Re-post- because we all have these days:
It had taken two full days to get ready, but, I was on a mission. To buy my first post-baby pair of jeans. I had a coupon, a sale and a gift card, the holy trinity of shopping.
I carefully planned and prepared:
- Diaper bag stocked like a – check
- Stroller and it’s toys ready and in the car- check
- Car full of gas- check
- Walks shoveled to provide safe passage to said vehicle-check
- Breasts emptied to avoid frontal leakage- check
- Baby kept awake all morning and ready for a nap- check
- Credit card ready and (somewhat) willing in my wallet-check
- Coupon and gift card to help the credit card not cause checkout failure humiliation- check.
- Mall open for business and sale at my favorite store confirmed- check
- Dressed in clothing (almost) suitable for public viewing- check. (Well, I had shoes on, not slippers with my comfy mom-sweats. That was the main difference between my public/private attire:P)
I loaded my little baby burrito (well he looked like one in his brown snowsuit and extra blanket) into his car seat, aware that the great mommy-stopwatch had started ticking. I had exactly 2 hours before his next feeding, plenty of time to get to the mall and find a pair of pants that fit, before a nursing break, right?
I could do this.
I had everything under control.
Or so, I thought.
Pulling into the mall parking lot, I ran into my first problem: parking. It was January and the parking lot had been plowed. Mounds of snow ate up precious near- the door parking spots. The one spot available was near a sign reading L-7. It was about equidistance between the mall, and my home.
TICK. TICK. TICK.
The stopwatch in my mind marked times’ passage.
“Do I take this spot and hurry in, or do I play parking lot stalker and keep following people with bags hoping to snag a closer spot? Which will take more time?” I went with option L-7.
“I have an extra blanket in the diaper bag. he’ll be toasty, and I can hurry inside.” I told myself.
I struggled to pop open the stroller, then reached in for my little guy. He was asleep. “SCORE.” Maybe my plan was working. I covered him with the extra blanket I’d packed in the portable babies r us, I mean diaper bag.
Ready, I pushed on.
“Bump. slush, bump, splash.”
I hadn’t accounted for off-road like parking lot conditions.
I aimed for the ruts in the snow, lifting the back of the stroller to avoid more bumps. Like an Iditarod racer- minus the dogs… I pushed on.
TICK. TICK. TICK. (Click “more” to read the rest:)
We made it into the mall without frostbite. I sighed with relief. Until I noticed the older woman glaring at me with that “What do you think you’re doing bringing a baby out in this?” kind of look on her face. I wanted to explain the desperate need for jeans and show her my careful burrito packaging of said poor child.. but it would take too much time. I swallowed my defense with the side of guilt she’d served, and moved on.
I checked my watch: 45 minutes down. But I didn’t really need to bother checking, my “nursing on a schedule” breasts, had that “half full” feeling. We had about 30 minutes to find pants and get out of there before let-down, of either the nursing or shopping- type.
I tried to get my bearings, “Where IS that store? “ (I’d been shopping the maternity boutique for a year.. this was my first foray back to the land of the mall.) I looked at the mall-map.
“UGH.” The door was just a little closer to China than it was to the store I needed. #Parkingfail.
I rushed through the mall, risking the short-cut through the perfume counter @Macys. (It wasn’t a distraction so much as it was a risk of baby-oogling, cooing or possible instant death due to fragrance overdose. ) I held my breath, put on my game face and risked it. (If you look cranky , or crazy, enough, people won’t stop you for samples.. trust me, it works.)
We made it to my favorite shop with about 20 minutes left for shopping. I took a breath. I checked the sleeping baby-burrito. He was either in a snowsuit induced coma, or sleeping. But most likely, was sleeping. I smiled at my mommy-planning-prowess.
“Yup, I’d planned it all perfectly. This motherhood thing is a snap.”
I grabbed 3 pair of jeans in my pre-pregnancy size (Umm, I’m an optimist?) and wedged myself, jeans and the stroller into a change room. My plan was to try one on- assure the fit and buy all three. Ba da boom, ba da bing. I’d be ahead of schedule.
I slipped off my shoes and wriggled out of my sweats. The idea of a bonfire of the mom-sweats ran through my mind. I couldn’t wait to feel like myself again. (I’d never worn sweats unless working out prior to baby.)
