You Know That You’re THAT MOM When…

June 9, 2007

… You’re out with your toddler, running errands and shopping and the like. And you go into a shop to replace all of those tank tops that got stained with shit and spit-up last summer when your toddler was going through that leaky baby phase. And you take your toddler into the fitting room with you, because, please, there’s no other option. And you sit your toddler down on the teeny little bench in the teeny little room and you proceed to remove your clothing while you sing, off-key and sotto voce, the theme to The Backyardigans to the toddler who is not impressed because who the hell wants to sit quietly in a tiny little airless room with their half-naked mother.
And just as you’ve removed your top and your shoes and are pulling your skinny jeans down over your ass and toward your knees, your toddler drops to the floor and, before you can even blink to register the shock, has propelled herself under the door and is gone.
And in that split-second you realize that you have to go after her, sans robe, and you think to yourself – and maybe, just maybe, you holler it aloud – oh my f*ck.
And then you throw the door open and race down the fitting room hallway and out into the bright light of the H&M sales floor in your tatty bra, desperately tugging to get those goddam skinny jeans back up over your ass with one hand while you grasp at your wee hellion with the other.
And you die a little bit inside, just a little bit, because you realize that, although you are chasing your toddler, in public, in your underwear, and that this is really a much lower moment than the time that you tucked your skirt into the back-ass of your tights after a trip to the washroom in a busy office, you really don’t care. Lower, even, than the time that one toddler in the library storytime group was drawn by the tractor beam radiating from the butt crack exposed by your – yes, again – low-riding skinny jeans and stuck his hand down there and yelled BUM! BUM!
You have lost that one scrap of dignity that you had left, and, also, you’ve realized that although you might be able to carry off those skinny jeans fashion-wise, you probably will never wear them again because clearly, they are designed to thwart anyone who is over the age of 27 and/or anyone who wrangles toddlers as part of their day-to-day routine, and you really don’t care.
It’s a kind of death, isn’t it, the loss of your concern for dignity? But maybe it’s also a rebirth, of a sort. The rebirth of me, into That Mom, the one that you see in the shops or in the parks, chasing a shrieking toddler, possibly shrieking back, possibly topless, and not caring.

The one with a leash.

(Not kidding. I am, now, SO THAT MOM.)

Are you That Mom? When did you know? Did you cry, just a little?

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    mamatulip June 10, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    I’m that mom. I always have been. I use a harness with Oliver and I did with Julia; both of them are/were darters. It’s a bracelet that I wear around my wrist and she wears around hers. We’re connected, and that’s the way it has to be.

    savia June 10, 2007 at 8:05 pm

    Yup, this is all around awesome. And also the reason I have cats and not kids.

    MotherBumper June 10, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    Dude – I begged you to tell me where you bought yours and you were with me when I made the purchase. I am so that mom

    wordgirl June 10, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    When sleep deprivation caused me to walk out into the front yard with my shirt completely unbuttoned from top to bottom after and extended session of nursing the baby. When my toddler braced himself against the mailbox (while we were visiting a single friend of mine)so as to have more leverage when he took an enormous crap in his pants and I stood by pretending as though I didn’t know it was happening. Oh…the memories.

    Laural Dawn June 10, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    I became THAT mom when I had to take my toddler on the TTC every day to and from daycare. When he started having temper tantrums on the bus I simply started to feed him jelly beans.
    It kept him quiet. I didn’t care. People would give me looks
    Someone finally asked me whether I gave him jelly beans to keep him quiet or to piss everyone off. I really couldn’t answer.

    Maggie June 10, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    THAT is why I order all of my clothes online. I’m too tired not to be THAT mom.

    Motherhood Uncensored June 10, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    Since writing that dreadful post, I’m a full fledged Platinum member.

    Say you’re walking through Barnes and Noble with a baby in a sling, NURSING, whilst chasing a toddler all the while saying “Do you have to go potty. Stay where I can see you. Be nice to the other children”

    And then you notice your boob is hanging out and you really don’t care.

    Yeah. I’m so that mom. I think it’s the new black or something.

    Motherhood Uncensored June 10, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    And PS. Skinny Jeans. You people are wearing skinny jeans?


    I’m soooooooooooooooooo that mom who says “You’re wearing skinny jeans?”

