When your babe sleeps like an angel on the moons of Iego (I think), the world’s all smiles. But as soon as they become a grumbling rancor, don’t you find that, suddenly, everyone knows best?
I hit that mothering milestone the other day – mum-shaming. In the post office. Of all places. As if trying to mail a birthday card wasn’t hard enough with Lorelei screaming, I was welcomed with a sermon on how badly I was treating her as customer service I didn’t ask for, and didn’t want.
But hold on, I’ll clarify this a wee bit. The woman on the checkout probably meant well, and she never insulted me. She just made me feel ashamed with the backhanded concern in her words. “How about you sit there and get this little one seen to and pay in a bit? Hearing her upset is upsetting me and everyone else in the shop.”
So there I was, stewing in my embarrassment, breastfeeding as other customers manoeuvred around us and the pram. The only thing that brightened the situation were the few who said how beautiful she was, and how “very wise” I am as a breastfeeding mum—though I’m only doing what comes easily and naturally to me. I couldn’t even get out of there without another spiel about how babies cry for a reason, and they should always come first. Well, wow, I didn’t know that. It’s not like I’d have just paid and gone to the nearest bench to feed her where I would have been less obstructive, given half the chance.
I don’t have any trouble being respectful when it comes to other people. I even left the post office with a smile and a thank you, though I wondered why. Where I’ve always struggled is showing respect to myself when I’ve been cornered, intimidated and condescended to. My reasoning has always been that it’s better to avoid an argument. But I’m a role model now. I need to start showing that a good person does more than take every slight in stride. They know when standing up provides the better lesson.
Lorelei deserves to know that her mind and heart should be respected. As is my duty, I want to be that example for her. So, from now on, I will.