I am that lady that say’s sorry as she very carefully tries to navigate around you as you are peacefully browsing the new fiction isle.
I am jealous because I too want to browse through the new books but I know I have seconds before my little person will start getting agitated.
I am the lady that say’s sorry for almost knocking you with my buggy. I didn’t but I cover myself with a nervous apology as I wait for that glare that indicates I am in the way.
I am the lady that sits in a crowded coffee shop with her toddler to escape the heavy rain outside, and to enjoy a coffee whilst feeling slightly close to the rest of society. I talk to my son about the world we laugh about cats and discuss what plans we have for the rest of the day. Wonderful it may sound but I spend most of my time anxious my buggy is in the way, I might be talking too loud or god forbid my son might be doing something that doesn’t quite suit the ambiance. Looking around preparing myself for the stares of angry customers who make it so obvious they wish I wasn’t there.
Unwanted and annoyed I usually down my nice coffee and venture back out.
I am the lady who takes her son grocery shopping, we make lists and Francis takes his own basket. Leaving the house to do something that feels productive is strangely satisfying.
Francis picks out his favorite items and places them in his yellow plastic basket, I admire his cuteness whilst trying to quickly pick out the sweet potatoes before we get in someones way again but I still manage to smile at Francis as he clutches that basket looking so proud.
I can’t be bothered to find the pesto there are too many people in the way and if I even politely say ‘excuse me’ I will be bombarded with huffs and puffs – I bloody despise huffing it is an unnecessary use of breath just tell me I am annoying you for wanting the same thing as you but my buggy makes me even more annoying and my child makes me super annoying. Just tell me don’t huff at me!!!
So I leave the shop with half the things on my list, lucky for Francis the confectionery isle was pretty empty thanks to the healthy eating trend and no fun it means that more people linger around quinoa and flaxseed. So we have buttons and enough things to prepare a nice meal for the evening a successful trip.
I am the lady who smiles at you because I am trying to show you that I am a nice person. I smile at you because you might be the only adult I smiled at today. I might look creepy because I am used to smiling at toddlers so its all teeth and gums but I am trying.
I smile at you to make you see me, but you walk past with a hardness that I add to the weight on my shoulders. The weight that is so heavy and full of negativity that I just want to find somewhere quiet away from you all.
I am the lady that walks into a restaurant wearing my favorite baggy jumper for the occasion. I didn’t even bring a buggy this time because I know you hate them.
It is lunch time so it is just Francis and I it seems rather decedent going out for lunch with my two year old but I haven’t been out in weeks and I crave a different atmosphere. I am prepared with a bag full of toys and activities to ensure my little one wont bother you.
We share our lunch and talk about cats (a usual topic of conversation with myself and scamp) I look into those sparkly eyes and remember to feel proud rather than ashamed. We may not always be welcome in places like this but I am proud that I can sit and converse with my 2 year old for an hour rather than place a screen in front of his face whilst I scoff. I am happy that I can have this time with him before the big wide world swallows him up.
Just like you I wanted to go out today I wanted a change something different to inspire me even if that was in the form of a goats cheese and onion wrap. It beats eating left over pom bears on a plastic plate.
I am the lady that walks home away from the hustle and bustle of people, my home is warm and scattered with the toys from this mornings game of talking cars’ A lingering smell of cinnamon wafts through the place, I sit down for a moment before we begin arts and crafts… I am welcome here and that is pretty much the only place I feel welcome.
Coffee shops – we are disliked before we even take a seat.
Grocery shops – we are disliked for being in your way
Streets and pathways – we are frowned at for taking up too much space
Restaurants – we are hated because you think we might disrupt your meal
I don’t even feel welcome at baby/toddler groups because they are so clicky so basically I think I should stay at home for the rest of my existence.
I am sorry for being the lady that ruins your days and makes you huff like an angry camel but I am afraid I made the decision the stay at home with my child and take care of him whilst my partner works hard for us. I did this with an open heart, I did this to help better my family but I never expected to feel so lonely and pushed out of society.
I never thought I would feel so far away from a community that I feel guilty for even leaving my house in case I offend anyone with my big toy bag even bigger buggy and of course not forgetting my big baby.
Janet Street-Porter I am sorry I make you feel so negative… but if you want to feel like an outcast for the day and really live it then perhaps you can sit inside all day with my toddler whilst I dine alone in peace.