The other day my friend was nursing her 4 month old at the pool. It was a walk in pool for the kids so she was enjoying sitting with a few inches of her chair in the water. She was in the shade and the few inches of water was keeping her feet cool. We talked and sat in the pool for her moment of freedom while her baby was quiet. All of a sudden, a 16 year old male life guard told her to move, that her chair couldn't be in the water. She was a bit startled so she faltered a moment. The life guard asked her to move again and she took a second to get her happy baby off her boob and cover herself so the young man couldn't see. He kept at it until she moved. At that point I'd about had it, but she moved and the life guard went on. Dear world, I'm sorry-my friend has a baby and there are just times when you can't yell at her! Including when her chair is in the pool illegally. When mothers are with kids, there are times when we just need to be left alone!
Of course the young lifeguard probably didn't realize my friend was nursing, however it is just another example of a mom getting yelled at for doing things we need to do. There are many examples I can think of where I have been yelled at doing things I need to do to take care of my wee ones. One time I went to a toddler time at a museum in another city. I brought my back pack with her snacks, diaper, and water. I tried to walk through the door into the beginning of the exhibits and they said, "Mam, you can't bring that bag." Now, I know there are expensive paintings and sculptures, but this was a toddler event. What if I got to the back and she had a blow out diaper? What if she cried during the art project and I didn't have any snacks to give her? I mean, I was a first time mom, but really? We need those things! Please don't scold me! Do you think I as a person, on my own, when I was a person of my own identity, would take something as crazy as food and drink into a museum? No way! It's my child that is making me do this, requiring me to care for her. She might need something at your museum toddler event and I need my bag!
And being late. Please don't yell at me, look down on me, or look at your watch when I come in to a meeting late. I have kids! Do you know that my child wouldn't eat breakfast in less time than 30 minutes, wanted to be nude today, wouldn't put on his shoes. Did you know that even if you walk out on time, it takes a solid 5 minutes to get toddlers in the car because they, "want to do it MYself," that getting the car seat straps in the perfect, legal position takes time and care? And once they are strapped in, you have to run in and search the entire house for your keys only to find them in the storage area on the back of your child's tricycle. It is extremely hard to be on time to events and believe me, I'm trying as hard as I can, but please don't yell at me.
There's the issue of kids being naked at the pool while you run after them to get them dressed ("Mam, no nudity at the pool"), the taking a short cut through the grass while running with a kid that needs to use the restroom ("can you read the sign-don't walk in the grass"), the, "your child just stole that bake sale item," (no, she loves sugar and can't read the sale sign and my other child is throwing a tantrum over here!), and more. People, I just need a minute. Cut me some slack. As a human being I would never go nude at the pool! But right now I have kids. I just can't take them into a cold, Florida air conditioned pool bathroom, change one while the other puts their hands in the toilet while they walk around barefoot in the wet toilet water floor. Yup, they'll be nude behind the towel at the pool chairs for just a couple of more years-sorry!
Now, don't get me wrong! We do need to be safe! If my child is running at the pool or we're about to walk into a man hole in that grass, please, yell away! I don't want to endanger my family, or not teach them right and wrong like in the article that came out this week. No problem, we need all the help we can get!
I'm grateful for safe moments. When I look into someone's caring, understanding eyes and ask, "Do you have kids?" hoping for all the world that that person at that moment understands my situation. I'm grateful for that security officer at the University of Florida basketball game that checked my bag, but granted me approval to take snacks in for my toddler and my pregnant self. For our church, that just chuckles sweetly as my child talks during the service, runs to the altar every five minutes, and creates a traffic jam while he takes time to dip his wafer. They even have child care so you can sit in peace in the service, free vacation bible school, welcome you with open arms...even though you have kids!
Dear World, I used to follow the rules. I used to be a normal human. At least, as far as I can remember. It's a little fuzzy now that I have kids. Really, you don't have to yell. I know the rules, I aim to follow them as much as possible. But some moments, I just need space. I need to bend the rules. And some of us just need a peaceful moment to nurse their sleeping baby. Sit with friends in peace while nursing. You'll understand one day. It's hard to be a mom and having the world understand in those crazy moments while we need to bend the rules, while still being safe, of course, will make our day, and probably our week.