Thanks to Courtney from Bowdenisms for this guest post.
“Is this the mom’s group?”
She was shy, nervous, and almost eclipsed by the gigantic stroller/baby carrier/diaper bag she was struggling to navigate between the tables at the grocery store cafe. I assumed there was a baby in that mobile fortress, but it was hard to tell with all the blankets and shades obscuring any glimpse of him (her?). There wasn’t a peep from inside the covered wagon, but she was careful to keep it moving at all times, afraid to upset the motion-induced zen and risk a public outcry — or at least a cry –in public.
So when her tentative eyes scanned the room, looking for a safe place to land, her face posed many more questions than the one her mouth dared to ask. She asked if we were the mom’s group, but I heard (and saw) more.
I saw me, almost three years ago.
I saw a woman out of her element. A woman whose familiar world had been rocked. A woman who was unaccustomed to feeling this out of control, this overwhelmed, and this excruciatingly exhausted.
She asked if we were the mom’s group, but she was really asking: Are you my people? Will you understand me? Will you judge me? Are you so very tired too?
I wanted to nod knowingly, and listen to her story, and hug her, and hold her baby while she ran home for a shower and a quick nap (ok, too far…but maybe at least long enough for her to drink a coffee using two hands). I wanted to somehow let her know that I saw her, and heard her, and I got her. Because that’s what rookie moms really want. A shower, yes. A coffee, yes. But really…rookie moms want to feel not crazy.
So while my 2.89 year old stayed glued to seat (not literally, to my slight chagrin) watching the cafe TV, and my 1.25 year old did her best to combine the delicate arts of break-dancing and pretzel eating…I informed her that sadly, no, we were not her moms group. But we’d help her find them, and if that failed, she was more than welcome to plop down next to us for a bagel and a break.
And I realized that somehow, at some point in the motherhood game, I had crossed over from Rookie to Veteran. I was now someone people look to for advice. Someone who seemingly has at least some wisdom to offer. I’m no longer the self-conscious worrier, seeking to avoid disaster and present an image of togetherness. Much more often these days, I’m the loud and proud mess, thankful for any extra hands to wrangle my equally messy (and impressively loud) children. When I’m out and about and the madness ensues (as it frequently does) I don’t lower my eyes, hoping to avoid sideways glances- I volunteer a conspiratorial eyeroll because: kids. What can ya do?
But I vividly remember those Rookie days….being the unsure one, wandering around the cafe hoping to find a circle to surround me in my strange new life. And I embrace that memory, and the new girl walking in my footsteps. Because I may not be in your moms’ group…but I am a mom- so I’ll always be in your corner.
Courtney is the mom of two wild animals disguised as tiny blonde girls…she blogs about their (mis)adventures on her blog Bowdenisms. She’s equally passionate about building authentic community and enjoying a nice Coke slushie. Bonus points for both at the same time. Find @Bowdenisms on Facebook, Twitter, or (her very fav:) Instagram.