Dear Not-Tired-Looking or Stressed Out Mom,

It’s me…sweaty, disheveled, stressed out mom across the aisle from you. I’m sure you have noticed this crazy freak show whirling through the door like a tornado, how could you not? In the fifteen minutes we have been sitting next to each other at our adjacent tables at Applebee’s, your seven-year-old has snuggled up next to you with a book, your artistically talented three-year-old has been quietly coloring an amazing picture, and your stunning baby is squealing and giggling with delight. No one is screaming, no one is hitting each other, everyone is seated in an upright position, and all of you are fully clothed in seasonally-appropriate attire. Your food orders have already been placed and you are all patiently awaiting the arrival of your vegan, avocado black bean burgers and kale chips.

Fifteen minutes. An eternity for me. But you…you have gracefully and calmly sipped your raspberry lemonade and laughed as your kiddo beats you again in game of tic-tac-toe. Your oldest continues to patiently wait for his well-balanced meal, and the perfect baby munches away on Cheerios (none of which have fallen to the floor).

Here I sit with tears in my eyes and sweat dripping off my brow and I just can’t help but notice you…You and your perfect, long hair neatly curled and flowing over your shoulders. Your stylish clothing tied together with your boots and accessories…the perfect look. Your natural-looking makeup applied just so. Then there are your children; Three gorgeous offspring also perfectly put together, clean, and matching. A family all eating together and enjoying black bean burgers and the company of each other.

In these very same fifteen minutes, my own children, (nine, seven, and four) have managed to alienate everyone in the place since the moment this shit show walked through the door, leaving a path of destruction in our wake.  There is hitting, yelling, crying, thrashing, and the youngest is demanding a Band-Aid for the serious invisible cut on her toe because she isn’t wearing shoes.

Just across the aisle from your dinnertime paradise, I have been to the bathroom three times because everyone had to poop (at three different times), cleaned up spilled milk from the table and my pants, and defused a near fist fight over the orange crayon which has just been chucked across the restaurant.

Over here on the “other side of the tracks” I sit with my hair in a messy pony, beads of sweat rolling down my forehead, the contents of my purse spilled out all over the table, and my pants stained and wet with milk that spilled as the children fought over who got to play with the sugar packets. My kids, well they are partially dressed in all non-matching, off-season clothing and looking like dirty hobos. Here we are, a family engrossed in the whiny, picky bullshit and negotiations for “one more bite” of the $9.00 macaroni and chicken nuggets you insisted you wanted for dinner. All this while pleading with the youngest to not eat the lettuce she found on the floor while sitting under the table.

Not-Tired-Looking or Stressed Out Mom, please share your secrets with me. Do tell. I must learn your tricks. How is it that your children are angels and mine are clearly the possessed spawns of Satan? I was wondering…Can we just trade children? Just for a few short minutes (ahem…or days).  I only want to eat my artery-clogging, non-vegan, bacon cheeseburger and French fries in peace while they are warm. Please?

Sincerely,

Sweaty, disheveled, Stressed Out Mom Across the Aisle

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