It’s Monday morning. I think. It’s as I push the pram in one hand, hold a large latte in the other and encourage Avery to keep up with my snail-like pace as I schlep from Woolies to Coles in search of… something, that I first notice it. I don’t know why I haven’t seen it before…
And it appears I might be their newest recruit.
We live in a messy combination of active wear and sleeveless puffer-vests over jeans. Our hair has its own name, the “Mum Bun” which almost certainly contains traces of our kid’s breakfast. While our faces might contain traces of BB cream, a quick swish of mascara and Go-To’s Pinky-Nudey Lips (because Zoe Foster Blake is our spirit animal) the odds are that we didn’t have time for a shower, so you can forget the idea of makeup. There are bags under our eyes and attached to our prams which probably only contain about 1/3 of the items we actually needed to buy today because in our sleep deprived state we’ve forgotten what we actually needed and those caramel and pretzel cookies looked really tasty as I passed through the bakery section.
You can recognise Mombies by their glazed eyes and the way their bodies slump over their prams. Tired, worn out and stuck in the continuous loop of the thanklessness that is raising small children. Don’t ask her what day it is. She’ll probably only know if it’s a weekday or the weekend. But I tell you what – she will know every goddamn word from the theme song of ‘Ready Steady Wiggle”, complete with hand actions and she’ll proudly admit that she kinda likes it too. It’s catchy you know.
If you don’t see them coming, then you’ll certainly hear them. Just listen for the sighing and accompanying cries of, “Stop touching that.” “Hurry up please!” and my personal favourite, “Why can’t you just listen to me for once?”
I remember when I used to care what I looked like, wearing things like high heels and shift dresses to work everyday. I would go to the same mall as I did this morning, usually at lunch time to buy myself something pretty because I had all the disposable income in the world and #imworthit. I would look these fascinating creatures up and down and tut-tut them. “Ugh, Mums let themselves go sahhhhh bad.” I would think. “I’m never going to be like that”. I’m not going to be a regular Mum. I’ll be a cool Mum…
*insert eye roll here*
Ironically, I now see the childless masses look at me in their current season clothes, unreasonably high shoes and hair that glistens in the fluorescent light of the shops with the same look that I used to give those Mombies. I’m being judged. As we pass, I give them a knowing look. “I used to be you” I whisper under my breath. Karma is coming my pretty little friends.
When you’re a Mombie, it feels like it’s never going to end. This is your life now. Mum buns, eye bags and buckets of coffee fo’ life. I’m in the tunnel and I can’t even see the bloody light at the other end. I’m not even sure I’m heading in the right direction to be honest with you.
But then there’s a second group of people I see looking at me. Mums with older children. When they spot me, I see a different look come over them. Is it nostalgia? Not quite. Maybe there’s a twinge of that. But there’s more to it than that. It’s recognition. Recognition that they’ve been where I am now. They understand that the fact I’ve made it out of the house with everyone fully dressed is an achievement. “Go Mama! You’ve got this!” I half expect to see a Hunger Games three finger salute to be offered as we pass each other with a coy smile.
It takes me a moment before I realise why I’m smiling back at them. They offer what no one else can. A glimmer of hope. They’ve been in the never-ending tunnel and somehow managed to make it to the other side. Sure, the shift dress and high heels might have made way for a waterfall cardigan and a kick arse pair of orthopaedic loafers, but they are dressed. They have a hair style. They probably slept past 6am! They have made it!
And Mama, so will we x