girls scout badge recognized by all other urban moms. “Oh Jill has her badge in babywearing AND organic snacks. She MUST be a good mom”. Sadly, drive just 30 minutes north from me and those badges don’t translate.
But I digress.
Ok I’m at this birthday party, up north at a café that also has a massive play area for children. Mila had found this activity block thing and was playing and this moment for some reason struck me as something I would just have to document. So In a full parka and rainboots i’m practically laying on the ground trying to get the angle right to get a good photo (the things I do for instagram)
Anywho, that’s when a grown man stands above me and defensively ask “is that even your child?”. Um exqueeeezzeee me? No dude. No I’m just some random broad who goes from café to café taking photos of other peoples children.
I clarified that I was in fact her mom and tried to make a joke to lighten the situation. But I could just see the disapproval on his face. Was it the fact that I was laying on the ground? Was it that I’ve become one of those obnoxious moms who follow their child around with a camera (YES!!!!!!!)? Does he have a problem with parents who feel the need to instagram everything their child does?
Either way. Clearly this dad was not impressed with me and that’s just fine.
Fast forward an hour or 2. im sitting there, feeding mila, and this woman kept mean mugging me. I wasn’t sure if it was a nursing in public issue but mila was done anyways and had fallen asleep so my breast went back where it belongs, in a cheap forever21 sports bra. Still, minutes after, this woman still kept looking at me pissed off. That’s when I realized she was also looking at Lucy like she was quite bothered by her. Lucy was running around playing with her cousin. Lucy is AMAZING with younger kids. Seriously. Stay tuned, cause someday she will be Seattle’s go-to babysitter. She is a natural leader and has a great imagination.
Eventually this woman just grabbed all her stuff, and her child, all flustered and left. Actually. This woman STORMED out of the café. My mom was next to me and instantly I was like “ok. what. in the EF. was that?” My mom kinda chuckled and said she’d noticed the interactions as well and said she had no clue.
I of course could not let it go. I thought to myself “Couldn’t she see my child is eating veggies and hummus. The other is nursing in a sling. I have beautiful child who are delightful to be around….what on earth could be the issue lady?”
I brought it up in the car on our way home, and my mom had some interesting insight. She said something along the lines of “Ya know, that woman seemed quiet. And her son seemed very clean and precious. Lucy was running freely and being somewhat loud and she might have thought that would have overwhelmed her son.”
……Omg. She was probably right. Suddenly it all made sense. But then I had to also accept that woman was waiting for me to tell Lucy to calm down. Which wouldn’t have happened because as I saw it, my wonderful charming daughter was just being a free spirit having fun. At a birthday party. But that woman thought I wasn’t doing my job. Because the sling and organic carrots didn’t impress her. To her, it was having a quiet well behaved child that mattered most. Or at least that’s what we’re assuming to justify all the mean-mugging.
But it got me thinking. About how different mothers priorities are. There are moms who are going to judge you to pieces for doing the cry-it-out method. And others don’t care at all about sleep training, to them its education that comes first and all that matters is what college their child will get into. For some the most important thing is fitness, staying healthy, being athletic. They might look at my child and think how sad it is that I let her watch tv, meanwhile I’m thinking what a shame it is that she puts her son in time out. How dreadful.
That’s when I came to terms with the fact that no matter what, my children, and my parenting wont impress everyone. Or even anyone. My imaginary girls scout sash full of badges in cosleeping, breastfeeding, and babywearing wont matter when someone else’s kid gets into Harvard and I’m cheering loudly for my daughter who has decided to sell cosmetics instead.