I think my fellow Gorillamums and I are all realising this at the same time. They may say it more eloquently than I, but my personal conclusion is that I was a bit of a kn*b to other mums before I had my own baby.
I want to say sorry. I want to say sorry for the time I went to my friend’s for dinner and when her hubby said she was upstairs feeding the baby before bed, I went up “to say hi” and started having a chat. The baby was turning round to look, wouldn’t feed, started getting all excited, I mean, it must have taken all her willpower not to throw her breast feeding pillow at me screaming “what sort of an idiot are you? Get out get out get out damn you or he’ll never go down!”.
I want to say sorry to all the mums who offered me their baby and I held it until it started crying and then gave it back straight away without thinking for one second of trying to quiet it myself so she could at least get a chance to shake out her back and get the feeling back in her hands.
I’m sorry for the time I said to my aunty that I’d take my 3 year old cousin out to Coney Island for the day and then being surprised when he poohed his pants as soon as we got home. I mean “I asked him if he needed the toilet and he said no” (when does a 3 year old ever go to the toilet when he has the option to cr*p his pants instead?). I feel that now might be the time to admit that all he had to eat that day was some cotton candy and a spiral lollypop “I asked him if he would eat the sandwich but he didn’t want it”.
I’m sorry to my best mate whose brand new daughter I was too scared to feed. What I should have done was say, like she said to me “I’ll take her for a couple of hours, you go and have a sleep”. Instead I fed her like a total moron, terrified I was choking her, then gave her back to my friend during winding because I was scared her head would fall off “it’s really wobbly”.
I’m sorry for all the birth stories I listened to and said “ew”. Instead of “you are amazing”.
I’m sorry for every time I walked through a door and didn’t even notice the woman behind me with the pram. That goes for stairs, buses and tubes too.
I’m sorry I asked to move seats on the plane that time because there was a baby behind me that had been screaming its head off for 3 hours. I’m sorry I didn’t either offer to take the baby for a walk so the mum could take some deep breaths or at least get that poor woman a large gin and tonic. I could just have offered a smile that said “don’t worry, no one on here minds, you just try and relax, the baby can probably sense that you’re willing it with every fibre of your being to Just. Go. To. Sleep.” but no. I asked the cabin crew to move me and they did and the worst thing ever is, I went to sleep. I went to sleep. That poor woman was at baggage claim five hours later looking like the living dead. I am so ashamed.
I vow from now on to fully and whole heartedly support the “Mum-sterhood” – I’m there with you now, I can take your baby and have it cry and not throw it back at you like it’s made of anthrax, I will try to make it happy again and let you have a rest. I can smile at you sympathetically when your baby is screaming and selfish little upstarts like the 19 year old me are giving you dirty looks. I was on the receiving end of one the other day and you know what? I just smiled to myself and thought, “you might be trying to celebrate the end of your A Levels in this nice pub with your mates, but you know what? It’s the only pub round here which has space for 4 prams, it’s walking distance from my flat, it’s raining and I have lost my pushchair’s rain cover and further more, little pup, in a few years time, you will be sitting over here with your mum friends trying desperately to make your baby stop crying and I will be sitting over there with my two children playing outside nicely and I will smile at you as if to say, “don’t worry, we’ve all been there”.
OR my kids will be running round screaming, having tantrums, throwing food and playing computer games and you will still be giving me dirty looks, but I will still smile at you. Because one day you will be the mother of a 7 year old and….and…oh we could go on forever.