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Once upon a time in Wendy’s, a young mother experienced harassment of the most common kind. She sat with her three young children and happy meals, in what looked like a sea of white cotton candy—I’m guessing senior discount day—and a bored couple sitting side by side and facing her— judging her every move.

Her little boy, eager to fish his toy from his bag, spilled his entire box of chicken nuggets onto the floor.

The mother looked in the direction of the counter to her fully decked out table, to the little boy. She scolded him, maybe a little too harshly, but being a mom myself, I understand the dilemma. Does she leave her fully-loaded table, gather up her kids (she was out of sight from the counter, so she would have had to take her kids) and re-order the chicken nuggets or just share her meal with her son?

(Any mama or Nanny will understand how difficult a simple task

It's a glorious handful

It’s a glorious handful

becomes with small children.)

The couple who was fully immersed in her business decided the most helpful thing to do would be to tell the mom to go back to the counter and ask for more chicken nuggets. They didn’t offer any help, just their opinion—with attitude.

The mama decided to share her meal with her son—who refused to eat anything but French fries anyway—much to the disapproval of the nosy couple. The woman-half of the couple scoffed, took a swig of her drink and along with her husband, continued to stare and discuss the harried mom in front of them.

Selfish is the word.

And mean.

But it turns out that mothers of young children are in the highest category of stressed out people in the world (and all the moms say amen). Here’s a snippet from Randy and Nanci Alcorn in their book, Help For Women Under Stress:
“One doctor and stress lecturer has said that the most overstressed person in our society is the mother of small children. Our counseling experience, our family experience, and our conversations with many women confirm this.
Small children are takers. They require unceasing time, labor, and attention. They cry but can’t tell you what’s wrong, and when they’re old enough to talk they ask you the same question twenty-nine times in a row. They are delightful gifts of God, yes, but they demand and deserve more than you have left.”

Many people have asked me how I manage to juggle all that I do. I raise kids full-time (and have one of those awesome husbands that helps), write novels and do other freelance writing jobs, and when my husband is off work, I go from wrangling my kids all day to putting in a shift at my part time job. I drive home at midnight, literally slapping myself to stay awake. My son still gets up anywhere from midnight to 3am with nightmares, which means I do too. I’ve worked physically demanding jobs, I’ve worked in a school for troubled teenage girls, and I’ve scrubbed dishes by hand, in a small redneck restaurant (redneck as in the genuine thing…not the Hollywood version). And all I have to say is….

Motherhood is, by far, the most difficult and demanding job I’ve ever done. And those other things I do? Yes, they keep me busier than is probably healthy, but they also give me a break from the mommy stress.

In contrast to those who recognize my hectic schedule, there are those (like the couple who plagued my friend in Wendy’s) who have asked me: Is that all you do? Why do you look so tired?

Seriously, who taught you to poop in a toilet, people?

And for those of you that hold doors, and offer understanding smiles and patience to a mama when her kids act out in public? Bless you a thousand times.

Are you looking for a way to pay it forward? Help a mom today. Are you a mom? Tell us your story, give us your rant, or grace us with your advice in the comments.

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