It is common for us seeing ones attempts at parenting, wow, she is a good mother, or wow bad mommy. I had this experience the other day.
One of the perks of living downtown is that we are a stones throw from lots of wild entertainment. I woke the babies and Hazel up early for such an occasion Nathan was running a race that started around six am. We walked down to cheer him at this finish line, then walk home with him.
While we waited for him near the finish line of a half marathon the crowd was asked by the police to cross to other side of the street. I had the babies in the triplet stroller, Hazel and Claire on bikes. We waited for a break in the racers and I ran across. The girls weren't as quick at gauging their timing as I and they got in the way of a runner. He didn't fall but I saw he was visibly upset with the girls. I felt really bad about my judgement in crossing when I did. In reacting to those feelings, I grabbed Claire while she was still on her bike, picked her up, none too gentle and pulled her bike out of the way of the racers. I did the same with Hazel. I didn't make it look nice, it was clumsy, I was frustrated, embarrassed and sorry. When I dropped Claire back on her bike, I heard a guy yell at me from behind, Hey lady! and Whoa lady! Geez, lady! (I'm not sure I like being called lady even on a good day.)
I felt even worse, but I rallied and in the end, all the cheering the children and I did, made up for any downward dip my emotions experienced about the race crossing.
I sort of wish that instead of saying in our minds a quick judgement, bad mom, or good mom. We could say something that is exactly as we see it, not just a judgement for all time. Wow, that mom seems more worried about the racers feelings than her own childrens' feelings. Or, that mom is acting out of guilt and concern over what just happened with that racer. See, no bad mom here, just a mom that is trying. Like we all are.