Then and Now – A Tale of Two Moms

“Good judgement comes from experience.
Experience comes from bad judgement.”

~ Jim Horning*

2012-07 AlliiertenMuseum Berlin Alliierte Kommandantur Sitzungshammer anagoria

By Anagoria (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

7 Years Earlier

“OK, moms and dads… let’s get started.” Said the lady (whom I assumed was in charge).

From the corner of my eyes I noticed a women straggle into our gathering a couple seconds late, taking one of the last seats left available in the packed auditorium.

Feeling glad that we had the foresight to arrive early, I looked over at my husband with nervous excitement. We were about to transition towards a new era in our lives – as parents of a “school-aged” child.

My husband and I had walked into the room together early (nearly 15 minutes ago) and sat down on the cold folding chairs, with excited yet anxious anticipation clearly marked across our faces.

Waiting for the mandatory meeting to begin, I intently reviewed every single form (for the 50-billionth time) that was meticulously organized in a stack sitting upon my lap. Certain that each form was correctly completed, I spent the remaining few minutes watching the auditorium fill up seat by seat with other parents.

When the meeting began and the preschool’s Director introduced herself and started to address the lengthy agenda, my husband and I clung to every word she said. We diligently took notes and we’re surrounded by other parents who, like us, where also dissecting and writing down the Director’s every word on the 2 1/2 hour, one-day-a-week preschool program our 2 to 3-year-olds were soon to enter.

However, my attention was briefly diverted from my intense note taking and the Director’s words as I observed the mother who had just sat down a couple rows to the right in front of me – the “straggler” who had stumbled in minutes late for the meeting.

There was something different about this mom, and it was this indistinguishable difference that momentarily caught my attention and distracted me.

  • Maybe it was that she noticeably decided not to take notes in response to the Director’s speech.
  • Maybe it was the fact that she had walked in late and didn’t seem to be at all concerned about it.
  • Maybe the difference lay simply in her unmistakably relaxed and somewhat lackadaisical eyes.

Whatever it was, there was something I couldn’t quite pinpoint about this mom that briefly made her stand out to me.

20 minutes later the meeting ended and immediately upon it’s conclusion, my husband and I jumped out of our seats, excited to visit with our daughter’s teachers and catch a glimpse of the her classroom.

I looked again across the auditorium at the mother – the somewhat blasé woman who for only an instant had captured my attention. Our eyes uncomfortably met and I quickly turned the other way having an uncanny feeling that she had silently read my mind’s earlier, somewhat judgmental thoughts.

I grabbed my husband’s hand and we disappeared into the chaos, never again to think of this mother…

Until just now.

Now: 7 Years Later

I walked into the very same auditorium with a friend, both of us nearly on time to the gathering that (although mandatory) I had briefly considered skipping.

Grabbing the last two seats in the packed auditorium, I absentmindedly fingered through the forms I had quickly gathered together as I raced out my home’s door 25-minutes earlier. (The same door simultaneously entered through by my husband, as we swiftly exchanged cars, kids and keys to juggle the schedule of our youngest’s preschool parent orientation with our oldest’s soccer practice.)

As the preschool parent meeting began, I tried to remain focused, but all I could think about was that this meeting needed to be over before 7:30 so I could pick up my oldest daughter and her friend from soccer practice. Please be over by then. Please!

I looked around at all the other parents whose faces were clearly marked with anxious anticipation, taking notes as they tried to absorbed the information given to them about their child’s upcoming 1st day of preschool. I glanced about knowing and understanding that excitement of being a “new school-aged parent” yet not really feeling it myself.

I had been there. Done that.

And then,
IT happened.

Nostalgia came flooding back as I felt the innocent, yet slightly judgmental burning stare of another mother’s eyes – highlighting my somewhat lackadaisical attitude.

I remembered the seemingly unenthusiastic mother who had briefly captured my attention nearly 7 years ago. The mom who had arrived nearly late (like me) and who hadn’t seemed concerned about taking notes while at the same time looking unfathomably relaxed for a preschool parent orientation.

That mom…

was now me,

feeling just a tad (actually a lot) older,
a wee-bit wiser (well, sort of) and
with another notch of “experience” under my well intentioned yet ever evolving parenting belt.

Leave a Comment: When was the last time you made a silent judgement only to realize your judgement had a lot more to do with experience (or lack-there-of)?

*Note that Horning actually attributes the beginning quote I used to a legendary 13th century Sufi sage, the Mullah Nasrudin.


This week I am linking up with Bianca at Bits of Bee for her Quotable Bits Link-up.

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8 Responses to Then and Now – A Tale of Two Moms

  1. Bruna from Bees with Honey
    Twitter: beeswithhoney

    Ha ha, this same thing has happened to me. Mother of 3, right here! I laughed out loud while reading your post and new where it was leading. Cute 🙂

    • Kate F. says:

      Yea! – I am NOT the only one! 🙂 That makes me feel so much better. It is hard to look in hindsight at something you now realize you have been so judgmental about… It’s true what they say: Hindsight is 20/20.

  2. Bits of Bee says:

    LOVED this post! Very well written, and a great way to put things in perspective. I’m that first-time mom right now, but I’m looking forward to seeing things from the other side, when I do it all again with my son in 3 years and don’t find it to be such a big deal. Thanks for sharing!

    • Kate F. says:

      Glad you enjoyed the post. Certain things do get easier and less stressful the more kids you have… however other things (like driving everyone to all their activities) becomes WAY MORE stressful then you could ever imagine 🙂 There is always a give and take, isn’t there?

  3. angela says:

    So much judgment is like that, isn’t it? I know I’ve done the same thing about probably a million things since becoming a mother, and then a mother of two. Heaven forbid (actually, modern surgical procedures forbid) I should have a third child. I’d enroll him/her in driver’s training straight out of the womb!

    • Kate F. says:

      🙂 LOL Angela! It is true though… you really just cannot possibly judge another parent’s reaction to anything when you are not in their shoes. It is good to keep a steady reminder of that in the back of our heads!

  4. RoryBore
    Twitter: rorybore

    Yep, that’s me.
    Once you get to child #3, it is hard to maintain that first “oh, how exciting and new and wonderful” aura. You are excited for your child’s achievement/transition, etc. etc……’re just past the stage of cartwheels and “Woot, woot’s” I think.
    Except potty training……that always deserves a victory dance, I don’t care how many kids you have. I will dance with you always!! 🙂

    • Kate F. says:

      Exactly. I was still excited – just definitely past the “Woot, woot” era 🙂

      P.S. COMPLETELY agree about potty training…ohhhhh how I am dreading doing that! I keep putting it off … ugh!

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