This post is dedicated to all the moms and all the queens. I got the opportunity to observe women uninterrupted and undisturbed, and I came to some surprising conclusions.
On Saturday afternoon, we were called up to Jo’burg at short notice, and while my husband was busy, I had a few hours to kill. We decided to settle in at one of our favourite family restaurant chains – Papachinos.
My husband could leave us there with peace of mind, the girls get to play in a huge outside play area supervised by lots of lovely childminders, and they get to make their own pizzas at the ‘pizza bar’ – a glorious concept if ever there was one!
I, on the other hand, got to sit and partake in one of my favourite pastimes … drinking wine and people-watching!
You will all agree that getting settled into your seats at a family restaurant is half the battle. Fortunately, my husband did help us inside and was there for the first five minutes to hold down the fort. It’s always those first five minutes that are the most hectic! I took one child to the toilet and then the other because they couldn’t possibly go at the same time! Can you see me rolling my eyes?
After he left, the kids ran off to play, and I got to sit down and take a breath. It was then that the enormity of my situation hit me. It’s a ‘nice’ restaurant. Family orientated, but more ‘civilised’ than the more frequently frequented family restaurants. It’s not like I’ve not taken them out alone before, but this was a much larger area to cover in terms of keeping an eye on them. Whilst there are quite a few playground attendants, I always want to at least be able to keep them in sight. I didn’t feel it was the appropriate place to stand up and scream over to my kids from my table, and this is still South Africa – you don’t just leave your table & bag unattended. Dilemma!
It took a while for a waiter to come and take my drinks order as they were really busy. The only table I could get without a reservation was right in the middle of the outside seating area. I think I was a little lost in the crowd sitting there by myself, but I knew we would be there for a while so I wasn’t too worried. Thirsty, but not irritated. I was also loving the solitude and anonymity – alone, but not lonely.
Let’s Suss Out The Surroundings
Once my wine arrived and I had sorted the kids pizza’s out it struck me that if you ever want to identify most ‘categories’ of moms. You couldn’t ask for a better impromptu gathering to observe. Now, I hate labelling people, but categorising them is a bit different because you’re not judging them, you’re making an assumption based on what’s directly in front of you in that moment!
Here are the ones that particularly caught my eye in terms of ‘making the list’:
The ‘beautiful people moms’
Identified by their perfect hair, make-up, fashionable clothing, expensive jewellery, name brand handbags, They have an overly tinkly laughing, quite often loud so that everyone knows what a fabulous time they’re having. I see you. Parenting in public is never that perfect!
The ‘I’m so happy to be out of the house moms’
Identified by their bright eyes, jeans and ‘nice’ tops, flats, minimal make-up, hair done just right. They are usually accompanied by their husband and parents.
The ‘working mom’
She’s wearing her suitably professional work suit. She’s trying desperately to maintain her work persona but failing every time one of her dirty kids crawls up on her lap and puts his sticky fingers on her satin finish top or grinds his dirty foot into her pretty stilettos. You can see she’s trying to hold it together but not quite managing.
The ‘I’m not cooking tonight’ moms
They look like they have escaped their messy houses and empty fridges and are almost at breaking point! Most likely, they have no make-up on and have barely brushed their hair, probably pulled up into a ponytail or mom-bun. Their outfit is made up of yoga pants that hide cellulite with a track-suit top hastily pulled on over the dirty t-shirt they’ve been wearing all day. They have possibly had one too many glasses of wine already. Their husband is probably keeping very quiet with a slightly terrified look on his face, one eye on the kids and the other on the number of glasses of wine his harassed wife has had.
I See You
To all you mammas out there, I see you. We’re all in the trenches just trying to survive. We all fit into at least one, sometimes more than one of the categories above, along with countless others. My advice to us all, and something I constantly try to remind myself of:
- Enjoy your time out of the house.
- Don’t worry about the kids, they will be fine.
- Happy mommy, happy kids.
- Don’t worry about what other people might be saying or thinking.
- You look fabulous!
- Be happy, be proud – remember who’s watching.
- Enjoy your family time.
The best quote I read in ages goes something like this:
“Real queens adjust each other’s crowns.”
If you liked this post, please share it. Hopefully, it will help someone feel better about themselves and remind us to be kind to each other. To all the queens out there, I see you.