I’m that mother that you see at the park. The one who has one eye on their child and another on their phone. Funnily enough, I don’t feel that I’m being watched by other mothers and I don’t feel like I’m being judged. I’ve never had anyone give me a look that says “you’re a crap mum” but that might also be because I’m too busy judging myself to notice. Or it could also be because I don’t actually think mothers are as judgmental as the media makes us out to be. I could not give a toss about what other parents are doing at the park, I sure as hell don’t notice, nor care, if they are on the phone. I’m usually too busy wondering where they got their cool jeans from or where they get their hair done because I wish my blonde looked like that.
Back to me being on the phone.
I work in the office four days per week and on day five I’m at home with Charlie. MM and I run a business that is quite reactive and driven by client needs. I’m not on the phone at the park because I’m spellbound by all the shiny-pretty- things-captured-with-a-vintage-filter on Instagram but I’m checking emails from clients who have needs that I need to almost always be on top of. This isn’t poor planning from a business point of view, it’s the reality of being a small business owner and a mother. My heart might be raising this little human being but the business is paying for it. Have you been to Pottery Barn lately?
But I’m not an idiot. I choose my moments as well as I can. I’ll wait until Charlie is sitting on the ground collecting
tree nuts dinosaur eggs before I quickly smash out an email. I’m not filling temp bookings whilst he is running wild across the park terrorising the poor Ibis or eating some other kid’s banana that he found on the ground. I feel perpetually guilty about a lot of things I do, motherhood and guilt are a bit like cookies and cream, they go together beautifully but they aren’t a healthy habit. I have a complicated relationship with guilt, I’m actually very good at it. An expert really. I do wonder where it all came from. That inner voice that is judging my own decisions and feeling crap regardless of the choice I make. How do you unsubscribe from that way of thinking?
Stuffed if I know.
There’s a lot of bullshit about judgey mothers and who is winning at motherhood. I’m not even in the race because I’m too busy running my own crazy marathon but I do question if judgement really does exist as much as we say it does? Ironically I was far more judgemental about parenting before I became a mother and that’s because I was a complete moron. I became a mother and I’m still working my way through the humble pie in the fridge.
I wonder how many other mothers at the park even notice that I’m on the phone, let alone care that I am? I wish I was one of those types who didn’t care about what people think of me. I didn’t turn
30, no wait, 40 and then suddenly stopped worrying about other’s opinions. Actually I think it got worse. Someone not liking me or thinking I’m an awful person is my personal version of shame. Stupidity stupid I know. So even though I care what people think luckily I care more about what Charlie thinks so the minute, the second, the moment he gets wind of me not paying attention to his dinosaur eggs then my phone is in my back pocket way before he makes it to the bottom of the slide and certainly before he falls three feet off the wobbly bridge.
Safety first and all that.
The last time I was at the park there was a mum who was on her phone. Shit there was probably a dozen, but I’m remembering one in particular. I was watching her, definitely not judging her, but I was just sussing her out a bit, wondering if she was thinking the same thing I think when I am on the phone. I saw her watching me and then she put her phone away. She might have been checking emails or she might have been killing time because she thinks the park is so bloody boring and how many parks can a girl go to before she loses her mind and her spirit? Does it really matter? But I felt really bad because I was worried that she was as much as a lunatic as I am in that she cared what I thought. I wish she knew that I didn’t think anything of it. I very nearly went up to her to talk to her about the whole “being on the phone whilst at the park” thing but that would have been weird. Instead I just smiled at her. That was probably still weird.
What I think is that she’s probably spent her day already submitting to every need of her child so she’s allowed to do something she needs. Is that so bad?