Welcome to the World of Mothers

“Welcome to the World of Mothers,” said no one, ever.

But yet I was a newcomer in the World of Mothers, and the other Mothers knew it.  With tales of breastfeeding woes and terrible births, of reassuring smiles and messages in the dead of night to tell me I was doing OK, the World of Mothers welcomed me with open arms.

I had not always been so nice to Mothers, before I was in their World.  As a teenager, I remember one of those Mothers, pushchair in hand, looking harassed as I perceived all Mothers did, shouting at my friends and I for using a lift in a shopping centre, instead of taking the escalators, like us non-Mothers were supposed to.

And just this weekend, as I folded my pushchair on the bus to allow a wheelchair to board, and received an earful from some opinionated fellow passenger about why us Mothers should ALWAYS fold our pushchairs and were we too busy in the baby change when the omnibus etiquette memo was being given out, or words to that effect; as she pronounced judgement from her comfortable seat at the front of the bus, right in front of my pushchair, I remembered how I too used to judge Mothers for the size of their pushchairs (although not, heaven forbid, to their faces).

I did not understand, you see, the World of Mothers.  Mothers were smug, remarked a colleague of mine one day.  They thought the world owed them something, for their great achievement at having successfully procreated.  I nodded in agreement, knowing that would never be me.  I would never be the Smug Mother, with her pronouncements on why the world was just too harsh a place for her beloved progeny, the schools too rough, the food too laden with chemicals, other people simply not filled with sufficient admiration for what she had created.

And as time went on, they just seemed more smug, these Mothers, with their husbands and their children and their houses and their fading attentions to fashion, make up, literature, BBC4 documentaries and other things that really mattered.  For they had something that I wanted, something that no amount of vintage dresses and trips to Topshop could ever match.  And I had BBC4, and wine, and a lot of dresses.

I would never take it for granted, I told myself.  I would never complain, as they did, about feral children and snot-covered garments.  Anyway, I would never lose my sense of self, my identity, my fashion sense, and my child would certainly never be feral.  Motherhood was lost on these Mothers, these women for whom motherhood seemed to come as easily as their fairytale weddings did.

But then I too became a Mother, and I realised that it was no more easy for them than it was for me, and I was welcomed into the World of Mothers; in maternity wards where women walked like nightgown-clad zombies pushing glass cots containing the tiniest infants; in NCT groups where we crossed our fingers for easy births whilst looking mournfully at our swollen toes; at baby groups where we dangled tiny mirrors in front of our infants and wondered when they would finally roll over; and at work where Mothers old and young and everything in between told me it would all be OK.

And although I worried too much, although I felt as though I was being judged by everybody, everywhere, and still am, and no longer care; although I wondered if I wasn’t cut out to be one of these Mothers, I finally reached a place where I no longer felt like the new one, the fresh off the boat one, frazzled and bewildered, looking at a tiny creature and wondering what this was, and could I do it, and how would I manage.  Because I am managing.  Just like all those other Mothers were before me.

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51 Comments Add yours

  1. Loved this post! I remember thinking the same, pre kids, when I used to judge the moms who brought their babies on aeroplanes. I would roll my eyes and shake my head until I became a mother myself. We’re all managing even with the judging but now the judging is like water off a duck’s back because it will come full circle for most people.

    1. Min says:

      Yes, I was the same! Now I won’t even get on aeroplanes as I’m too scared, haha!

  2. We are all guilty of it and actually even when we are mothers it is still easy to find yourself judging other mothers for what they do isn’t it? It’s a tough world that of the Mothers. Great post. #MarvMondays

    1. Min says:

      It is. Thank you for commenting!

  3. Emma says:

    Oh I loved this post! Yes, to everything you said. I used to scoff at the Mums who told me that I would never be able to have it all, that I would have to stop pursuing the promotions at work when I had children. How I scoffed. I pointed out that I would always work full-time and that I was determined to keep progressing because I had worked too hard on my career and got into too much debt to walk away from it. Then I had number 2 and everything changed. Whoops. It is so easy to judge and we shouldn’t until we have walked in those shoes, or something to that effect! #MarvMondays

    1. Min says:

      Yes absolutely! It’s so easy to judge when we don’t know the situation. Thanks for commenting!

  4. Once people get there – they get it. Big hugs # marvmondays

  5. Oh and isn’t it the best place to get to? To no longer care about being judged. They say the you reach the best level of freedom once you stop caring what everyone else thinks – I’m not there yet but I’m working on it! Glad you’re reaching the dizzying heights of this also!

    1. Min says:

      I am definitely on my way to that point. It’s come with age I think.

  6. Emma says:

    Just popping back again to say that I am still loving this post! Here’s to not judging others 🙂 #DreamTeam

    1. Min says:

      Cheers to that! Thanks for commenting. x

  7. Samsam says:

    Such a great read, I was also a new mother a few months ago and now I don’t feel so new anymore. Before I was a mother it was so easy to judge mothers but when I think about it now I had no clue. Every mom out there is trying her very best to manage. #dreamteam

    1. Min says:

      Absolutely, and we never know what it’s really like until we’re in that situation ourselves. Thanks for commenting.

  8. Rhian Harris says:

    I love the way you see some people sneering at you and your toddler on the train or tube, because I know I used to do that too. One day they may be in our shoes too! #dreamteam

    1. Min says:

      Haha, they will be and then they will realise the error of their ways!

  9. Sarah says:

    I never thought about it like that, but maybe it is motherhood that has taught me how to truly give no f**ks. Now there’s a blog I need to write!! xx

    1. Min says:

      Definitely. I care a lot less about what people think since having Piglet.

