To all the mamas I’ve ever met, and will continue to meet along the way…
I met a new mama friend at lunch yesterday; she tagged along with a mutual mama friend and brought her adorable 10-month old son with her.
“I’m sorry, he isn’t usually this fussy,” she exclaimed in a panic, before I even got to learn her name.
How strange, I thought to myself. He hadn’t even been visible from his stroller at that point, but then I realized, I’ve done this a hundred times before. I’ve apologized in restaurants when icy stares would greet my baby stroller and I, before my precious girl had even made a sound. I’ve apologized in Starbucks, when a sock would (as usual) fall off my daughters chubby little foot and land at the feet of another patron who probably didn’t even notice the loss (or the adorable foot). I once actually uttered an apology to a mannequin; A MANNEQUIN – in my earliest days of shopping with baby and clumsily navigating my stroller through Nordstrom.
In the wake of that horrific diner incident in Maine, I can’t help but wonder when children became the “I suck at life, let me apologize for it” card? Why are people with young children made to feel as if they don’t belong in public? As if their child’s cry is so shockingly inappropriate?
I get it – no one wants their meal, shopping experience, conversation, plane ride, bus ride, train ride, or mere existence spoiled by a screaming child. Hell, when my own child cries I feel a sense of unease, but I think we’ve all forgotten the bigger picture here. We were ALL teething, soiled, hungry babies at one point or another. It is perfectly okay for a child, your child, ANY child, to get fussy, lose a sock, drop a toy, fling a cheerio or throw themselves on the floor.
How can I put this in simpler terms? OK – let’s look at the following example. I have a big mouth. I tend to say things that make my mom blush, that sometimes make my husband wonder why he married a half-italian New Yorker, things that often times spark quite a bit of controversy behind closed doors. Imagine if every time I sat down for lunch with my Mom, she apologized to the people around her for her 31 year old daughters presence. Imagine if every colleague my husband introduced me to was forewarned. It would seem a little degrading right? Like, what mom or husband would treat another human they loved like a burden that needed to be justified or apologized for. This would be a huge self-esteem killer, don’t ya think?
We ALL want our children to grow up with confidence, self-assurance and integrity. So please, parents, I urge you – stop apologizing. Stop apologizing for your children and their behavior that hasn’t even offended anyone yet. Stop apologizing for the fact that you are exhausted because you’ve been attending to an infant all day. Stop apologizing for the fact that your baby is getting his first tooth and is troubled by the pain. And for the love of God, STOP APOLOGIZING FOR BREASTFEEDING. Or not breastfeeding. You are allowed to feed your child (however you want)!!!! Stop making them feel like an annoyance before they even have the ability to learn to feel good about themselves. Just stop.
You will feel so much better about motherhood once you realize you don’t owe ANYONE an apology.
The Trusted Mama