I remember the very first time I took Ethan to the grocery store by myself. I was terrified. It wasn't so much that I was afraid that he would cry in public (and believe me, I was afraid of that), but I was even more afraid that I would look inexperienced. That people would know I secretly had no clue what I was doing. All the other mommies were going to stare at me. They were going to judge me. They would know that I was a newbie.
I wanted to waltz into that grocery store looking like I had gotten 8 hours of solid sleep while gracefully balancing the baby carrier on my arm. I would zip through the store like a pro only momentarily stopping to accept the "ohh's" and "ahh's" of passerby's. My baby would be giggling and happy as we chatted to each other throughout the store.
I'll pause here for your laughter.
After I had lugged what felt like a 50 pound carrier into the store with my yet untrained upper arm muscles I came face to face with my second challenge...the cart. I suddenly realized I had somehow forgotten to take note of how a baby carrier actually fit into the cart during my 9 month observation period. With all my might I hoisted the carrier towards the front part of the cart. At first, the carrier looked too precarious. I adjusted, too far forward? I tried again...too far back? I could feel the eyes of store employees boring into me. I broke into a sweat...from nerves?...from lifting that beast of a carrier multiple times?...I'm not sure.
Defeated, I placed the carrier into the basket of the cart. It rocked back and forth with every step I took as my baby seemed to scream out "SAVE ME! She doesn't know what she's doing!" to everyone we passed.
It wasn't until Jackson's arrival that I began to feel more confident in my role as a mother. Maybe it's because having two gives you less time to worry about silly things like people looking at you. Maybe it's because my first son has given me enough embarrassing experiences already to numb my care factor. Or maybe, it's because I now realize that every mother has these moments.
So yesterday, when my second born decided to pee all over the church bathroom mid diaper change while I was chatting to a church friend, I was able to confidently laugh it off. I didn't berate myself for being dumb enough to give him the opportunity or not pack a spare outfit (okay...maybe I shook my head at myself a tad bit for not having a spare). Instead, I realized that being a mom means you are going to have these moments. Children are wild, untrained and unpredictable creatures. Our job is to teach them the ways of the world. They are going to do things that aren't socially acceptable. It's unavoidable. And, the only people judging are those who haven't had children yet or those too old and senile to remember what having them was actually like. So, go forth with confidence my friends because every other mom and dad out there has been in your shoes at one point and is surely laughing with you...not at you.
All images are property of Laura Sager unless otherwise noted.