When the mother of a young child walks up to a restaurant hostess stand on Friday night (with her husband and 3-year-old in tow), and says “Table for 3 please” —  what she’s really saying is…

“I live in hell and haven’t had a good night’s sleep in three years.”

“My life is a battlefield, and I am a warrior for the human race.”

“Between juggling this kid, my husband, my job and and the weight of the world — which I carry around with me every minute of every day as someone who has taken on the sacred burden of the very continuation of our species (you’re welcome!) — I am on my last nerve.”

“I need this to be a good experience because obviously I am the most needy person in this restaurant right now.”

So what’s a normal civilian customer service pro to do?   See her the way she sees herself and act accordingly:

Imagine that a US Military veteran in full uniform missing two limbs has just walked up.  Heck, if you saw a US military veteran missing two limbs on the side walk approaching the entrance, you would rush over to hold the door open.  You would take great care in helping this person to their seat and making sure that the placement of chairs, etc. was just so for the person’s comfort.  You would take the bulky bag out of their hands at the door, and at the table, take great care about convenient and gentle placement of said diaper bag as if it were filled with grenades. You would place the meal on the table before them as if you were the honored representative of a grateful nation.  

I’m overstating for effect, but the reality is that YOU see a 32-year-old paralegal from Shaker Heights, and SHE sees a battle-scarred warrior for the human race.  

This is not true of every mother of a young child — I hear there are 5 in California doing just fine.  Once the kids are 10 or so, most women and their husbands forget entirely the madwoman that the young mother was at times.  But it’s all true, and real.

Women of all ages are the primary consumers all marketers everywhere are selling products to.  They decide where the family dollar is spent and they rule the world.  Every decade or so they transform into a whole different person, it seems.  This particular woman-person, The Mother of Young Children, can be your biggest champion or your worst detractor.

Keep your empathy-o-meter finely tuned with this consumer if you want to earn her business.