Why I Gave a Mom Chocolate at Target

A few days ago, I'd washed our sheets and as I went to put them back on our bed, I realized that they were ratty and I just couldn't stand it any longer. We needed new sheets...nice, white, crisp sheets. And so, I buckled my baby in, rolled the windows down, blasted the music and drove to Target.
We shopped, found the white sheets I was looking for and of course, found a few other things that weren't on the list, like two 85% dark chocolate bars that just happened to be on sale. We headed out of the store, determined to be home for dinner and as I loaded Eliza back into the car, I couldn't help but overhear the Mom next to me, also loading her kids into a car. She had two kids, one was a baby and one was maybe 5 or so. Her oldest was giving her a horrible time, which now that I've been a Mom for 5 years, I realize even the best kids do. I'm sorry, but even the best Mom is going to have her share of public humiliation. It's inevitable.

So, here's where it got good. Normally in a parking lot, it's the impatient Moms yelling at their kids that stand out, they make me cringe and then feel guilty all at the same time. But in this situation, this sweet Mom was kind and patient and she was like a bright light at Target. She was gentle, stern, she had a calm voice and although her kid wasn't having it, she was holding it together like a pro.

As I finished buckling Eliza in, I felt God nudge me and tell me to give her one of those dark chocolate bars that I'd just bought, you know the ones that weren't on the list, but they were "on sale".  At first, I shrugged it off, I mean, how crazy would it be to offer a complete stranger some chocolate? I closed Eliza's door slowly, listening to this Mom dealing with her kids, I walked around to my door, got in, buckled, closed my door, but I just couldn't shake it. God wanted me to get out and tell her that I noticed how kind and patient she is and to give her my chocolate. And so, I unbuckled, reached into my bag and opened my door back up.

Her window was rolled down and as her car backed up, I walked over and said "I know this might sound weird, but do you like dark chocolate? I noticed how kind and patient you are with your kids and I wanted to give this to you. I have a 3 year old and a 5 year old at home and I know how hard mothering is. You're really sweet with your kids." She smiled so big at me and said "thank you so much" and with that, she drove away and we drove back home.

I think what makes me want to do those little things more often is that I know firsthand how hard parenting can be sometimes and I'm the gal who always dreamed of this. I have a supportive husband and healthy kids. Imagine what it must be like for the lady who doesn't have a support system, who's raising kids with significant disabilities or for the young mom who thought she wouldn't be called "Mama" for another 10 years?

When I'm out, it's normal for me to see Moms losing their cool and seeing this gal stay calm, even when it was hard was so refreshing. It's weird to me that we get so scared to give another Mom a word of encouragement. We are flat out scared to be encouragers. We'd all rather stay in our comfy little boxes, where we don't talk to strangers, but we NEED to call each other out on the good stuff. We need to be bold and say "I know it's hard and I see you doing a great job."

I encourage you to encourage another Mom with a kind word. When we reach out to each other, we break down barriers and show our kids what kindness looks like. Let's build each other up!

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  1. Ben posted on 06/10/2014 08:48 PM
    I just wanted to say what an encouragement this was to me. The other day I was in a store parking lot and saw a woman loading her groceries into her car with her child in a car seat. When I got in my truck I saw that she was just finishing loading them and I thought about going over and asking her if she was done with her cart and taking it to the return for her. I thought that it could make her day that a stranger would do that but I didn't do it. So often I see opportunities to do things for strangers and I chicken out. This store has really got me thinking about trying to become the man that I I think God wants me to be. Someone who does the right thing simple because they have the opportunity to.
    1. Angela posted on 06/12/2014 02:38 PM
      @Ben Ben,
      Thank you for sharing! Those little things really do make such a HUGE difference. Don't chicken out. You'll be so glad you did!
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