I always feel other mothers eyes on me when I am in public with the kids. I try to be calm and speak firmly with them and not yell or raise my voice. I stress the word "try" because sometimes I am not able to. Leaving the daycare is the worst. I usually just want to pick the kids up and get home. Laci wants to wander and say hi to everybody and everything. If I ever get frustrated with her, I can only imagine what others thing. Occasionally, there have been a yell or a small swat on the bottom. I always regret that because "what will the other parents think?" I know I shouldn't care and I should parent the way I feel is appropriate but I do care. I do care what others think. At the grocery, I am always motified when Laci starts a tantrum. I usually stop and tell her that we will stand there and we can't continue shopping until she calms down. Then, as I feel the stares from others, I announce that all these other nice people just want to continue their shopping and did not come here to hear her scream. I hope they appreciate me acknowledging that my child is annoying them and that I am trying to calm her down and make it a more pleasant experience for all of us.
When Laci has a crying meltdown, I hope that others see the compassion I try to have as a mother. Yesterday, as Laci was crying, I sat on a chair with her, hugged and told her to calm down. I didn't want to yell or appear uncompassionate. Plus, I know Laci. I know that the best way to calm her down is to hug her, hold her and let her cry it out. I didn't want anyone to see me frustrated or upset with her for crying and having a meltdown. I wasn't upset with her at all. One of her friends and his mother walked by and he was obviously concerned to see her crying. His mother told him to mind his business and to not get involved and I told him that she was okay and just needed to cry it out. A few minutes later, Laci started crying again as I was trying to get Calvin. The boy's mother tried to distract Laci so I could deal with Calvin. Her friend walked over and gave Laci a hug. I really appreciated seeing his compassion.
Whether someone is having a meltdown or I am just struggling to get them both in the car, I can usually nod to the other parents and shrug my head and most of them will nod back and said "We go through that too." Then I don't feel so bad for having to display my misbehaving kids out there for everyone to see.