  10. Anna says:

    I love this, it’s so accurate. Just last weekend two very slim, beautiful twenty something’s walked past me as my 5 year old tried to scale a wall Spiderman style and my 2 year old attempted to kick himself in the head so hard he tipped himself and his buggy backwards. I noted the look they gave me and then each other and I totally got it. I wanted to look at me like that and walk off! I refrained from shouting “this could be you one day. Just you wait”.
    Instead I scooped up my children and was thankful my wine hadn’t been broken in the fall!

    1. Min says:

      Ha! It will definitely be them one day, and then they will understand!

  11. It’s great not feeling judged anymore. It’s like a right of passage. Do you think the older generation forget what having kids is like too though? Thanks for linking up to #familyfun ?

    1. Min says:

      I think they do! My mum has definitely forgotten!

  12. Suchitra says:

    This is so true. I don’t think I judged mothers as much as I say ignored them (not on purpose) or just didn’t think about them (don’t know which is worse, actually). Being on the other side now, I do have my moments of fleeting entitlements but I get it. It’s nice though – to be able to have seen both sides. Makes us better people, I think. 🙂 #familyfun

    1. Min says:

      I think so. I spent many years being on the other side, the child-free side, so I don’t ever feel that I want to be back there.

  13. Wow, what a beautiful and eloquent read about moms, new moms. The world is calling for a massive Empathy Intervention. Let’s set the stage. Good on you for no longer caring. Don’t sweat the time. #FabFridayPost

    1. Min says:

      Thank you. I have definitely hardened in my attitudes towards judgey people recently. Officially not caring!

  14. Tammymum says:

    Oh yes I can thoroughly relate to this. Now that I am in the mum club I we things so very differently and think I often have that harassed look on my face that comes with trying to tame a two and year old combo whilst in public… All the while he teens and care free types saunter around drinking their hot coffee and strolling at their leisure, not that I am in any way jealous. Ha. Thanks again for sharing at #familyfun xx

    1. Min says:

      Yep I definitely have the harassed look! Thanks for hosting and commenting!

  15. A quote from my own Nan, babies and under 5’s should not be allowed in restaurants! As she was sat there with my 4 year old! I remember a driver refusing to let me on a bus unless I folded my buggy, I had a sleeping toddler and two older children to contend with. Sarah #FabFridayPost

    1. Min says:

      Haha, babies and toddlers should not be allowed in restaurants unless they are our relatives! Definitely been there with the bus scenario.

  16. ohmummymia says:

    I love your post! I think most of new Mums can relate to it 🙂 And folding buggy in a bus? what a stupidity

  17. claire says:

    Love this post, you’ve nailed it xx #fabfridaypost

  18. Funny how you just don’t ‘get it’ till you are one and then you just have to muddle through in the best way you can. #FabFridayPost

    1. Min says:

      Yep, definitely true! Thanks for commenting.

  19. Yvonne says:

    Oh yes I can understand. I had a double Bugaboo Donkey when I had the twins. I remember being on the bus and getting a mouthful of abuse about why mothers should not get on a bus but walk instead as it just takes up too much room and was such an inconvenience! At the time I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me, I was a hormonal mess and had tears stinging my eyes. I wish I could go back to that woman and tell her how ill I was after having the boys and how even getting out the house made me feel like I wanted to pass out 🙁 x

    1. yvonne says:

      Sorry popping in from #FabFridayPost

    2. Min says:

      Oh my goodness that is awful! They may as well have said you should stay in the house and never leave. How dare you be out in public with small children! Some people really are ridiculous.

  20. This is brilliant – I was the same as you describe, I swore to myself that I would never have a child that screamed during an entire shopping trip. I would just get up and leave if my baby kicked off when I was trying to have a cup of coffee out and about. And then motherhood happened and it wasn’t as easy as I had mapped out in my mind. Thank you for linking up to #dreamteam

    1. Min says:

      Ah yes, the getting up and leaving! I was sure I would have that down pat. And then I realised that maybe if I had just purchased a coffee I might actually want to drink it! Thanks for hosting and commenting.

  21. Crummy Mummy says:

    Love this post – all so true! #marvmondays

  22. Kat says:

    I never really got a chance to feel this to be honest as I had my daughter at aged 21 but I certainly felt judged for having a child too young. Now, six years on, I think I’ve done alright. And I no longer really care about other people’s opinions! #fabfridaypost

    1. Min says:

      High five to that! I can imagine age is one of the things people get very judgey about. Too young, too old, etc, etc. So tedious.

  23. Kaye says:

    Yep, we’ve all been that pre-kid person. None os us realise what a huge change it will be when we finally do become Mothers. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

    1. Min says:

      Thanks for hosting and commenting!

  24. Tooting Mama says:

    Yup I was one of those people who had no idea what motherhood entailed and tutted when the buggy came on the bus, the kid that would not shut up, the tantrum that wouldn’t stop. But I’m there now, and a whole lot more appreciative of mothers – it isn’t just coffee morning!

    1. Min says:

      Yep, I was exactly the same! I was basking in the glow today though-we went to an antiques fair, which you can imagine could easily be a disaster waiting to happen with a toddler, but I ended up being complimented on his exemplary behaviour! I was loving it. Karma dictates that I am due a very public tantrum now as it surely cannot last!

  25. This is such an amazing post Min! My younger sister and younger brother are now became new mum and new dad and I no longer feel like such as a new mum, but still I think I am doing ok even though there are times you wonder and questions at your own self doubt. Great post. xx #FabFridayPost

    1. Min says:

      Thank you. I don’t feel like such a new mum anymore, even though I’ve only been in the game for 2 years. My mother is constantly questioning everything I do so I have a constant voice of criticism accompanying me everywhere though!

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