Mum like no one’s watching
Apparently I have always had an issue with people looking at me. My mum said when I was tiny I would say “Mummy, why are they looking at me?” when out in town. She would say “because you’re so pretty sweetheart” (Mums always know what to say) but of course I didn’t believe her. As I got older and she got less patient she would say “Stephanie, people don’t care about you! They’re too worried about themselves.” But this worry of what other people think of me has remained.
When I brought my new born home I honestly felt I was on some sort of Big Brother new mum cam with a panel of Health visitors and midwives in some sort of forced torturous Gogglebox episode. I found any visits by professionals as stressful as previous OFSTED inspections – only I was in my pyjamas this time with one tit out.
Years later with my two year old and four year old boys I still have daily moments where I wonder who is looking and what they are thinking. My youngest has developed a new habit where he likes to buckle at the knees anytime he’s remotely unhappy. He reminds me of those wooden stocking fillers you used to get of a donkey – where you pressed the underside and the legs would collapse. He does this anywhere and everywhere, adding a skull throw down to really get the full effect. On mud or concrete – the choice is his.
When he does this I look around to see who my audience is. If I am really lucky it’s a fellow parent who I can roll my eyes at and they giggle at the ways of toddlers. If I am unlucky it’s an elderly Gentleman who almost holds his nose as he walks past worrying he’s going to catch something from my feral lot.
On the school run I walk down a gridlocked main road and see all of the people in cars watching us – my two boys just seem to draw attention. If I am lucky they hold hands and I see them cooing and ah-ing and I feel a burst of pride – look at me mummying really well!
However, the weight of worrying about other people’s opinions can’t be sustained. I retrace those wise mum words “people don’t care about you. They’re too busy worrying about themselves.” Maybe, as always, my mum is right.
I certainly hope so as I had to drag my youngest home by his reigns like a demented Dachshund after he removed his shoes, in the pissing down rain, as I tried to conduct an important telephone call and my eldest screamed because I wouldn’t let him hold his God damn chocolate egg. I hope the onlookers enjoyed that one.
Mum like no one’s watching – they don’t care as much as you think. Hopefully.