You always knows who else is a parent when you are out and about. Right? Case in point: When we went to a cafe with my son in a buggy, the waiter found the perfect table for us so that the buggy could be near us, and he even got a high chair for us before we asked for one. My first question to him was “Are you a daddy, by any chance?”. Turns out he had three young children.
That’s just one example of what I call ‘Parent Solidarity’. It’s one of the many things I look out for when I’m out and about with the boys. Sometimes it’s just being helped on or off a bus. Sometimes it’s checking out the buggy and, in some cases, even asking questions about it.
Parent Solidarity often occurs when children are having a tantrum, or are being particularly loud in public. There’s a look. A look of ‘I’ve been there’ or ‘Don’t worry, we’re not judging you’. It makes a change from the looks of those who are judging you (often not parents, or too old to remember what it’s like to have little ones!).
Sometimes, I want to wear a sign that explains what people are seeing. My eldest son, who is just over 2-years old now, still uses a dummy. But, only when he’s ready for sleep. He also carries a muslin as a comfort blanket. Again, only when he’s ready for sleep. The amount of looks he gets when he’s in the buggy with the dummy… I just want to scream, “He’s only got it because I’m trying to get him to sleep!”. I have even had people asking him why he has a dummy. I remember a staff member at our local Sainsbury’s almost taking it out of his mouth, saying “You don’t need that” (In case you’re wondering, she was one of the older variety of judges). It’s really hard to explain to total strangers that you have a system and you know what you’re doing. And, what’s the problem with dummies anyway? I think they have been a lifesaver on many occasions!
Anyway, just have a look out for Parent Solidarity next time you’re out with your little ones. You’ll be surprised how much you see. It’s always nice to notice the Parent Solidarity when all you think you’ll encounter is negativity from strangers. And when your child has a tantrum in public, just think of those looks from other parents – It will help you cope!
(Photo credit: Daniel Cheung at Unsplash.com)