It was shaping up to be a good day. We had started our new homeschool routines, managed to make it to therapy all in one piece, and no one had attempted to kill anyone. At least not yet. When I tell you it was a good day, I mean it. I had just picked up Legoman from therapy and was given the thumbs up. Leaving the conversation feeling like maybe we were about to start seeing the upswing of things, I was pretty sure it was about to start raining gumballs. I mean, isn’t that what happens on the most perfect days?
And then I turned the corner and it happened. I still am not quite sure what set him off… something about a gameboy and a profile and a level his brother shouldn’t have played and… and… and… KABOOM!
I stood there with my empty bag (remember, I was about to go catch gumballs from the sky) and watched as he unleashed his mighty roar on his brother, then me, then at anyone in his path in the waiting room. I could feel the stares burning a hole through my bag. The same bag that held so much hope and promises just moments before.
So I put down my bag, and ran after my son. He needed me more than I needed it to rain gumballs.
Outside, it was anything but gumballs and rainbows. It was nasty and ugly and not anything I wanted to catch in a bag.
With the baby tugging on one leg and my 7 year old complaining about his game system, I proceeded to walk down the sidewalk. You see, my son had run away. He had never done this before. He had gotten mad, sure… but he had never, ever run away. The emotions flooded me. I had to just stop in my tracks, close my eyes and breathe.
Slowly we walked down the street, hoping not to startle my son, in case he was hiding somewhere, hoping to find him around the next corner, hoping this was just a joke. Finally we found him, at the end of the street, curled in a ball, lips cinched, eyebrows down and fists clenched.
HE WAS MAD!!!
At this point, my main goal was to get him the car, get him home, get him calmed down and keep everyone safe. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it but I knew it had to be done.
Somehow I had to get my very angry son back to the car (which was now blocks away). So that is what I attempted to do and let me just tell you, it was NOT pretty.
Then the most amazing thing happened… Out of the blue a gumball fell.
Seriously! Out of NOWHERE… I think I was too surprised to even catch it, though. You see, just as I was walking to the car, I heard a strange voice and felt a strange touch on my shoulder. This stranger muttered something that was so amazing I almost missed it.
It will be okay. You are a good mom.”
Did you hear that? She thought I was a good mom. This stranger on the sidewalk. This stranger that watched my son blow up before her eyes. This stranger that saw me ignore my 15 month old to go after my 9 year old. This stranger that saw me tell my 7 year old I didn’t care about his problems because “I” had bigger problems.
Yep… that same stranger. She didn’t judge. She didn’t stare. She didn’t even tell me all the things I should be doing. Instead, she just offered a simple “gumball“!
A simple ray of hope and promise.
A simple statement of understanding.
It WILL be okay. I AM a good mom.”
All of the sudden, I was no longer alone with a bag full of holes. Instead I felt hopeful. I’m not even sure I said thank you at the time. But, here I am today, saying thank you! Thank you to the stranger that chose to understand instead of judge! Thank you to the stranger that chose to connect rather than ignore! Thank you to the stranger that chose to support instead of stare. Thank you!
Thank you for my gumball. Thank you for the hope that not every day will be like this and thank you for the hope that some day it really will rain gumballs and life will be different.
Guess what? If you are reading this.. you are a good mom, too! Maybe today it didn’t rain gumballs, but take this small gumball, from me to you and know that there is hope. Not all days will be pretty, not all days will fill your bag, but know that it will be okay!
Has a stranger ever given you a gumball? Have you ever found yourself in this situation? I want to know all about it. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram or subscribe by email so you don’t miss our next adventures!
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photo credit: Purple Sherbet Photography via photopin cc photo credit: Francisco Carbajal via photopin cc
63 thoughts on “5 Simple Words Every Mom Deserves to Hear”
I very much identified with this story. My dear son often has explosive anger issues due to adhd, and anxiety. there have been times when I have had to run after him and coax him out of hiding places that he refuses to leave because of someone or something. I am blessed to be surrounded by a church family that understand. Now if only the school would be as understanding…..
Hugs mama! Here is to more gumball moments for you!
