This is an apology.
It’s dedicated to all the Mums that I judged before I got this esteemed title myself.
To the ladies that left the office at 5 on the dot, whilst I grudgingly worked till 7pm. To the mamas that handed over iPads in restaurants whilst I reflected on the importance of social eating. To the mummy who ignored her child having a tantrum in the aisle of Waitrose whilst I stretched over him kicking away on the floor next to my museli. And to the women who came to the gym with mismatched clothes and a messy bun whilst I secretly felt smug to see my groomed reflection in the mirror.
Sorry for making such snap judgements about who you were and how you parent; all I saw was your physical appearance and actions, but I forgot to look deeper at the love you give.
Of course, what I didn’t know when I didn’t have children was when you signed off from work, your real job began. I didn’t know that you would be desperately battling commuters to run back to the nursery to ensure you didn’t get a Late Fine. That as you looked at your precious baby’s face on pick up, you had to suppress the guilt of leaving them, only to make a better life for your family. Nor did I appreciate that the moment you got back, a myriad of playtime, bathtime, bedtime, stories, dream feeds and sleepless nights lay ahead aside from the mountains of laundry and cooking gourmet nutritionally-balanced meals. And that at 11.30pm you were hunched over your laptop, eyes barely open, just to prove that you weren’t coasting along in your job.
All I saw when I went to restaurants was parents who wanted to enjoy their meals more than they wanted to engage with their children. I thought it was poor parenting practises to just hand over iPads. I’m sorry that I didn’t see that you had taken the time to research the best app to help their fine motor skills and that this was limited to just 20 minutes per day. I should have known that by you handing over the screen, it wasn’t to make your life easier, it was to ensure that on no account would your child disturb my meal in any way. Instead of thinking of yourself, you were ever concerned about the comfort of everyone else.
Trips to Waitrose had to be done on your ‘day off’ when according to Instagram you should have been frolicking in fields and teaching your child about nature. Instead it was a slow death as you piled baby in the car, piled items into the trolley and then had to deal with eruptions of tantrums. But this wasn’t you losing control. By letting your child scream in the aisle, it was your way of exercising control and ensuring that they were not brought up on a diet of Peppa Pig jelly and chocolate – things that are strategically (and so annoyingly!) placed in reach of your precious toddler. I should have seen a Mum that was trying to do her best, but instead I thought the worst.
I didn’t see a lady who barely scraped together any time for herself when you were running on the treadmill. Because you were so focused on ensuring that your child’s uniform was washed on time that the matching gym clothes were forgotten. I didn’t realise that you were trying to get comfortable in your new skin after the most life-changing event that had stretched your skin to accommodate the most precious gift. And that whilst your bun was messy, the love, time, care and affection that you gave your child was simply perfect.
You see, being a Mum is the most amazing thing in the world, but by gosh it is hard!
In 2019 I launched NeeNoo as I really wanted to help parents save time and money by showcasing the prices of all the retailers in one neat platform. Growing a business and a little boy simultaneously takes a huge deal of juggling and support from an incredible hubby and extended family. There's so much constantly going on that there is simply no space for judgement from others.
Whether you are a mummy who works around the home, from home or even at an office, every mama is trying to do their best for her children. There’s no boss to give us an annual review and tell us we are doing a great job – and most of the time we feel like we are doing anything but! But it's time we stop judging and start sending each other a little bit of love – a text, a hug or tag in a post – it’s just a simple thumbs up to warm her heart and keep her going.