On Saturday afternoon we were called up to Jo’burg at short notice and while my husband was busy I had a few hours to kill. We decided to settle in at one of our favorite family restaurant chains. My husband could leave us there with peace of mind, the girls get to play in a huge outside play area supervised by lots of lovely child minders and make their own pizzas at the ‘pizza bar’ – a glorious concept if ever there was one! I got to sit and partake in one of my favorite pastimes … drinking wine while people watching!
My husband did help us inside and was there for the first five minutes to keep us calm while I took one child, and then the other, to the toilet (because they can’t possibly go at the same time – can you see me rolling my eyes?)
After he left the kids ran off to play and I got to sit down and take a breath. It was then that the enormity of my situation hit me. It’s not like I’ve not taken them out alone before, but this was a much larger area to cover in terms of keeping an eye on them.
It took a while for a waiter to come and take my drinks order as they were really busy. The only table I could get without a reservation was right in the middle of the outside seating area. I think I was a little lost in the crowd sitting there by myself, but I knew we would be there for a while so I wasn’t too worried, thirsty, but not irritated. I was also loving the solitude and anonymity – alone, but not lonely.
Once my wine arrived and I had sorted the kids pizza’s out it struck me that if you ever want to identify most ‘categories’ of moms, you couldn’t ask for a better impromptu gathering to observe.
Here are the ones that particularly caught my eye in terms of ‘making the list’:
- The ‘beautiful people moms’; identified by their perfect hair, make-up, fashionable clothing, expensive jewellery, name brand handbags, and overly tinkly laughing, quite often loud so that everyone knows what a fabulous time they’re having.
- The ‘I’m so happy to be out of the house moms’; identified by their bright eyes, jeans and ‘nice’ tops, flats, minimal make-up, hair done just right, usually accompanied by their husband and/or parents.
- The ‘working mom’; she’s wearing her suitably professional work-suit, trying desperately to maintain her work persona but failing every time one of her dirty kids crawls on her lap and puts his sticky fingers on her satin finish top, or grinds his foot into her pretty stilettos, you can see she’s trying to hold it together but not quite there.
- The ‘I’m not cooking tonight moms’; they look like they have escaped their messy houses and empty fridges and are almost at breaking point! They have no make-up on, have barely brushed their hair, usually it’s dirty and pulled up in an unsuccessful ponytail or mom-bun, and are still wearing their yoga pants with a track-suit top hastily pulled on over the t-shirt they’ve been wearing all day. They have possibly had one too many glasses of wine already, and their husband is keeping very quiet with a slightly terrified look on his face, keeping one eye on the kids and the other on the number of glasses of wine his harassed wife has had.
To all you mammas out there, I see you. We’re all in the trenches just trying to survive. We all fit into at least one, sometimes more than one of the categories above, along with countless others. My advice to us all, and something I constantly remind myself of:
- Enjoy your time out of the house.
- Don’t worry about the kids, they will be fine.
- Don’t worry about what other people might be saying, or thinking.
- Happy mommy, happy kids.
- You look fabulous!
- Be happy, be proud – remember who’s watching.
- Enjoy your family time.
The best quote I read in ages goes something like this:
“Real queens adjust each other’s crowns.”
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