I am writing this on a gorgeous sunny spring afternoon. I love days like this, they are like a little taste of what’s to come with summer. Yes it’s only March, and there is rain forecast tomorrow, but all the more reason to enjoy these sunny days!
Also as I type this I have a little buddy on the floor next to me:
It is crazy to think he is 14 weeks old today! It is flying by and I feel like every day I learn something new about him, and about motherhood in general. And Josh is also learning every day; for example he appears to have found even more of his voice today as he is currently chattering away to himself. Of course I have no idea what he is saying but I just make sounds and chat back so it’s not all one sided and hopefully it’ll encourage him to talk when the time comes.
We’ve had a couple of really special days since I last did an update on Josh. First of all we went swimming for the first time:
Thankfully Josh absolutely loved it. I hoped he would cause he’s always enjoyed his baths so I took that as a good sign and it was. He was fascinated as I bobbed him around the water and we were even brave and went underwater for a second which didn’t seem to phase him. We’re making it a weekly thing now and we go with some good friends and their babies so it’s really enjoyable.
The other lovely thing we got to do was pick Josh’s Godparents. This was a really special thing to do and I loved asking the people we chose and seeing how much it meant to them. It’s so hard trying to narrow down who to ask because there are so many wonderful people in our lives but we made some lovely choices and seeing their faces when we asked them was magic.
As the weeks have passed I’ve noticed that there are often the same emotions or feelings us new Mums feel. Of course there is the classic, guilt; one we’ve all felt, will continue to feel and one we really shouldn’t feel. But the reason we so often feel this way is because of other peoples judgement!
The most annoying thing about this is one of the worst types of judgement we get is from total strangers! I always knew with breastfeeding and having to do it in public, you will get some judgemental looks from people. It’s almost like you have to accept that if you chose to breastfeed, which when you think about it is completely unacceptable. But some of the looks I’ve had are ridiculous. I feed really subtly, to the point that sometimes my husband hasn’t even noticed I’m feeding. One of the very first times we went out and I had to feed, there was a table near ours with two men and an older lady having lunch, and I kid you not, one of the men just turned around and continuously stared at me! Then the other bloke started to do the same. These weren’t even young men you might expect it from, they were middle aged! In the end the older lady with them said “don’t stare at her” but not in a particularly supportive way, she seemed pretty disgusted at my feeding in public. I bet so many of us women have gone through that and had that feeling where you go home and think “did that just happen”. It can make you want to never feed in public again. Which is so ridiculous, that total strangers and their ability to stare or tut, not very subtly, can make you go home questioning something you have chosen to do and have every right to do.
And it’s not just breastfeeding. My friend and I went for coffee and cake the other day and Josh, as I’ve said, has recently really discovered his voice. He wasn’t screaming, or crying, he was chuckling and gurgling, but I quickly spotted a lady staring at me clearly thinking “shut that child up”. Now I have to admit, when I was younger I would have probably thought the same thing. But again this wasn’t some young girl, it was a mother having lunch with her teenage son! And she was really going for the intimidating look, she kept full on staring and shaking her head. I briefly mentioned it to my friend but didn’t dwell on it because I didn’t want her to be uncomfortable as she had her baby and also needed to feed. I threw a decent glare back and fortunately she left not long after. But why should we be made to feel uncomfortable by someone else’s staring for no apparent reason.
I know judgement is an every day part of life; we all do it. We all see someone wearing something sometimes and think “what were they thinking”. We all wonder why someone we know does a certain job cause it sounds hellishly boring. We all judge, but the blatant and often very public judgement we get as mothers is a lot to deal with, as if we haven’t already got enough on our plates! It can be for so many things as well; how we feed, how we dress our babies, how we deal with them in public, if we return to work or become a stay at home mum. We shouldn’t be made to feel we have to define our choices to total strangers. I’ve had an old lady tut at me as I moved aside for her to pass me and the pram one day; I even said sorry. Why on earth did I do that; yes it was polite to move aside for an older lady but she wasn’t polite by tutting at me and not saying thank you, yet I was the one who instinctively said sorry!
So one of the things I am really trying to do now is develop a thicker skin when it comes to these sorts of scenarios. Rather than going home and over thinking it, letting it define how I do things is not what I plan on doing. I’m a strong woman and a good Mum so instead I plan on letting it be water off a ducks back and the only judgement I’ll take is that from people, friends and family, who I respect. Not from total strangers with nothing better to do.
And as always I want to remind all you Mummies how fabulous you are. Don’t let anybody bring you down or make you question how brilliantly you are doing. I’m only four months in but I am still making an effort to remind myself everyday that I’m doing a good job. And if I could I’d love to say to the lady in the cafe the other day, take a moment to remember when your boy wasn’t the teenager sat opposite you grunting in response to your questions, remember when he was a tiny baby making as much noise as he wanted, and remember how you cherished every moment of when he was little and bear in mind that’s exactly what I’m doing; cherishing and relishing in every moment my baby gives me. And I won’t ever be apologising for that.
Have a gorgeous weekend you lovely readers, enjoy the spring sunshine, buy yourself some tulips, have a glass of prosecco and relax!