Apparently my optimism had also affected my spatial perception..because bending over to slip on the jeans, I bashed my back end into the change room door. Lucky for my modesty, the latch held however- my backside bump- probably embossed the change-room door, permanently.
I didn’t look.
Convinced that the first pair of jeans was mis-marked, (It happens!) I shimmied into the second and third pairs, maybe those would fit. Ok, so the “shimmy” was more like some twisted and less graceful, form of yoga. (FYI: I think the mirrors in change rooms should have a switch, so once you’ve worked your way INTO the clothes, you can see how they look. No one needs to see the process.)
I started to sweat.
That, didn’t help.
Which is about the time I noticed the little: “This change room may be under surveillance for your protection” sticker on the mirror. I imagined a team of barely post pubescent mall cops “surveilling” my sweaty, yogic antics, amazed at how my filling by the moment nursing on a schedule breasts, were magically growing before their eyes.
Tick. Tick. Tick. Time was running out, but I would not give up. I needed jeans. (Didn’t I?)
Half nude, internal stop watch ticking and breasts filling, I poked my head out the door- “Can you bring me these, in a size up please?” I asked a random shopper. She looked shocked, but agreed. (I was desperate, I didn’t have time to look for an employee. A moms gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.)
As I shut the door to wait, I backed into the stroller, which bumped into the wall.
“BANG” went the stroller.
“WHHHHHHAAAAAAA!” Went the baby.
This was not the: “Oh you annoyed me, but I’m going back to sleep” cry. This was the: “I am suddenly awake, and I must be fed” cry. I rocked the stroller and prayed he’d go back to sleep. He didn’t.
Half naked and pretending it wasn’t my baby crying, I waited for the lady to return with the “size up” pants. I snatched them from her hand without a word. I hoped she’d forgive my rudeness. Kind of.
I shimmied, wriggled and hopped, sweating and leaking, trying to fit into this pair. Not gonna happen. I should have asked for 3 sizes up. #optimistfail. These fit about the same as the first, with maybe bit less of the pocket linings sticking out like rabbit ears at my hips.
Not the look I was going for.
Which is when my milk let down and I suddenly remembered the one thing I hadn’t packed: extra breast pads.
“WHAAAAAAA!” The baby lodged his formal complaint.
“BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZ” The stopwatch timer went off.
I was out of time. I considered my options. There was no bench in this change room. I thought about nursing him standing up. But knew my out of shape (like the rest of me) arms couldn’t take it. I considered sitting in/on the stroller- but a vision of myself half naked, nursing, backside wedged into the stroller and trapped in a change room stopped made me think better of it.
It was over. Time to head home. Mission: fail.
Tears flooded my eyes. “What have I gotten myself into? I can’t even manage a mall trip without a meltdown. How will I be able to handle the next 18 yrs. of mothering?”
Making our way to the car- I remembered the cushy “ladies lounge” someone had recommended to me. It was too late. I was crushed, and exhausted. I loaded everything up- and started the car. I decided to risk a “public viewing” by nursing in the car.
My tears continued to fall. I was only 21. Was I ready for this? I wasn’t so sure.
Which is when the tiny baby burrito came up for air. He leaned his head back- still latched on- but relaxed, and smiled into my eyes, milk dripping from the corner of his mouth.
I smiled back.
Mission accomplished. Maybe not the mission I’d set for that day, but still: Mission accomplished.
Being a mom is hard, it seems like no matter how much I plan or how hard I try- there are days and experiences that catch me off guard and throw me off balance. Maybe today- you tried to head out for just a simple pair of jeans, only to return home feeling like a complete #missionfailure. Maybe, you’re wondering what on earth you’ve got yourself into. Maybe you’re wondering if you’re ready for this, or are desperate to feel like yourself again.
I know how you feel. I’ve been there and survived I’m learning (yes, still) that sometimes the mission- I had planned for the day, isn’t the one that needed to be accomplished.
Yesterday, I even shopped for jeans, without a stroller to bump, milk leakage or a rump embossing. Honestly, I didn’t even have a child in tow. (My youngest is a second grader)
Guess what? I still didn’t find any that I liked:P
Feeling alone? Feeling frustrated and disconnected? I hope you’ll stop by MOPS International and check it out– there are groups for moms just like you. Moms who just want a decent pair of jeans without public humiliation:) Oh.. and who don’t want to feel like a failure.