I was too weak to hide it. I think you could tell but it didn’t bother you. Maybe you just thought I was shy or did you sense my sadness?
As we chatted your friends left but you stayed. We talked about the weather, about houses and about our fussy eaters. Our children played with bubbles and the time went by.
When you eventually left I felt different. The morning emotions were still present but I could now bare their weight. I was able to escape from the dark shroud that held me prisoner. The day was no longer about guilt and mistakes. The outlook was bright and it was mine for the taking.
The kindness of a stranger is often overlooked in favour of those we already know. You may think you have all the friends you need but it doesn’t hurt to have one more. Even for the briefest of moments. One small act of kindness can make a huge difference to someone’s day.
Whether your someone’s parent, someone’s friend or someone sitting behind a screen, reach out. Be kind and make your little corner of the world a better place!