I remember the first time I was at the bus stop waiting to pick up my 7-year-old son from school. It was so intimidating. All of the other mothers were clearly in their late 30s – early 40s. They all looked so mom-ish with their short haircuts and mini-vans talking about the PTA. Everyone seemed to know each other and I felt like a complete outsider. And while I tried not to let it bother me – it was glaringly obvious that I stuck out like a sore thumb. Here I was, a whopping 29 years old – with my long blonde highlights, sunglasses, yoga pants and hoodie. In fact, it was probably the same hoodie that I’ve had since high school, because yes – those clothes still fit me.
I could hear their judgments twirling around in my head – “She’s so young…”
And if there’s one thing you should know about me – I’m an over analyzer to a fault. I over-analyze and dissect every situation to a nauseating degree.
What did that look mean?
I hope I came across the right way.
What did they mean when they said blank?
And when she said “Oh” – was that like an Ohhhh (in pleasant surprise) or an OH (like in disgust)?
This whole viscous cycle of crazy that goes on in my head when all we’ve said so far is – “Hey, How are you?”…
I sound so self-conscious. Why the hell do I even care what they think? But the truth is… when you’re a parent… you kind of have to care a little bit. If I want my kid to be social, that means I have to be social – which makes me sweat. You’re literally forced to branch out of your comfort zone all of the time. As your child starts to spend more time with their peers, this means YOU have to get to know their parents as well. Because heaven forbid your child asks to GO TO THEIR HOUSE – you have to know these strangers!
(Yes moms, there comes a day when you are NO LONGER INVITED on those play dates.)
That being said, growing up means having to put yourself out there (even at 30). Which also means judgment. As hard as you’re scoping them out to make sure they aren’t child-molesting ax-murderers… they’re watching you just as closely. Will be child be safe with them? How does she correct her kids? Does she even correct her kids? Are they raising their kids to be good people that will be nice to my kid?
I know I’m a good person, but you gotta sell them on it. In those early days of mommy-courtship, this means having to fake it a little. It means always having to be on… say the right things… be friendly… and parent your kids with care. (Because moms are ALWAYS super loving and patient, right!?) If there’s ever a time that you need to act like you have your shit together – it’s now.
It’s one thing for me to question my abilities 900 times a day – Are you doing this right? But the second another mom starts questioning my abilities? That can really mess with your head.
And I know what you’re saying – I never judge. And that would be great – if it was true. But even I have a habit of jumping to conclusions. Sometimes sitting on both sides of the fence – as the spectator and the spectacle – gives you a new found perception and appreciation for young moms.
So the next time your in the presence of a young momma with zero grays and a two-piece bikini – keep these tips in mind:
- Reject the urge to embark upon the Spanish Inquisition. If I’m not asking – then rest assured that I don’t want to hear your tips or advice on how to be a super mom. I’ve got this. I’ve been momming-it-up for nearly as long as you now – if not the same amount of time. And while I’m no expert, keep in mind – that this isn’t my first trip to the rodeo. I’m sure there’s plenty we could learn from each other if you just give it time.
- I know my age. I agree that it’s pretty cool I’m so young. Quite frankly this means that dementia has not yet had time to settle in – so please stop reminding me (it’s showing YOUR age). In this short little life of mine – I would consider myself very ambitious and accomplished – both in my career and family. Honestly, despite the number, I’m just as exhausted and overwhelmed and technologically oblivious as you. So let’s put down our brushes and put away the paint for that scarlet letter.
- I set the bar high over here. I don’t want to raise jerky kids either. The fact that I’m “so young” means I probably put more pressure on myself to raise well-mannered kids then the next person. I want all of the same things for them as you – Success. Health. Happiness.
So pack away your pitch forks and blow out your torches. Let me promise you something. When your kid is with me – they will always be safe. They will always be fed. And most importantly – they will always be having some fun.