Before motherhood I was, ya know, a woman who didn’t have any children. I lived alone, I worked three jobs, I slept in, and was super wreckless at Target. I’d get annoyed when there were extra family spaces at Wegmans, and I was waiting for the day when I’d snap after getting run down by a stroller.
I also questioned my friendships! Why did I lose friends after they became mom’s and dad’s? I assumed the friendships weren’t strong enough to make it and to cut my loses, for the most part. And what’s with public breastfeeding? And nothing was more annoying than asking how old a baby was and hearing a response ending in so many “months”. And why did it always seem as if moms were always in some rush and more important than the rest of the general public?
Then this funny thing happened. My uterus gained a dweller. It was happening. I was becoming one of them.
I didn’t need much of a wardrobe change until summertime hit. I needed shorts. Badly. I began the expedition for maternity clothes shopping! I was excited to walk into the store I’d never previously noticed. It wasn’t a very large store at all, and I was surprised. A lot of the clothes were designed by a celebrity or a big name. Again, I was surprised. Last I knew, Jessica Simpson was questioning the origin of tuna, but apparently she’s now a maternity wear designer. What a time to be alive, am I right? I was distracted by the pregnancy questions, the stories, and the goodie bag, that I didn’t realize how much my mother and I had collectively spent on clothes. Once I did, I decided to look around a bit more next time and do some price matching. Guess what? Slim pickins’.
Then? Then the baby came. The first time I went to the mall with her by myself was a train wreck. It resembled an over the top scene from a movie starring a washed up actor from SNL. I couldn’t get the stroller to open up and then I couldn’t click the car seat carrier into it. People were walking by and staring at me awkwardly. Finally I got it and went on my way! Until I came to the door. A door that had a ramp, but no button. I had to figure out how to use my body to open the door and simultaneously spin my newborn 360 degrees to get her through. All while I’m wishing I stole more of those mommy diapers from the hospital. (Side bar: WHY DON’T THEY SELL THOSE ANYWHERE!?!?!). Now once I finally made it out of the elevator and into the mall, my baby’s cries let me know it took far too long to assemble the stroller and it was now time to eat. “Where should I go to nurse? Do I care if people see me? I care about comfort. Oh! And it should be quiet. And not too distracting for her. She needs to focus. Did I bring a pillow or a blanket that I can use as a pillow? Where’s my water? Oh! a comfortable leather chair!…. with an 80 year old man reading a book… Oh! Another one!…. with a mall employee sleeping with headphones on. Hmmm….Where did all the seating go? Ok, baby! Shh! It’s ok! I know you’re hungry! Look! A wall I can lean against. Perfect.”
Once I pick myself up off of the floor, we go to the family restroom so I can change baby’s diaper and outfit and wash my pant leg from the epic nursing blowout that just happened. The door is locked. I hear rustling which leads me to believe the room will shortly become available. I was right! Out comes the single businesswoman who lets the door close as I lunge to reach it.
Finally it’s time for ME to enjoy some delicious mall cuisine.
I then have to figure out how to balance a tray with food, and a bottle of Snapple while driving a stroller. I then need to find a seat where said stroller isn’t breaking any fire codes or blocking any main aisles. This proves to be impossible, so I sit in a place that seems far enough away from mall traffic and carry on. Of course as I now have food, my daughter wakes up from the loud carousel bell and demands to be held! Thus I need to figure out how to carry a napping infant, while pushing a stroller and holding a tray with half eaten vegetables on it. Hopefully I don’t need to open any doors.
I realize early on that anchor stores have room for strollers, but a lot of other stores do not. I put off my shopping needs to another day when I can shop by myself. Of course, this day will never come.
As I make my way to exit the mall, I buckle baby safely into her car seat and head for the door! She again reminds me that it’s been two hours and she’s ready to eat. I hang my head and take a side trip to a near by changing room chair. With a full belly, baby is once again strapped in safely and ready to go.
I then head to the door a second time. I walk to the closing elevator door and watch the person inside stare at me as the door closes before I can get to it. I stand and wait for the elevator to return. A couple eventually stands with me and waits. “How old is he?” “Oh! She’s six weeks old!” “He’s a handsome little guy!” “Yeah! Shes wearing her new dress!” “What’s his name?” “Her name is Eloise.” “….oh…?” “Yes! Until she tells me otherwise SHE is a GIRL!”, I snapped. The elevator doors open, people walk out, the couple walks in first and I push ‘B’ when I finally get inside. My blood is slowly beginning to boil. I feel so invisible and so prominent at the same time that I don’t know how to act. We get to our level, the couple walks out first, and they’re out into the parking lot before I am able to spin my stroller around to get out. Again I fiddle with the door and stroller before I’m able to sit in my car and exhale.
I realize that I accomplished nothing that I had planned to accomplish. I was overwhelmed with the frustration of how difficult it was to simply exist outside of my house for a few hours.
And that’s when I realized why moms are always in a rush.