Saturday, 30 May 2015

To the woman who gave me a dirty look when my baby screamed...

You made me feel like shit as you passed me by and threw me and the screaming pram a filthy look.

What you don’t realise is this; the woman you give those dirty looks to, as you swanned around in your heels and sunglasses, marching in front of the pram to get into the posh shop, has probably been up since the crack of dawn.  That’s assuming her baby has slept through of course.  Chances are she’s been up all night, trying to sooth her teething baby.  The baby one who’s scratched his face from pulling at painful ears, the one who’s starving because it hurts to eat, the one who doesn’t quite know what to do with himself because his tired little body and mind can get the sleep it needs to grow, all thanks to those little pieces of enamel pushing against red raw gums as they break the tender surface.

Or perhaps the baby hasn’t quite cracked sleeping through yet, needing a little milk in the night because he lost a lot of weight when he was tiny thanks to silent reflux that went undiagnosed; or worse, perhaps he’s in need of mummy cuddles every two hours in the night because his parents are trying to do the right thing and wean off the dummy before six months (because that’s what the health visitor said).

Or maybe the baby has simply been over stimulated through being in Manchester and is just so damned tired he can get himself off to sleep.  You don’t know.  You don’t care

But I’ll tell you what’s not the matter.  He isn’t screaming to inconvenience you, to make the 10 seconds you are in ear shot the worst of your day (and if they are the worst of your day, then you’re a very lucky woman), or to be in your way as you saunter into the posh shop that his mother, on maternity leave and unable to afford to shop there, can’t go into, particularly with said screaming baby.

And I’ll tell you another thing.  The woman pushing the pram?  You made her feel like shit thanks to ‘that look’.  She had a very early morning and not enough sleep but, despite this, tried her best to look presentable today and give her kids a day out.  You made her stew over that look all day, so much so, she decided to write about it when the babies were in bed.



But you know what? I’m done. I’m done stewing over that look and here’s why: I pity you.

I pity that you don’t have the empathy for another woman who’s clearly having a bad few minutes, if not hour, day or month. I pity that you are so insular that you think the only person the screaming baby is affecting is you and your shopping day.  But most of all, I pity that you clearly have never had the absolute pleasure of a baby, the price of which can be screaming and very little sleep.  Because if you had, you’d have been there and would have given me an ‘I’ve been there, it gets easier look’ instead.  You’d know that the crying is worth it, that the smile you get when he wakes up makes the crying to get him to sleep in the first place fall from memory.  But you don’t know this.  And I pity you.

So thank you.  Thank you for making me realise, even though you thought you were holier than thou, through that one look I have so much to be thankful for.  My baby boys. Their screaming and all.

Bitch (I feel better now!).

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