Thursday, 27 August 2015

Stop staring at me!

A couple of weeks ago, Mum came down to see us. We went out a did some shopping and then went to Costa for a hot chocolate and some carrot cake (Caleb comes to expect this now whenever Mum comes to visit, he is a little obsessed with babycinos, ha ha!). We had just got our food and drinks and sat down when Levi started crying. He isn't usually particularly vocal but he was literally screaming. It wasn't for that long and it was because he was hungry so as quickly as possible, I got his food out of my bag and started to feed him.

Just across from us, a mother and daughter were sitting, having their lunch. The daughter must have been in her late teens and I don't know how old the mother was but they glared at me when Levi cried. He's a baby; he cries. I am used to people looking over now and then because I think it's only natural to look in the direction when you hear that sound but usually it's a sympathetic look or a smile that says, "I know, I've been there" or "oh, bless that little baby!". This was neither of those looks. They looked at me as if I had just stuck Levi in the eye with my fork or something. Utter disgust that my baby was crying and interrupting their lunch and the sort of look that just made you feel like a bad mother because their baby is crying.

So to any of those people who have ever given anyone that look - it isn't helpful. We know our baby is crying, we don't need your glare to make us aware of that fact. As mothers, we are doing our very best to help our babies and to provide whatever they need at any given time. Being a Mum isn't always easy and sometimes it seems to take ages just to be able to get out of the door. Sometimes as Mums, we have had little sleep due to being woken up numerous times in the night (I am lucky in that I am not one of those Mums - Seth is a lighter sleeper than I am so he is the one who usually wakes up and goes to see to them!), we can be tired and at our wits end from a child who just doesn't seem to want to do anything we want them to do that day and being in the house with them all day can seem like a bit too much so we decide to head out. When you look at us like that or make comments, you don't know what effect it can have on us, or how harmful it can be to our fragile states. On this occasion it was fine - even though I was annoyed at their reaction, it didn't overly effect me, I just brushed it off (although perhaps I didn't completely brush it off or I may not be blogging about it now, ha!). It could have been another story though.

When I had Caleb, he was quite a poorly baby. He suffered badly with colic and reflux and pretty much cried for the first 2 months of his life. I was suffering from postnatal depression so neither of us were in the best states! I remember one day (I still refer to it as "Black Thursday") when he wouldn't feed at all. I was in a complete mess and felt like an awful mother because the doctors were concerned about Caleb's weight and even though he didn't want to feed, I felt like I was starving him. He was crying, I was crying, it wasn't pretty. I just had to get out of the house so as quickly as possible, I got us both ready and we went out to a shopping mall for a couple of hours. I didn't even have any make up on, which is a pretty big deal for me as I never leave the house with absolutely no make up on! Luckily for me, no one glared at me or stared at me because I had a crying baby. Some people gave me that sympathetic smile and one lovely lady stopped to talk to me and said, "it will get better". But on that day, had someone given me "the look" or made some comment, I was so fragile at the time that I think I would have just broken down.

So again, for anyone who has given that look - it might not seem like much to glare at someone to you but for the person on the receiving end of that, it can be a huge deal. It can make us feel like we're bad mothers who don't know how to take care of our babies. It can make us feel like maybe we weren't cut out for motherhood in the first place and we will never get to grips with this thing that millions of women in the world seem to find so easy. Please don't judge us. Babies cry; it's just what they do. If you want silence, go to a library. On the other hand, if you hear our baby screaming, you could be that person who gives the sympathetic smile or you could offer to help. When I have encountered those lovely people who have smiled or who have offered helping hands (I had a lovely experience of that too - read about that here) it has really boosted me and I will never forget those acts of kindness. Just remember that as mothers, we may not be perfect and we may not be doing things how you would have done it, etc. but we are doing our best and that's what matters.

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  1. I completely agree with this! It's always strange when another mother has a negative reaction like that to a baby crying! Don't they remember what it was like? Sadly other mothers can be the most judgmental. You're totally right about how things can really affect you when you're in a fragile state. There are some days when I feel like I can handle anything and other days when I feel like I'm a complete failure and if a single thing goes wrong I break down. If only everyone could be a little more compassionate. And not just to mothers. Because everyone has horrible days. We don't always know what people are dealing with. Maybe that mother that glared was having a rough time herself... or maybe she's just a jerk. Lets hope it was the former :)

    Sierra Elizabeth

  2. So sorry this happened to you. It's hard to remember life before being a mother but I sure hope I was never one of those bratty teenagers to give a dirty look to a poor mama. If anything giving a dirty look or making a bad comment just makes you feel even worst. I feel like people who don't have kids expect mothers to just stay at home all day and never get out and enjoy the world. So frustrating and annoying. I think if I would have been with you guys I would have said something mean lol I seriously go into mama bear mode when out in public (;

    Dearest Lou