The moment I read “you are a good mom.” I started crying. I have a 3.5 year old & a 9 year old step daughter. My 3 year old has a lot of energy, and he’s not the best listener. He just ignores. And the stares from other moms when he’s inning amuck, climbing up & jumping off library footstools & not coming when I’m insistently calling are awful. I just want to be told I’m a good mom too. Thank you for sharing your story. We’re all ok.
Your “gumball” moment is absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing!
Awww, what a lovely post 🙂 you are definitely an Awesome Mon. xx
First of all I hope you always know, that you are a good mom! I am so glad that she stopped you and told you that. I feel like so many times people stop and tell you what you did wrong, but no one ever stops to support you or to tell you what you are doing right. Hugs momma! You are doing a fabulous job!
I have been there, not too long ago in fact. Our youngest (5) who I have always worried about and in my canned speech (to everyone else of course) have said “with his autism and sensory processing disorder, there is every likelihood that he could wander or run off”. Then while we were at the park, on my watch of course .. he ran off. I had to run after him, leaving our middle child who was having a panic attack because she couldn’t keep up. I couldn’t stop and help her, I had to go after him. I had serious guilt and still do, because I couldn’t help them all (at once) like they needed me to.
It’s so wonderful when strangers spread good and give us that reminder when it’s needed the most. What a wonderful story of finding the gratitude… the journey we are all on. xo
You had to find him; you aren’t a bad mom for putting them on hold for a few minutes when one needed you the most, I mean you didn’t just leave them on the sidewalk while you looked! I can relate, I’m torn between my 4 all the time and sometimes I feel awful but you have to do what you have to do. I’m glad someone was kind enough to offer the gum ball right at that moment!
Thank you! I needed a “gumball moment.”
So glad I could give you one! You are a good mom!
Your gumball moment made tears stream down my face.
Sometimes that little ray of hope, that small voice of a stranger is what we need to keep going.
Definitely sharing this!
Oh what a wonderful gumball. I really needed to hear this. Today has been a crappy day. One day, a few hours, does not make the Mom. That is hard to remember!
Oh hugs to you! Just remember, you are a good mom!
What an inspirational story. It’s so nice to be reminded that everything will be ok in times of turmoil.
Thank you so much. Sometimes we need a little word of encouragement from a stranger.
What an amazing post and a wonderful reminder that we all need to be supportive and not judge as moms.
Thank you so much and yes, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could mother in a world of support instead of judgement?
Loved this… LOVED it.
I will never forget the day when I had been trying to do the shopping pushing my tiny baby twins in the double stroller and every second person had said ‘double trouble’ or asked some personal or rude question like ‘how did you conceive them’ or ‘can you wait here while I get my friend, she has to see these freaky twins’ …. and just as I finally had all the shopping done and was heading for the car an older lady stopped in front of me and looking in the pram…. I braced myself for the next stupid or rude comment but she looked up and smiled and said “You are so lucky to have such precious babies’.
The lady walked away and I cried all the way to the car because it was hard having two tiny babies who didn’t want to eat and who cried at the same time and never slept… but despite all that the lady was right… I was so very lucky.
Your “gumball” moment just brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so so much for sharing your beautiful story!
This just made me tear up. You ARE a good mom <3 Pinned and loved!
Awesome! You are too sweet! You too are a good mom!
I love this! Sometimes as moms, we’re too hard on ourselves. Thanks for this 🙂
What a good story! And so much hope for other moms who are dealing with the same issues as you.
I have had many similar experiences and appreciate every one of them. I blogged about one of them here: http://www.toddlerapproved.com/2014/03/hey-mom-youre-doing-good-job.html
I absolutely love that post of yours! Thank you for sharing!
Oh, that made me cry! The hope, the fear, the impossible task of maneuvering emotionally compromised children back to the safety of the car and home. Too close to home. But so glad for your gumball. I only wish someone in your waiting room had been kind enough to say “go after him, I’ll watch these two.”
