Ok, prepare yourselves for a rant. I was recently in my second home (that means Target) by myself with my baby. That means I was pushing the stroller and using the very small and pretty much useless basket underneath the stroller to stash all the very big and pretty much useless things I intended to buy. My daughter was crying, but Target’s size and liveliness allowed me to actually hear my own thoughts over her howling (yet another reason I love the place). I was shushing her, and moving the stroller in all sorts of crazy patterns, and making ridiculous noises that pre-baby I would never imagine I would make in public, but it didn’t deter me from the all-important task of continuing to stuff the stroller basket with things I certainly didn’t need.
While I was pondering switching shampoos (as if having a newborn isn’t bad enough, do we really have to lose all of our hair too?), a complete and total stranger approached me and said, “Do you think she needs to eat, Mom?” I was so tempted to say, “Oh, gee! Is that why she’s crying? I thought she only had to be fed every couple of days! Why didn’t I ever think that maybe she’s crying incessantly because she might be hungry?” But I didn’t. Because that wouldn’t have been nice. Instead, I forced a (very) tight smile and simply said, “She actually just ate an hour ago.” I mean, really? I have a baby that screams for hours upon hours a day. Don’t you think that I wish I could continuously keep my boob in her mouth to get some peace and quiet? If I knew how to make her stop, wouldn’t I have done that by now? Do you think I enjoy the sounds of a shrieking infant?
It’s like people forget that babies cry for reasons other than being hungry. Or sometimes (gasp!) they cry for absolutely no good reason at all. This is not pleasing to me. In fact, most days it reduces me to tears and the belief that I am a terrible mother. I don’t need you to make it worse, lady.
So the next time you see a mom in Target who is trying her hardest to keep it together and seems to actually being doing pretty well despite the anarchy coming from the stroller, do her a favor. Don’t give her any advice. Don’t offer any suggestions. Smile. Offer her some chocolate. Let her ramble about the pros and cons of two in one shampoo and conditioner because you are the first adult she’s seen in hours. Us new moms everywhere thank you.