    Karen June 10, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    I cried not a little, but alot. And cussed and hid.

    nonlineargirl June 11, 2007 at 12:09 am

    Maybe now I feel just a little better that the moment I take off any piece of clothing in front of my daughter she yells: “Naked Mole Rat!”

    MamaLee June 11, 2007 at 4:20 am

    I am SO with you. I stopped caring about me and focused on THEM a while ago.

    “Mommy, you got big boobies” is sometimes worth the times when I’ve had to chase the anklebiters down aisle 7. And who cars that you have to SCREAM in a public place.

    You do what you have to, including showing your bra, to keep the rugrats in line and NEXT to you.


    Let me know when you find yourself again. If you ever do.

    Jenny June 11, 2007 at 8:58 am

    Welcome to the club. We’re using the elmo leash now. It’s more restrictive than the dora one.

    nomotherearth June 11, 2007 at 9:28 am

    More people have seen my a** crack than I would care to count right now. Jeans aren’t supposed to be painted on? Pshaw.

    Papa Bradstein June 11, 2007 at 10:08 am

    The one consistent bit of parenting advice Mom gave me was that I would eat every word I ever said about parents and parenting. She said that she and Dad swore they would never use a pacifier, use a leash, etc. . . . and they ended up doing all of those things with at least one of us. Kids are little masters, finding our flaws and teaching us lessons about them. And when we refuse to learn, they beat us with our flaws as if they were bamboo rods. Fortunately, they’re cute too.

    Mama V June 11, 2007 at 10:11 am

    I think I might be fired for spitting coffee all over my workstation. That was hysterical.. and only hysterical because I’ve SO been there. Picture JC Penney… I’m trying on a couple of non-stained shirts while my mother-in-law is watching my 2-year old daughter. All I hear from inside the changeroom is a squeal of glee (strangely familiar) and then my mother-in-law’s worried voice.. “Grace? Gracie? Where are you? come back here!” I got changed ASAP and managed to catch her as she was about to take off into the mall… She then proceeded to have a complete tantrum and peed her pants while having a time-out at the back of the kid’s clothes section…. ARRRRRGH

    BOSSY June 11, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    At least you were wearing underwear because then you would have been Britney Spears. No offense, Britney.

    Jenn June 11, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    When I caught a glimpse of a woman in a store window, hair flying all over, sweat pants, child flailing to free herself and thought, “yikes”.

    And upon closer inspection, she had my face. And my eyes. And my kid.

    TB June 11, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    I don’t know that I’ve had time to fully become her yet, but I know I will. I know because when I had ton double pump 20 minutes on 20 off for 12 hours before Myles was even born, it took me less than 3 hours to care if my mother in law, or father in law for that matter saw me with both tits hanging out as well as my ass in the hospital gown.

    crazymumma June 11, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    Thought of you today and this post while at the gym staring out the window while on the treadmill. And as we know all roads lead to Loblaws, the people watching is fine….

    a woman, with a child on a leash….the harness was a fuzzy doggie, the leash was a tail.

    wag the dog Bad Mother.

    Claire Cameron June 11, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    Can’t relate. I only hum the theme to Franklin.

    Lisa b June 11, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    Motherhood is so glamourous.
    Great shoes wb. All the better to torture your mother with.

    Her Bad Mother June 11, 2007 at 11:11 pm

    They’re Vans, dude. She can even say it: VANS. Gotta know your brands.

    Carrie June 12, 2007 at 1:44 am

    I think almost any mother would do the same thing. Priorities change when one becomes a mother and it’s limitations are based on experience.
    It’s certainly different when it comes to motherhood.

    a mommy June 12, 2007 at 10:25 am

    Oh honey, I lost it early. I have twins. They were premies, and I was determined to nurse them because they seemed to need the boost. Well, I have a future as a Holstein, it turns out, because I made plenty of milk for quintuplets. Consequently, my normally decent “rack” turned into something that belonged in a circus sideshow or a strip club there for about 6 months.

    So I was getting no sleep, ravaging the countryside for food like some fairy-tale ogre (eating whole pies for lunch, for example) and drinking about two gallons of water a day just for enough liquid for milk production. I worked full time. I had NO TIME for dignity, and smelled like day old baby bottles. Literally, cats followed me down the block. I realized I’d lost it when I answered the door for the postman wearing a nursing gown and a couple of days of crust and registered the shock in his face. From that point, I tried to scale back to socially acceptable, but I wore nothing but tent dresses for months trying to find something that would fit over the udders (size J nursing bras, anyone?).

