… 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?