So, here I am, waiting in front of a trendy restaurant, trying to get in for brunch. A kind woman leans over and asks about my daughter in her stroller-age, name, all the basics. She starts telling me about her six year-old son, Liam, and he comes over and gives a smile to my daughter. She tells me a few anecdotes about Liam, and how things will get better as they get older, such as sleeping through the night and whatnot.
I’m standing there, thinking hmm, this is the fifth time this week I’ve had a random chat with another mom. It’s finally our turn to be seated, so we take our big Britax stroller through the tiny, trendy restaurant, and find ourselves cozy, in the back corner. I look around and notice, huh, every family around us either has a child or baby. At one table a toddler was throwing a tantrum, at another, a mother was nursing. My daughter started fussing so I stood up with her and began to dance around to soothe her, and it finally hit me- I’m playing for the other team.
It seems there is this secret, unspoken language of mothers out in public. When we see a child throwing a tantrum at a store, we give an understanding smile as we walk past, or even pick up the thrown items as another mother juggles her baby in one arm, and her shopping basket in the other.
We squeeze and rotate around like a human game of Tetris, trying to make as many strollers fit into one elevator ride, and we give a smile and a nod as we’re walking past each other with our strollers.
As a new mom, this language is new to me. I’m not used to being stopped by strangers, asking about the baby in my covered stroller. I’m not used to comment after comment about how adorable my baby is, and doling out her stats like she’s a famous athlete. I’m also not used to the kindness of strangers that comes with having a baby, found through opened doors and hand gestures for me to go first.
I used to live a la Beyoncé-all the single ladies.
That meant everyone was on their own. No one held the door for me, no one gave up their spot in the Target line for me, families didn’t make small talk with me, and people sure didn’t gesture for me to go before them.
No, I was on my own, or at least I used to be. I don’t know if I used to have a perpetually hostile face, or if the baby in my arms is a ubiquitous sign for being friendly, but entering motherhood reinforces my belief in the good of people, the kindness in strangers and the connection we all feel through our love for our children, and our roles as moms. I don’t necessarily belong to a mom tribe, but when I am out and about, and even on online groups, I have found a warm bond.
We find solace in knowing that we are all understanding of each other, because sometimes I’m that mom with the nice hair and pretty sundress, holding a sleeping baby, and sometimes I’m that mom with the bun and sweats, trying to contain that diaper blowout.
I love being a mom, don’t you?