You guys, I WAS MOMMY SHAMED TODAY!
I know I shouldn’t be excited about it – I definitely wasn’t excited in the moment. But afterwards I felt like I had joined some elite club of women. The women in society that people feel it’s perfectly acceptable to criticize, shame, or put down in public.
So actually…all women. Welcome to the motherfu*&^#@ club.
So here’s the scene: It’s about 11:45am and I have Will in the stroller heading home from the gym. I get on the bus, all normal, always being careful not to run over any toes or bump people. Typical stuff. Then a few stops down, another mom gets on with her adorable baby girl in her stroller. We can’t both fit in the front area, so at the next stop we do some musical chairs and I move farther back on the bus. At this point, I notice a women getting extremely agitated – now mind you she was sitting behind us so we hadn’t inconvenienced her in any way, she didn’t have to move, and just for the record she was sitting in an elevated area taking up two seats.
So, this lady then starts to loudly announce to the bus how “unbelievably selfish” it is that we would bring our strollers on the bus. That we were blocking the exit (you guys, busses have 3 exits. 3), and it was just sooooo unbelievable that we would be so selfish.
Selfish. Selfish. Unbelievably selfish.
Yeah. I know.
So, trying to keep it classy, I turned to her and said ma’am we’ll get out of the way whenever you need to get off. Which she ignored. Fine. So we re-adjusted a bit, and a few stops down I heard her talking again about how unbelievably selfish I was, so I turned and gave her the look. You know the one. The, sternly look at her face, eyes slowly travel down a little, then back up. I wish I wasn’t proud of it (I totally am. I’m not a saint, people) and of course that set her off again, saying she saw my “dirty look” and I was such an unbelievably selfish person, blah blah. And then, she got off the bus. That was it.
But I have to admit it left me reeling. I had that sort of, fight or flight, nerves tingling feeling for a good while afterwards. Someone I had never met before was so convinced that I was a terribly selfish person, that she felt compelled to announce it to the entire world (well, entire bus anyway).
And that made me think about mothers. More specifically, how incredibly UNselfish mothers actually are.
Mothers start sacrificing before they even meet their babies. Giving up small comforts like wine and sushi and turkey sandwiches just to make life a little safer for their growing babes.
Moms sacrifice bodies they’ve worked hard for, take on stretch marks and weight gain and leaking orifices. They let go of the dignity that is not peeing a little when you first start running again. Or sneeze. Or laugh too hard.
Mothers sacrifice careers, perky boobs, and the ability to leave the house without carrying a minimum of 3 bags and having a loop of “diapers, wipes, snacks, hand sanitizer, pacifier, water cup…did I say snacks?” play in their mind before they walk out the door.
I think maybe the most incredible thing of all is that mothers give these things up without any resentment. There’s no scorekeeping. No keeping a list of what you’re owed. We take our sacrifices, and our guilt from considering the sacrifices we should add to our list, and we bury the whole thing in love. In a love we’ve never experienced before. A love that makes you forget what having freshly washed hair every day feels like. A love that makes you forget what not being puked on smells like. A love that makes changing a million diapers and getting food in your hair and potty training and endless episodes of Sesame Street somehow…worth it.
It’s worth it.
And so, to call a mother selfish is almost comical. You don’t argue with the person saying the sky is green, because you can see that it’s blue. Most people around you can see that too. It just…is.
So I guess what I’m saying is…don’t let people crush your spirit. They don’t know you. You’re awesome. And to the lady on the bus – I hope your day gets better. Because I can’t imagine how miserable you must feel to criticize two young moms just for existing.
And also, karma’s a bitch.