Maybe next time 🙂
Yes. Maybe next time, right? 🙂
One of my three amazing girls challenges me to be a better mama every day, often many, many, times a day. It’s these stories you share that encourages me to keep pressing on. Thank you for your honesty and for blessing is all with your journey.
Thank you for your kind words and support. Hugs to you!
Oh my! I saw this post on Pinterest and knew I had to click on it. So glad I did! So grateful that that woman took a moment to tell you and remind you of that important detail. I have twins and about a year and a half ago, they both decided to throw screaming fits in the grocery store….together! They were 2 1/2 years old…going on 3. I tried to act cool and I put the few grocery items back on the shelves, parked the cart, pulled them off of the two carts sitting there (yes…they were both fully expecting me to push two of those ridiculous car-carts b/c they couldn’t agree on one). I grabbed them both up in my arms and walked out of the store…with them screaming and trying to get out of my arms (and myself almost crying). I got out to the parking lot and had to set them down to get my keys. My son ran one way, my daughter the other. My son almost got hit by a car, but so thankful the driver saw him and stopped. *Nightmare!* I finally got them both in the van and strapped in. I crawled in the front seat and just cried with my head in my hands. “What just happened!?!?!”…yes, I yelled that in the van. After my eyes cleared up, I drove us straight home and proceeded to not take them with me to grocery store for probably a good three months. I would have loved to have somone tap me on the shoulder that day…. I will learn from your story….that when a mom has a day like this in front of all of us, I will pass on the “gumball”….thank you for that! 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing your story and although I wasn’t there to say it then, I’m saying it now. You are a good mom and you are doing a great job!
I love this! Feeling hope in hopeless moments makes all the difference in the world in parenting. It is SO HARD when you feel alone, and reading other people’s stories reminds me that there are other moms out there like me, making a difference in our children’s lives. Thank you for sharing.
You are definitely not alone. Parenting is not easy! Thank you so much for taking the time to write.
a couple weeks ago, something like this happened to me, too. we were at the library and I let my 14 month old stand on a chair to do the group craft. in a split second, she took a step and went off the side. I was horrified. and embarrassed, to be honest. I couldn’t stop myself from mumbling “great job parenting.” but another mom said “that’s not bad parenting, kids jump. you’re fine.” made all the difference to me.
How wonderful! I love hearing your gumball moments!
I can’t believe I am not alone. I have a smart, funny , loving , affectionate, awesome little boy. But when he runs and hides and gets angry, it can get really ugly. Name calling, hitting, even spitting and all accompanied by the stares and comments. If I have to get him to a safe spot, like in the car, it is honestly a battle. And all of this with judgmental eyes watching. And all I can think about is wishing that these people could see my son for who he really is, not when he is having anxiety, but when he is himself. From now on I will try and remember that raining gum balls is not impossible. That it could happen. And that I am not a bad mom, and he’s not a bad kid. Thanks for the perspective .
I am sitting here sobbing after reading your story. I’m a mom of a child with SPD and severe anxiety. I’ve had experiences nearly identical to yours with the anger outburst, the running, etc. What struck me is that no one, not even those closest to me have ever been so kind to offer a gumball. I’m so glad and also incredibly jealous at the same time that you’ve had that moment. I can only hope that one day when I really need it I will come across someone who is kind enough to give a gumball instead of a sideways look, a snide comment or worse some archaic advice on “how to set my kid straight using methods from their era”.
Oh love, I can only hope that you too get your gumball! You deserve it! You are a good mom and you are doing the best you can! Parenting these kids is tough and I am here to say you are not alone! Hugs mama!
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I was in Target shopping with my two other children and very pregnant self, for a child’s birthday who was at school. My two-year-old saw princess shoes — fabulous, pink, sparkly princess shoes. And she wanted them. Oh, boy did she want them. They were the best thing in the world, and I was keeping her from having them. None of my gentle “I’ll think about it” delay techniques worked. She was furious!
So, there I was, with a belly about ready to pop and a red faced, screaming and kicking two-year-old terror– all because of princess shoes. I couldn’t hold her because of my enormous belly, and I had to move my four-year-old on to my back to keep him from getting kicked.
