Today I got the look. Gasp. Oh no, she didn’t!
There’s a high chance, if you’re reading this, you know the one I’m talking about. Are you a young mum, reading fragments of this as you fluster about with four other tasks and banana shmooshed in your hair? Do you sometimes leave the house in the shirt you slept in the night before? Did you not even get to sleep? If you answered yes to any of the above, then chances are you’re all too familiar with the look I’m talking about.
You’ll also know that ‘the look’ takes many forms. It’s the older mother in the park scrutinizing your decision to ride the seesaw. It’s the man behind the counter at the greengrocer, rolling his eyes as you search for change, one hand latched onto a little finger that’s determined to run for freedom. Or it’s the older lady in the waiting room shaking her head when your toddler accidently tips their drink; she pays no attention to the married women whose daughter has thrown herself on the floor. The look comes from many faces, and they all suck.
The look-er – let’s call them, doesn’t see the good. In fact they see very little. They see what they’ve already decided to see, and it’s shaped by years of narrow mindedness. They see your kid fall off the swing, but they don’t see you standing right behind her, ready to pick her up and wipe away the dirt. They see that you forgot to put his socks on, but not that you kissed every one of his little toes after his bath.
This isn’t my first time at the rodeo – I’ve gotten the look before, many times in fact, and eventually it gets wearing. I’ve noticed myself changing my mannerisms in public, or putting extra time into mine and my kids appearance in order to give off the “I vacuum under my couch and there’s a spare change of clothes in my nappy bag and a rain coat at all times” look. I sometimes feel as though when my kid swears at school it’s automatically conceived that it’s because I’m young and have tattoos, therefore I must swear in front of my kids.
What it took me a long time to realise is that there is actually a lot to learn from the look-er. First and fore mostly; I’ve learnt to never be that person. To never judge someone on a preconceived idea (i.e. young parent equals irresponsible parent) or purely on the basis of what someone else has said. And secondly; I’ve learnt that you could pull organic home-knitted, outfit matching baby mittens out of your butt; but you’ll never please everyone. It’s a bit cliché, but as long as I know that I did everything I could to make our day run smoothly; that little tantrum in the car park or the mismatched socks at the doctors isn’t going to faze me.
Sometimes, after a particularly stanky look I think; “would that person be judging me this way if I’d taken a different path and decided not to have my children young?” No, they probably wouldn’t even notice me; this is when I realise that I’m truly blessed to have put the wind up an old lady’s skirt for the day. Yes I may be out in public with my hair un brushed, and I can promise you nothing will be ironed, but I have three butt kicking children that will never consider looking at someone side-ways for being a little different. And on the plus, I can still chase after them rolling downhill, without my pelvic floor falling out (at least for a few more years-knock wood).
One of my favourite quotes at the moment is from Benjamin Law; and I think it applies perfectly to the look-er; “A sage and omnipotent being, known as ‘the internet’, once said something incredibly wise under a picture of a cat dressed like a gangster driving a pimp mobile. Haters gonna hate. And the truth is, there’s nothing you can do about it.”