Today I was “that” Mum.
That Mum who was being judged.
It was meant to be part of a lovely Mothers Day treat. We’d had a nice walk on the beach……. OK well it was more of a case of Sam and I tag teaming each other as our 16 month old decided it was vital he pelted towards the sea every time he was let loose! Cue two very tired parents after 45 minutes and the decision was made to go for a drink in one of the cute local country pubs to toast Mothers Day and our impromptu work out thanks to our son!
We timed it quite well; a lot of the Mothers Day lunches were drawing to a close so we managed to get a seat and won the high chair battle of getting Josh to settle and have a snack.
I clocked her as soon as we started to set up the high chair. Her eye roll to her husband was about as subtle as a sledge hammer. She may as well have said out loud “oh great that’s our lunch disrupted”. Josh was actually being really good – he settled down with his snacks and water, he was giggling but not particularly loudly and towards the end of the drinks he started to get a bit antsy so I put on sleeping bunnies which always saves the day!
Throughout the 45 minutes we were in there I saw her staring at us and quite frankly looking down her nose at us. She was very obvious in her unspoken thoughts. As a Mum you often have those paranoid moments where you think are people judging you yet a lot of the time you get a pleasant surprise when in fact people give you a reassuring “I’ve been there” smile. This was not one of those instances.
I felt her eyes on us the whole time we were there. I felt her irritation at any noise Josh made, I could see her whispering to her husband whilst looking at us, and I could practically hear her sigh of relief as we decided to leave.
The most ironic thing? Also at the table with her and her husband was her son. Her grown up son – I guess he was late teens/early twenties. He was a handsome lad and it was sweet hearing him toast his Mum a Happy Mothers Day. This woman was also a Mother. She’ll have been in those situation that all us Mums experience; the battle to get your child into a highchair that they will then insist upon banging with their chubby hands until food magically appears. She’ll more than likely have felt that flushed feeling of panic when the baby starts to get that bit too loud and you have to try and quiet them with a smile on your face even though inside you’re feeling more than a bit mortified. And perhaps she will have been lucky in her situation and have had a fellow parent offer that knowing smile of “I’ve been there” to reassure her.
She is a Mum. She knows how I will have been feeling. She could have offered some unspoken solidarity, Mum to Mum, Woman to Woman. She chose not to. Instead she offered unspoken exasperation. It’s not often you come across people who are so obviously irritated; us Brits are normally pretty good at masking what’s getting on our nerves until the subject of said irritation has left. This woman wasn’t subtle. She spoilt that quick Mothers Day drink for me. I couldn’t relax and enjoy conversation with Sam and enjoy watching my son take in his surroundings.
When we did leave I didn’t scurry out with shame. I kept my head high. Because I’m a good Mum. A proud Mum. A Mum who is simply doing her best. A Mum who will always look at fellow Mums who are in the midst of dealing with a public toddler tantrum, or losing the car seat battle, with a smile of reassurance. A Mum who will always support fellow Mums. A Mum who will never judge. Because I’ve been there. I get it.
We’re all in this together right.