I just wanted to sit down and cry because of how tired I was, how tight my time schedule was, and how big this fit was. Then someone gave me a “gumball”. She was an older lady — early 60’s I think. I had never met her before. She walked up to me and said “You are doing the right thing. Hang in there. You are a good mom.” Then she complimented my son for his good behavior and continued her shopping.
The explosion finally ended, but it was her kind, gentle, supportive, and encouraging words that helped me through the 45 minutes of fury. I don’t think she knows how much she helped, but those simple words made all the difference that day.
Hi! Thanks for the encouragement. We’ve had a rough few weeks here. Just this morning I dropped a screaming child off at school. Another mom gave me an understanding look and said something encouraging (it was hard to hear over the crying). The gesture meant a lot to me in that stressful moment.
One day, it will rain gumballs. It did for me the day I met my oldest when he came home from his first deployment. He and I answered a friend’s question at the same time with opposing answers. The friend said, “I think I’ll believe your mom, she’s never lied to me”. And then, the gumballs began to fall as my baby said, “She’s never lied to me, either. Not once”. Every single time mistake I had ever made melted away as I heard what my son thought in his heart about me. One day, your babies will give you the same gift.
While not a mom but a hands-on natural therapies health practitioner who works with infants I appreciate your perspective and experiences as moms. It makes me more aware. Thank you!
I found this post because the mom of one of my infant clients shared it.
Sheryl your story touched my heart the most.
I’d like to encourage all moms with children without or with health issues like Anxiety, Asthma, SPD, Autism, ADD, ADHD and Birth Trauma related issues, to start (if you haven’t already) exploring natural therapies like Craniosacral Fascial Therapy for both your child and yourself.
Craniosacral Fascial Therapy can make a significant difference in addressing and resolving tightness and restrictions in the body that may be the cause of some of the health issues and challenges your child may be experiencing. This gentle, safe and effective therapy can also support you as a mom physically, emotionally and mentally.
You can learn more about the natural therapies I use to resolve issues in infants through adults at http://www.HealWithWisdom.com.
I look forward to learning more from you all.
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Such a lovely story, thank you for sharing – you met an angel that day. I’m currently suffering with PND and need reminding at times that I am a good Mum. X
Beautifully written piece! My daughter was born with full-blown colic. She would cry up to 22 hours a day, and NEVER slept for more than 20 minute stretches at a time. I won’t go into the list of therapy’s we tried to calm her, but it was extensive and we tried just about everything available at the time. I remember even family members judged me harshly after hearing her crying incessantly and they thought I must be doing something awful to my child to make her cry like that. I never ventured out, not even for walks. I stayed with her and listened to her cry all day long and did what I could to comfort her, but to no avail. This was before the days where anyone realized there was much of a link between a mother’s diet and a baby’s food sensitivities with nursing. I ate very healthy, but I’m sure she was reacting to the dairy and gluten I was consuming.
Anyway, I basically didn’t leave the house for nearly 2 months because although being stuck inside was lonely and miserable with her cries echoing inside, it was a protective bubble and there was no one to judge me and make me out to be a terrible mother. When my husband would get home from work, I’d quickly hand off the crying child and run into the furthest room from her, close the door, and just cry, and then also relish in the almost near silence. My little one slowly started to get better and her crying episodes were fewer and far between. The first I ventured out, I mean, actually ventured out with her, my husband went out to eat for the first time in I don’t know how long, and my previously sleeping 2 month old suddenly awakened just as the waiter brought out dinner. We couldn’t get her to calm down so I put on a cover and nursed her, and oh the stares we got from patrons and the staff. I could tell one of the staff wanted to ask me to go somewhere else like the bathroom, or Mars, but decided against it. I was totally dumbfounded. She eventually calmed and we pretty much took our food to go as we didn’t feel welcome. Then we stopped at the bookstore and I was waiting in line at the cafe, with my daughter sleeping like an angel (more like a ticking timebomb…), when a middle-aged woman behind me commented on what a sweet thing she was. She told me she could tell I was nursing her because she looked so healthy and peaceful. I didn’t really say anything, and then the gal asked me if I was indeed nursing her. I was a little shocked she was so forward but I said that I was. She responded with, “Oh good. I can’t believe some lazy moms nowadays. They just feed their kids crap in a can. Moms like you and I are good moms who actually care about our children.” Ugh… In the span of an hour, I was made to feel ashamed and commended for the same act, but all with a great deal of judgement. I knew at that moment that motherhood would be ridden with judgement and many no-win situations from onlookers. Why do mothers have to be so ridiculed? What a beautiful moment that must have been when this woman was void of judgment and said the exact, magical gumball words you needed to hear? I hope others read this and become the gumball rather than the piercing stares. A sort of pay it forward movement. Beautiful!!!
