This post first appeared on MeetOtherMums.com.
Dear Helicopter Mum at the Soft Play Centre,
I get you. We’ve all been first time mums. We all get protective. We’ve all had that feeling of just wanting your baby wrapped in cotton wool forever. Where you just want to shove them back up inside you where it’s nice and safe.
I remember crawling through the small tunnels, squishing your face into plastic that smelt like a mixture of puke and detergent. Squeezing my fat arse onto slides that were just not quite wide enough. Banging my head on every low bar whilst scrambling after my tiny child that was suddenly able to move at lightening speeds, despite taking THIRTY MINUTES to put on her darn coat that morning.
We have ALL been there.
You’re doing what makes you feel safe, by keeping a close eye on your baby. And that’s great.
But that doesn’t mean you should judge those that give their children a bit of leeway.
You saw the other child in the ‘baby area’. You could see he was perfectly safe. But you felt the need to search for his Mum.
His Mum, that was exhausted. His Mum, that was sitting down for the first time that day. His Mum, that had just started her antidepressants earlier that week and was on the verge of tears whilst seeking advice from her friend.
But you didn’t see that, did you?
You saw a Mum gossiping with her friend instead of keeping an eye on her child. You saw a Mum not caring for her child. So when that Mum came to check up on her child (who was still happily playing) you took judgement upon that Mum.
“Oh, there you are, we had been wondering who’s baby this was, shouldn’t be left on his own really” *insert snide look*
The baby, who was nearly 1. In an area solely for babies. In clear eyesight of his parent. Where the highest he could climb was no taller than himself, and should he fall, he would have a soft landing. You know…SOFT play?
Why did you take it upon yourself to put another Mum down, just because she didn’t parent the same way as you did? Why did you continue to glare at that Mum, making her so uncomfortable she collected her son from the soft play to sit on her knee? Why couldn’t you just let it slide?
I doubt you even remember making that comment. But I remember. I remember questioning myself. I remember feeling as if everyone looking at me. I remember that tightness building in my chest, feeling like I couldn’t breathe. Like I wasn’t good enough.
Next time you see a Mum taking a break. Please think about why she might need that break. Please think before you judge her.
Mum who just needs a break.