I clumsily stumbled into the mummy blogging community; vulnerable, confused and grammatically feeble. I have been welcomed with wit, warmth and a plethora of commentary focused on carbohydrates and phallic mushrooms. I have found more support in two months that I ever could have imagined. They make me laugh and are there if I cry.
When my son was small I staggered into baby group and made a lovely bundle of mummy friends, who did not give a flying froggy that you didn’t have a bra on. We watched our children grow and whilst we all had our own approaches to parenting we muddled through together. Moving away I miss them and life being a busy tirade of happenings we rarely get to meet up and I admit I am a terrible texter so need to do more to keep in contact.
Those parents saved my sanity. Lonely in a new city I befriended some amazing parent bloggers and forgot that some people can be unkind, judgemental and cold. I understand in the world not everyone is built to be your friend but my lovely fluffy unicorn time in social media world made my experience the other day harder.
Tuesdays my son goes to gym class, where on occasion he is attacked by seagulls. I drive straight from work, to school to gym. I am tired, clothes wrinkled and often plastered in whatever snack Leo has in the car. I gave up on wearing make up to work ages ago…too busy wrestling Leo into his school uniform in the morning. Post gym my son is a sweaty, scarlet cheeked state. He bounds out barefoot in shorts and t shirt, I scoop him in my arms and we gallop to the car with his water bottle dribbling down my back.
We were going to friends for dinner so I thought I would quickly pop into M&S and grab some indulgent desert because I am no Mary Berry and have zero time to bake. I piggybacked Leo in and granted bare feet in a shop is not particularly hygienic but I kept him on my back, slowly strangling me for all three and a half minutes we were in there. Directed by my giggling rider we went and picked up some profiteroles (cream is healthy right?!). Two other mummies with little ones in buggies were next to us in the isle… they turned to look at Leo and I mid discussion about how we could chop up lots of lovely fruit with the roles and he began to phonetically sing ‘b-a-n-a-n-a-s’ to himself. They both did the gaze that travels from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head, a gaze that gives you goosebumps and leaves you feeling cold and flat in your stomach.
Fair enough we probably weren’t the most put together pair. People are entitled to opinions, we are a judgemental species, I am not perfect and I am sure I am guilty of not always being saintly. But then my lion, social butterfly that he is said from my back, ‘Hello we are buying pudding for my best friend she’s leaving to go to the France so we get to have chocolate.’
They ignored him and walked off…I felt like throwing one of the perfectly shaped wholemeal sunflower seed M&S bread rolls..
I felt my mummy fangs start to sharpen, like an angry maternal vampire, then reluctantly tucked them back in. I would not judge them on their actions but I did feel sad. Leo mumbled, ‘oh dear, are they not our friends’. I forced a smile in my voice and told him some people are shy or that maybe they wanted to be quiet because their babies were sleeping.
Parenting is hard. Why are parents sometimes so quick to judge other parents? We are all experiencing the same deep sea of under confidence, guilt, the more negative judgement the larger and more solid that unachievable ‘ideal’ notion of parenthood will become.
To those mums, I am sorry if you were tired, if you were having a bad day, if my life seemed too carefree and easy (it I not) But please next time, if you can, smile at my son. Or if cutting me down made you feel better for a moment then I understand. If you walked away to avoid judging us then I hope you did it with compassion.
We are all parents.
Though that said some people may have been arses before kids and still are after. (Darn it tried and failed to end with the moral high ground…)