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Last summer I had the unusual ability to go shopping alone (!) and saw a young mother with two daughters, maybe 3 and 5 years old. Surprisingly, it was the older girl that was throwing the tantrum. I was so proud of the mother who was sticking to her guns and calmly telling her daughter, “I’m sorry, but you made a poor choice and now you may not have that toy.” The struggle got more difficult when they left the store and the mother was trying to get them into their car. I offered to help, telling her that I understand (I have four of my own and have soooo been there!). She declined the help, but I still praised her for not giving in, when I am sure that’s what she was tempted to do.
We all want a gumball moment, but we need to be ready to give one too – then maybe it will actually rain gumballs! 🙂
Thank you for sharing it. I have 2 boys, 7 years old and 20 months old. We, parents, have to struggle with how to make our oldest son to be more confidence on learning and practicing subjects. Often he will cry when he doesnot know how to solve his homeworks. One day, a boy at school came to me when I want to pick our oldest up. He said, “you are the mother of (mention our oldest name).” Yes, I said. I wait and wonder what he will say next. He continued, “He is very cool, you know. He can draw very beautiful. For him, it’s only 1,2 and 3.. voillaa a wonderful picture is ready.” I was speechless. Yes, this statement from a little boy gives a lot of encouragement..
I will never forget my “gumball”. I was in a restaurant with my husband and our two kids. Both had various special needs, though we had no clue what they were at the time. One was melting down in a big way, one was just off the chart, and we were trying our hardest to just get out of there. I was sweating, literally sweating like I had just run the Boston marathon, and I was stressed beyond belief.
Someone tapped me on the shoulder from behind. I steadied myself for some rude person to tell me they needed a good smack, ask me to leave, or yell at me. Instead I saw the face of a very kind woman much older than me, older than my mother. She smiled at me, looked up to smile at the mess I called my family, and said in all earnest, “your kids are great. Don’t let this bother you. They are such a blessing. It will pass and, I promise, it’s not as bad as you are thinking it is right now.” She gave my shoulder a squeeze and then walked off with her husband.
Tears hit my eyes and I realized how much words, even words from a stranger, can fix someone’s heart. I have often wondered if she was a Mom with memories of her child(ren) having similar issues when she was young thinking back on how she felt as she saw me struggle.
I sit here with tears streaming down my face. I have a 16 year old who has emotional issues. She’s a wonderful, giving, caring person but it’s those times when she’s angry, sad, or stressed that she’s just not. I have been the brunt of awful people’say stares and comments. I would love for someone to just give me that ray of hope. we have literallYou spent the last there days handling an issue with her. I am so grateful to you for writing this post. I found it at just the right time. I wish there had been resources like this when she was younger.
Thank you for this post! My last gumball moment was a week or so ago when my 9yo daughter (the one usually causing the holes in the bag) came out of her room after our encounter and said, “Mommy, I’m sorry for the way I treated you.”
Being told I was brave and a great mom when I flew alone with three kids who are 8, 6, and 9 months at the time. The entire plane ride my oldest two argued and smacked each other while luckily the youngest either slept, nursed, or giggled. I tried so hard to get the oldest two to behave but nothing worked so hearing that almost brought me to tears of joy.
