Now that my son is a little bit older, he’s slightly more portable. Though he still eats every three hours, if I time things just right I can make it to the mall and back without too much of a meltdown. He takes a long early-afternoon nap so any trip to the mall must be done before it or after it. Snacks help too.
I’ve begun to notice, from the few times I’ve made it to the mall, that there are two different types of weekday mall moms. There are moms like me, who are out with the kid(s) and no other support. And there are moms out with their kids and another adult, like grandma or a friend. Moms like me walk fairly quickly throughout the mall: we know we are on a time-limit and we were lucky to get out of the house looking somewhat put together. Moms with support are more relaxed, walk slower, and give me pitiful looks. “Look at that poor, lonely mom. Man, it’s a production getting to the mall on your own with a kid!” I feel it every time.
But apparently there is an unspoken bond among moms like me, who have the courage to go it alone in public. Like motorcyclists who give each other the low left-hand air 5 secret signal when they pass each other on the road, moms like me give a little smile and head nod. It’s a mutual acknowledgement of the sheer strength – if not madness – it takes to make it to the mall and enjoy yourself. Because let’s face it – the mall is for mommy, is it not? It’s a relic of the carefree spending days, of the days spent looking for the perfect dress. Those days may still exist – they just have a little different shadow to them. A mom pooch, a mom bag, a mom budget – whatever the case is, the mall holds for it the promise that you are still yourself, maybe even better for the chatterbox trying to pull things off the shelves from the stroller seat.
Maybe I’m projecting towards the moms-with-friends with a little bit of jealousy. It’s always nice to have extra hands on deck, and I wish I had that whenever I wanted it. I wish I could either fit into my skinny jeans again or at least not feel guilty enough to splurge on a new pair. I wish I could look cute at the mall again, not just presentable. But moms-with-friends don’t give you a smile. They don’t give you the head nod. They just size your kid up (as you size theirs up), then size you up, and keep walking. And all I can do is vow to be a little bit more forgiving if I’m ever lucky enough to be in their shoes.