They say "it takes a village" to raise a child. And sometimes, they're totally right.
Whoever invented children obviously never intended for them to be taken out in public. Us parents only have two hands to wrangle them with. We can only run so fast as we chase them through a crowd.
We only have so much patience!
Sometimes, we need a little help. And for every person who rolls their eyes when they hear a baby on a plane, or for every cafe that threatens to discipline your kids if they disrupt other diners, there are tons of people who understand the struggle and are happy to lend a helping hand.
Here are five stories of random strangers stepping in to help parents in need to remind you that we're all in this together:
1. A kind lady cut up this mom's food so she could breastfeed her son.
For parents of young kids, going out to eat can be a small pleasure in a day full of diapers and tantrums. Well — if the kids cooperate, that is.
"Today was the first time I went out for breakfast alone with my 8 week old son," Briar Mcqueen recently wrote on Facebook. Immediately, she had her hands full. Her son, Jaxon, started crying for food.
So she put her own food aside and fed him.
"After a few minutes this older lady walked up to me, I was scared, thinking she was gonna tell me to put my boob away, instead she starts cutting up my breakfast for me and said 'what a good mama you are, we can't have your food getting cold can we.'"
What a sweet surprise.
"I honestly could have cried," Briar wrote.
2. This mom couldn't get her baby to fall asleep on a plane. But the woman next to her could.
Flying with a baby is every parent's nightmare. And for Rebekkah Garvison, that nightmare arrived in full force on a recent flight. Her young daughter, Rylee, wouldn't stop crying. The plane was full, and it hadn't even taken off yet.
It was going to be a long ride.
But when Rebekkah changed seats to get a little more room, she got an amazing response from her new seatmate, Nyfesha Miller, who offered to try her hand at calming the little one down.
"As soon as she had her, Rylee was looking out the window and stopped crying," Rebekkah wrote on Facebook. "When we got in the air she fell right asleep and slept in her lap the whole flight until we got to our gate. [Nyfesha] kept saying it wasn't a problem at all and it was actually a comforting feeling for her. She even carried her off the plane and held her so I could get the stroller and carseat put back together so I wasn't struggling to try and do it all alone."
"You will never understand how happy this act of kindness has made my family," Rebekkah wrote.
3. For these parents, all hell broke loose at a restaurant. The kindness of two strangers made things a little easier.
Murphy's Law says that everything that can go wrong will go wrong. That's exactly what happened to the Wistehuff family during a recent trip to a local restaurant.
First, their youngest son, Ian, threw an epic, screaming, flailing tantrum. Then, with Ian still losing it, their older daughter Luca said she felt like she was going to throw up. The parents, Melissa and Jason, divided and conquered as best they could. But there was no denying the disaster at hand. They asked for the check in a hurry...
...only, the waiter explained, the tab had already been picked up by a fellow diner who was impressed with their patient parenting. Another nearby diner then offered to pay the tip.
For the Wistehuffs, it was one less thing to stress about in a chaotic moment.
“Just when you think that the world is putting you down, they’re not. They’re picking you up,” Melissa told Yahoo! Parenting. “They completely changed our night.”
4. A couple of kind words were exactly what these parents needed to hear during a stressful evening out.
Stephanie and Arick Hartman's son Avery was born early. Very early. He came into the world after only 25 weeks, weighing just over one pound. He also, unsurprisingly, came with a lot of health problems.
After a few months, though, the Hartmans were feeling confident enough to take Avery out to his first dinner in public.
"It wasn’t long before he vomited. All over Arick’s shirt," Stephanie wrote for The Mighty. Arick passed him over to Stephanie. In case she was feeling left out, Avery vomited on her, too!
"We were unaware that all of this had attracted the attention of our neighbors. ... They were middle aged and decked out head-to-toe in biker leather," Stephanie wrote. "For a few minutes they admired Avery, but it was what that man said before they left that will stick with me forever. He put a heavy hand on my husband's shoulder. 'I want you to know, being a dad isn’t easy. But you. You’re doing a great job.' He looked at me. 'You both are.'"
5. This guy did his job with one hand and soothed one mom's baby with the other.
Coty Vincent was not having a great day. She was trying to secure a rental car following an accident, and on top of that, she had her hands full with her young twins.
As anyone who has ever rented a car can tell you, the process is not usually a quick one. Thankfully, as Coty's restless twins began to squirm, a friendly Enterprise employee stepped up to the plate.
"While he helped me with my rental due to a hit and run accident, he held one of my twin sons as I don't have a double stroller," Coty wrote on Facebook. "One of the most compassionate and caring people I've ever met. We need more people like John who go that extra step. "
To all the kind people out there who are willing to help soothe, wrangle, feed, or just hold our kids: thank you.
We might not want to admit it, but as a parent myself, I know that we're not always sure we can do this on our own.
One day, when we find ourselves out and about without our kids and we see a young parent struggling with a powder-keg toddler or a fussy infant, we'll be more than happy to pay it forward.