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When we were in Disney World two years ago, it was our last morning before our long drive home, and we decided to take our kids to our most favorite ice cream shop. My husband and I had been there twice before having kids and once with our oldest when he was 2 1/2. It was a tradition, and we were so excited to share it with our younger three children too. Beaches ‘n Cream is a tiny little soda shop that may have 6 or 7 tables and a few seats at the milkshake bar. We waited for over 30 minutes for a table (our first red flag for a meltdown), and then were seated in the MIDDLE of the restaurant (the most perfect location for all eyes to be on us as soon as something didn’t go as planned).
Well, we ordered, our kids were coloring and talking with us about our trip, and then our food arrived. Our then seven year old’s food was placed onto the table and immediately hit the floor. The food he’d been waiting nearly an hour to eat was now lying on the floor, and he felt as though his entire world had just come crashing down. The tears started flowing down his cheeks as they turned red, and he began to wail. I could hear the chairs rubbing against the floor as all seats turned to look at us. Our big boy’s heart was so broken over a plate of food falling on the floor. He felt as though he wouldn’t get to eat at all because his food was now gone. The waitress assured us she would bring more food, but it was too late. The damage was done. His heart was broken and a full meltdown was happening. As I talked him through what happened and how we would make it better, he began to calm, but then suddenly was overcome with sadness again. He was crying so hard that the waitress offered to take his food outside when it was ready. My husband took our son outside and tried to calm him while waiting for new food to arrive. He took him to the restroom, hoping to calm him, and it helped a little. The food arrived, and he began to eat, only to burst into tears and wailing again.
While I was holding back tears with every fiber of my being, I helped our then 3, 4, and 4 1/2 year olds with their food and ate some of my own. As I was eating, I could still hear the sounds of my child outside with his sweet Daddy trying to be calm, trying to just eat like everyone else in the restaurant, but he was too far into the meltdown. He was exhausted. He was hungry. And his food had been taken once he had received it, and that felt like the greatest heartache for him. All eyes continued to drift to our table and then out to him and his Daddy, but one man did something incredible. One man had been sitting with his wife just steps away from our table, and he got up and came over and put his hand on my shoulder. He was a short man around 60 years old, and I’ll never forget the Hawaiian shirt he was wearing and his dark Florida tan. He looked at me and smiled so kindly. He said, “I’ve been watching you, and you are doing a wonderful job. They are so blessed to have you. Can I pray for you now?” He kept his hand on my shoulder and prayed over us as tears trickled down my cheeks. This was my “gumball moment.”
This was an awesome story!! I had the same experience from my 16 month old in Vegas on Thanksgiving :(… I almost lost him in the crowd. I searched frantically while my husband was strolling behind saying just let him go.. No matter how tired I was I searched and ran after him. It was a scary feeling one I don’t ever want to live again..
I remember when my then 3 year old son was going through the terrible 3’s… He threw fits about the darnedest things in public, he was an amazing 2 year old (He’s 13 now) Older adults would be like “We didn’t let children act that way when my kids were growing up” Or how I needed to discipline my kid or just anything and everything negative. One women passed up during a really bad fit over something stupid at the time and she said it was ok and told me to hang in there. It made me have that “aha!’ moment were I realized EVERYONE who’s ever taking a child into public has had that very same problem I was having at some point no matter how good their kids were. Since then I don’t judge and I’ve “paid it forward” by offering other frazzled parents a knowing smile and a proverbial pat on the back. No it doesn’t get easier but I’m not going to make you feel bad for bringing your normally well behaved kid into public and they go psycho on you. Hang in there, the car isn’t too far away!
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Thank you for sharing this story. I feel like my own confidence is often not enough, I do need other people to say something encouraging. Just not to be indifferent. Some random words can do miracles.
It’s so hard for me to make up my mind and stop saying “I’m so bad, that’s all my fault” when my son starts crying, especially in public. And everyone just passes by pretending nothing happens. I feel so embarrassed. Just trying to be calm and speak calmly. That usually helps.
As a mom my daughter may cry many times in the public and it distresses me a lot. I keep asking myself what to do, my husband try to help me with it and being calm and someday i’ll be calm and confident as he wishes