Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Faking it or making it

One of the biggest compliments that I have received as a parent is one from a young colleague and friend of Mark. She has visited us and stayed a couple of times so she has seen the ins and outs of us dealing with parenthood. She says "you guys make it seem so easy". She visited when Zoe was less than three weeks old and she took me aside telling me I looked great and that she was so impressed with how we dealt with things. I broke down in front of her, sobbing (as one does 3 weeks postpartum) and told her that breast feeding was hell and I felt like a bad mother for not being able to nurse my newborn. She hugged me and said if I haven't admitted how hard things really were she would have thought there was something seriously wrong with me. So since then the compliment that keeps me going is her genuine statement that we make it look easy to have a baby.

This compliment was the one I was thinking about as I stood with Zoe in Cafe Nero, having placed her sitting on a high stool, dangling her little legs in the air (obviously holding on to her), while feeding her yogurt and drinking a cappuccino myself. The mother and daughter behind me peeked, especially the daughter, seemingly around 14, kept turning her head towards Zoe in that sweet 'I love babies' way that only girls who want an extra little sibling can do. And right that moment having a calm, cute, babbling 16 month old who gulped down yogurt from a bar stool in one of London's SoHo cafe's definitely was the easiest and most wonderful thing in the whole world. What the 14 year old and our friend couldn't see and didn't know was that 10 minutes prior Zoe had screamed hysterically in her stroller trying to fight her way out because she had rejected her lunch and was now really hungry but I had fed her my last cracker. All while I frantically looked for a place for a snack that was not a pub and not a restaurant.
And what they would never know was that 10 minutes later, I would have to run over to BabyGap to get a new pair of pants for Zoe because she, for the second time that day, had managed to pee through her diaper, soaking first her original pants, then the spare pants I always carried with me. What they wouldn't witness was my struggle to get said pants on Zoe in the world's tiniest bathroom after carrying her down a spiral staircase, leaving the stroller upstairs praying it would still be there when we returned. Yes, it does look easy, especially when you see only fragments of everyday life. But I still dwell in the compliment that we make things seem easy, even if they aren't always.

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