I just read this post by This Mum’s Life and it struck a chord with me. We all have an idea of how we look and perhaps, for some of us, it’s a bit out of touch. A bit in the past. A bit before we became parents… In my case it might just be. Am I now just a harassed mum chasing a toddler?
Sometimes I really forget my age, I climb into my car wondering if people are thinking I’m too young to drive a mummy truck. I scope out others’ looks to see if they’re giving me the ‘you’re a young mum‘ look… The one maybe I did actually get two years ago when H was a newborn and I was a mere 31. My look before the harassed-mum-to-a crazy-toddler look took over my face, body and being.
I know I over think things and can be a bit over aware of what others might think. I don’t want to offend or be annoying. I don’t want to be out of place or disrupt.
I’ve just been to the supermarket and although I’m pregnant with #2, it’s not that obvious under my huge maternity coat. So as I wondered around the shop I did spend my time wondering what those WI ladies in Waitrose thought of Toddler H and I causing chaos. Ok not chaos, just Toddler H lying on the floor because she wanted the Bing DVD – the one, and only, that we already have, I might add! In my head, her fake cries causing cringes and disapproving looks to sweep through the Joules and Barbour wearing, perfectly made up ladies buying their Dutchy Organics oat cakes while picking up their free coffee. Were they wondering in an ‘overheard in Waitrose’ style way, “goodness me why is a child in Waitrose?”
Well yes I do get those looks, in any supermarket I might add, I’ve seen them in Waitrose, but actually more so in Asda. It was in Asda that a moody lady careered into the middle aisle with her basket almost whacking Toddler H in the head with it and and looked like she might explode at her as to why we were walking down the aisle that runs down the middle of the shop. She had walked out of a smaller aisle into the main throughfair expecting everyone to stop for her and move out of her way. I’ll never forget her look of what’s your toddler doing in MY way.
However, I have to remember my experiences on the complete opposite end of the scale, again in Waitrose, these were the same ladies saying how gorgeous Toddler H was. On one recent occasion a lady following us stopped me and told me with a huge smile on her face, how Toddler H had made everyone’s day and had cheered up everyone she passed. She pointed behind, and there were shoppers smiling and laughing at my daughter who happened to be wearing her new pink scooter helmet, with label still attached as we hadn’t paid yet. I realised she wasn’t harassing people, she had put those smiles on all those faces. When I glanced to see what she was talking about one waved at H, making her day. So, yes, I was harassed as H had just run to the magazines instead of staying in the queue. And yes, she was wanting every single magazine on the shelf but I needed to take a step back and relax. She wasn’t doing harm. She wasn’t disrupting people’s shopping. She was creating smiles and making people’s day. I needed to stop and take that in. Take in her cuteness and the smiles and put myself in their shoes. They saw a cute toddler being a toddler. Surely they didn’t want to see a cute toddler, who was just being a toddler, being chased by a harassed mum nagging mum?
Is it me getting the looks for being a harassed mum? That mum that’s nagging her kids looking stressed? Is it me getting ‘looks’ and not Toddler H?
I do wonder if harassed mum is my look these days, again made apparent from a thought from last week’s supermarket trip, to Saknsburys this time…
Sometimes I wonder if I’m going to get ID’d. I often then realise I’m older than the cashier, oh, and my grey hair is showing, I’ve a toddler in tow and my harassed face does not look unlined, fully made up or perfect like all those under 25s who do get ID’d. The fact I’m pretty much 34 now, is just something that I forget.
When I think about it the cashiers who are my mums age don’t ask for ID anymore either. Sad days. Or an easier life? I’m not sure!
I don’t know where that time has gone. I remember turning 25 like it was yesterday, the first birthday I was ‘with’ hubby. The iPod he bought me is still one of my most prized belongings. Engraved and special. I remember the Indian we had with my flat mate who’s now been living in America for 9 years. Yes, we were young and working and in London. Working hard, building my career, dinners out and takeaways, visiting places we don’t with kids. Holidays abroad every 3 months. Immense unplanned road trips. Always having a tan, true in hubby’s case, and I’d know I had a tan but no one else. Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t change my life now, we did that, we travelled, we road tripped and we got ID’d all the time, right up until recently. Well maybe hubby still does sometimes – he does do shopping without Toddler H in tow and doesn’t have the grey hair issue yet. So, maybe it’s just me escaping the “I got ID’d” again disbelief. Yes, it happened all the time until H was born, but we were always incredulous that it did.
So now, having realised its a long long time since I’ve been ID’d and then looking in the mirror, I fear that with baby #2 on the way my grey hair will increase and harassed look be more prominent. Really, like us all, I need to step back and take a breath, to know that it’s ok. I don’t need to get harassed, or paranoid about ‘looks’ (both mine and those from others), my toddler is just a toddler. I really don’t need to get harassed or bothered. I should breeze through those shopping aisles and share a glance with those WI ladies. They might actually be laughing not grimacing. And most of all, I need to laugh and smile with my girl, after all she’ll pick up on all my emotions too.
What do you think? Have you found yourself in similar situations? Is harassed mum just the way it is now?