    Consequently, I would have been that mom with her hair desheveled, wearing a maternity dress even though the babies are 6 months old, with unshaven legs (couldn’t reach em) in the grocery store buying large bags of chips and super mega boxes of diapers. If you had seen me at work, I would have been that woman lugging the industrial boob-pump in sensible shoes, a tent dress with a jacket over it, and the jacket had snot and/or spit up on each shoulder.

    Eventually, you recover it. No worries. Babies and toddlers aren’t for the glamorous. They are for survivors, baby. Survive to skinny jean another day.

    Karen MEG June 12, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    I’m a shopaholic so I’m THAT mom on a very regular basis. But I’m lucky that the little one will stay locked in her stroller and/or fascinated by her reflection in the mirror for a few minutes before she contemplates her escape route.

    sara - The Estrogen Files June 12, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    Yes, oh yes, I am THAT. Mom. I have said leash for my son. Thankfully I have older kids, more sedate kids, who will chase after TheBoy when I’m half naked in the dressing room. ‘Cause don’t NO ONE want to see THAT running down the hall! (grin)

    Danni June 12, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    True. It happens every time you’re about to do something private. It gets more humiliating if you think about it. Better act like it doesn’t matter as long as everyone is safe.

    Chaos Control June 13, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    You have me wishing I was that mom … what, with the skinny jeans and all.


    Lucy's Mom June 13, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    Motherhood, with its trials and tribulations, is eternal. It’s been many a year since my daughter was that age but I was THAT Mom in a department store when she suddenly disappeared from my side and I COULDN’T FIND HER! Within minutes I was absolutely hysterical, the store personnel were calling the police, store security was searching everywhere (they had to do something to calm this hysterical, screaming woman) and suddenly, my daughter pops out of the middle of a clothes rack where she had been hiding. The rack was round with long dresses on it and she just parted the dresses and slipped inside. She was playing hide and seek. The problem is she forgot to tell me about the game. Oh yeah, I was THAT Mom as I screamed and yelled, hugged and kissed her, and then paddled her butt right there in public. Of course, those were the days long before people got so hysterical about parents spanking their children. However, when I spanked her, I still got THE look. But let me tell you, I didn’t care. For the rest of her toddler years, I used the leash and then I REALLY got the looks. Again, I didn’t care. Nothing was more important than her safety.

    Her Bad Mother June 14, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    Lucy’s Mom – I actually did that myself, as a kid, to my great-grandmother. She called the fire department.

    So maybe this is all karma?

    V-Grrrl June 19, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    Ha! And you call yourself a Bad Mother! This Bad Mother would not have taken one step out of a dressing room without being fully dressed. She’d leave her little hellion to H & M security personnel and been a really BAD MOTHER.

    Anonymous June 20, 2007 at 8:35 am

    Oh fellow Leash Mom! Loved the time we used it at Disney to keep our freespirited child safe and ABLE TO INTERACT with his surroundings. The so NOT THAT MOMs with the sweet little kids who would never wonder off all scowled and rolled eyes. hte THAT MOMs with freespirited kids were all asking where I got it. We MUST unite!

    One of my first THAT MOM moments was the time my then two year old took off from the play area in the mall as fast as his little legs would go. I had to leave my three others…3 year old triplets.. plus a neighbor’s child UNATTENDED and dart after him. He was FAST and as I darted like crazy through the mall in my YOGA clothes I truly didn’t care. As I pushed him face forward on the floor because he kept wiggling away from all of my desparate grasps, I DIDN’T CARE. As I tucked him foot ball style under my arms and RAN back to the play area dodging and ducking like a salmon swimming up stream, I DIDN’T CARE.

    Now…once reunited and able to focus again…must say I DID CARE! Little rat!

    Linda June 24, 2007 at 1:32 am

    I became THAT MOM when I handed my toddler half a block of cream cheese for breakfast so I could have a conversation on the phone with my non-child friend. The shock was still noticable in her voice even after I explained that it was “chock full of calcium”. (She has since had kids and admitted to giving them ice cream for breakfast-”it’s chock full of calcium too!”)

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