Dear, That mum, 

 

It was our sons' nursery coffee morning a couple of weeks ago, and I rocked up childless for once. You, on the other hand, had your beautiful newborn baby in your arms.

 

Most of the mums congregated at the foot of the playground making small talk and watching their nursery goers play from afar. I walked around after my son because he had a look in his eye that screamed "I own this fricken place, don't get in my way" and I think you felt the same about yours. It didn't seem like you were interested in making new friends that day, not because you didn't want to, but because your son was playing up to the fact you were loitering around his nursery grounds and your baby didn't want to be there - I don't think you did either. I have no qualms in admitting I certainly didn't. Ugh, the screaming kids showed no mercy to our ears.

 

Your son got into a quarrel with another kid as they sat on the ground pulling and tugging at what was literally a piece of plastic. They both wanted it and neither were going to give it up, your son cried and screamed and put on quite the show for us that day, they can be so dramatic sometimes, right?

 

You looked on edge, he kicked you as you tried to pull him away while trying to keep hold of your baby, you would give a quick look around as if to look for your husband for support although knowing he wasn't there, making sure not to make eye contact with anyone else.

 

Your hair was only half dried, your eyes were dark and tired, you didn't have the patience for this today, I could tell because I've been there, every day I've been there.

 

My son was busy throwing dinosaurs into a tree so I knelt down to the level of the two fighting 3 years olds and asked them what was going on and if they were going to play nicely. I'm sure they could have cared less what I had to say but the sheer presence of an adult beside them sent their little legs to scatter off in opposite directions, leaving the plastic pipe on the ground at my feet.

 

 

Problem solved, but you looked sheepish, embarrassed that your son kicked you and threw a major tantrum in front of all these mums and you couldn't do anything, you had your baby in your arms and was trying to keep your eyes open after probably having had 3 hours of broken sleep.

 

I'm sure you wished it wasn't your son that caused the scene, but it's got to be someone's child and that day it was yours. Tomorrow it will be someone else's (probably mine). I told you I have 3 kids and know what it's like when holding the baby it's hard work trying to control every situation. You smiled and thanked me, we made small talk for a minute and then moved on to wherever our kids were but I thought I could see tears in your eyes.

 

I wished I could have hugged you that day, and let you cry it out because lord knows I've been there so many times. With three kids, I've now learned not to care who is looking or what they are thinking when one of mine act out in public. For a while, I stopped leaving the house because I couldn't cope with judging eyes, but I came to realise these people are not judging me, at least not all of them. Some of them would probably be looking at me to lend support with a smile or an eye roll as if to say "ugh, kids, eh" but I would look away so quickly I only saw eyes and to me, those eyes were all in judgement.

 

I was wrong so I want to tell you not to worry, don't get upset, forget the shit day at the coffee morning and move on (perhaps with a large glass of wine).

 

Every other parent around you are going through the same trials and tribulations as you are, sometimes it feels like you're the only one, but I promise you're not. Next time take a longer look you will see, we are the same. We're not judging you, we are here for you, we know you're doing a great job! 

 

Lindsay O'Flaherty is a 31-year-old Irish Mammy living in Hertfordshire. I wanted to just be Mary Poppins but my kids broke my umbrella...and everything else I own so now I write about all things life and parenting as we know it. I have three kids aged three and under. It helps to laugh so let's laugh together. Follow Lindsay's blog Mary Not So Poppins.
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