June 15, 2012

In Her Shoes

A few days ago I took the afternoon off to take Evie to the surgery center for a pre-anesthetic physical. After waiting forever for the doctor, and going home and having a nap I figured it was (of course!) time to take Evie to Gracie Bleu for some frozen yogurt. She and I both love our chocolate covered strawberry themed concoction and it seemed like a nice idea.

I filled our bowl up with low-fat strawberry and chocolate yogurt and topped it with fresh strawberries, m-n-ms and chocolate sauce. I topped it with a few cherries (no dessert is complete without a cherry!).

Once we made it to the register, I struggled to remove my wallet all the while juggling a diaper bag, bowl of yogurt and balancing a toddler on my hip. The girl behind the counter ever so slightly rolled her eyes and sighed. I set the bowl on the scale and right at that moment Evie chose to give a big wiggle and I knocked the bowl a tiny bit causing it to tip over on its side and spill some of the contents out. Commence a huge sigh from counter girl as I flushed red and stuttered that I was so sorry. She stood there and stared at me as I tried to get the mess wiped up (still balancing the toddler and diaper bag). Finally she handed me a wet rag and I was able to get it all cleaned up one handed.

I was mortified at first. The sighs of annoyance, the looks of "better you than me, lady" counter girl shot me made me feel like I wasn't good enough to be at their fancy yogurt shop, with tiny tables, plush red wingbacks and fresh cut flowers on the tables. Then I very timidly asked if they had any highchairs. I got another sigh for this egregious request.

Then I got a little pissy. Yeah, I might not have looked my best. I might have had a squirmy toddler on my hip and YES she made a little mess in your shoppe (seriously? who spells shoppe that way?) but counter girl's attitude was not warranted. I cleaned up the mess. I apologized. I was a paying customer and so was my daughter. So instead of mortified I got a little mad. And when she returned I looked her straight in the eyes and said, "I'm sorry she made a mess, but she's fourteen months old and sometimes fourteen month olds make messes. It's just a little stressful doing this all on your own, but she's having surgery later this week so I wanted to have some girl time with her before." I held her gaze as she stuttered something about it "being ok" then pulled the highchair up to one of those teeny tiny tables and went back to her counter.

I then tuned her and her judgmental attitude out and had fun with my kid. Once she gets used to the temperature of the yogurt she loves it and says "mmmm!" after every bite and leans forward with her moth open for more like a baby bird. She also gave me about 10,000 sticky chocolate covered strawberry kisses and that was the best.

I walked out and resolved to never let anyone feel like I had less of a place simply because I have a child. I am not a second class citizen simply because my kid might get sticky finger prints on your wall, make a mess, spill a drink or burst out with random Mama and Dadas at the top of her lungs. I promise I'll clean up the mess and remind her to use her inside voice. And I hope that one day you take a walk in my shoes and realize what a balancing act being a mother is, that sometimes you slip up, make a mess and it takes a lot more grace to clean up the mess than to stand there, sigh and roll your eyes at it.



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