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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    Heather K June 9, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    I guess I missed that leash-bashing the first time around. Haven’t used one yet, but hey it may yet find a place in my bag of tricks. I got a to o’ stares today dragging my three year old by the forearm through the Wegman’s parking lot today screaming about something or another. Oh, wait, I should have taken a minute, gotten down to her level, blah blah blah. It’s quite a relief to get to that place where you just don’t care as much what other people think. They don’t you and they don’t know your kid.

    Mom101 June 9, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    I suppose I’m THAT MOM when, in trying (and failing) to get Thalia out of the sandbox at the playground and go home, I hear myself say, “want to go for ice cream?”

    I haven’t cried about it yet, although I did just cry a little for you.

    mothergoosemouse June 9, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    Cringing on your behalf. Although, still somewhat jealous of the H&M proximity.

    I think I first realized I was THAT MOM when I strolled Tacy to day care, holding the stroller with one hand, an umbrella over my head with the other, and realized that there was no way I was going to look presentable at work that day, and that this stroller was really fucking unwieldy, and that I was cold and hungry and soaking wet, but that was just how it had to be.

    slouching mom June 9, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    I knew I was that mom when I practically emptied a playground because toddler Ben wandered too close to the edge of a steep climber and nearly walked off of it (five feet drop or so). I yelled, “Jesus [insert epithet here] Christ!”

    New in town, looking to make friends, I can assure you that my outburst failed to achieve the desired effect in this churchy town in which I live. BTW, Ben was fine, at least.

    Mouse June 9, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    Carrying Scooter under my arm, football-style, with him screaming, out of a bookstore. It was one of those places with the Thomas the Tank Engine set-up. Until recently, we knew that if he started playing at a bookstore, the crying fit was the only way out of there. No “5 minutes” or other reasoning, not even bribery, would get us out of there quietly. And I got to the point where I didn’t mind the looks we got on the way out if it meant he had played happily for 30 minutes to an hour.

    sam June 9, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    Oh how I love you C.

    I am the leash (very, very soon!) wielding yelling mom in her jogging pants and messy rat nest hair. No shame here!

    Jenn June 9, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    I visited your blog by chance, and this really made me laugh. This is just too funny.

    moosh in indy. June 9, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    I became that mom when I loaded the Backyardigans onto my iPod, bought a speaker and handed it to my kid to keep her occupied while I browsed the sale rack at The Gap. I solidified my awesome status when I handed the dressing room attendant 6 items with a toddler on my shoulders and sweaty sweaty pits from carrying said toddler on my shoulders because I forgot my leash.
    I could cry-but mama needs her retail therapy.

    meno June 9, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    It was when, after (foolishly) stating that i would NEVER feed my child in the car, i pulled over at a gas station to buy cheese-its. ANYTHING to shut her up.

    Lawyer Mama June 9, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    Ahhhh, my sides hurt! Stop it!

    I’m am SOOOO That Mom. When did I realize it? It could have been the first time I had to carry my son out of the grocery store kicking and screaming. It could be the time I ended up chasing him through the mall after he, laughing hysterically, hijacked the stroller with his BABY BROTHER IN IT! But no, I’m going to go with the time he picked up his brother’s poopy diaper off of a changing table in the mall restroom and tossed it out into the mall crowd. Yep, that one wins.

    But in dressing rooms, I always strap his butt in the stroller. (We have a double.)

    Her Bad Mother June 9, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    WonderBaby was having an off-stroller day (refused to stay in it, and, as she can undo its clasps, there is really very little that I can do when she decides to shun it). And, in any case, it was a non-stroller friendly change room. Hence the desire for the leash, or some duct tape.

    Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" June 9, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    I am THAT mom…but I refuse to admit it to anyone but you.

    I am in total denial on that area of momhood.

    In my head, I’m this cool, hip mom…but in reality. I shriek. A lot.

    flutter June 9, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    you care, just about the right things….your kid instead of your dignity. Ah, a tangled swap…..

    jen June 9, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    oh yes. the non caring how i look mom? check.

    i can’t subscribe to the leash, but otherwise, am behind you and your double trouble pairs of checked shoes.

    painted maypole June 9, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    I was THAT MOM this week, when, in hopes of getting her to behave, I promised her a surprise when we got home (this is not a bribe, right, but positive incentive, if you do it before they are misbehaving?) the treat was, of course, a video, which not only bought me the good behavior while we were out, but then over an hour of time to do something else after we were home.

    Jessica June 9, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    On a recent warm day, when I looked in the mirror, noticed that the organic cotton nursing pads were entirely visible under my tissue tee, and said, aloud, “oh, fuck it.” i considered putting a cardigan over the shirt, but then i said, “seriously, fuck it.”

    Redneck Mommy June 9, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    I have been THAT mom for so long that I have a neon tattoo emblazoned on my forehead so all the other snooty mommas can recognize me upon site.

    The day I realized I was THAT mom? Probably the day I was holding a squalling infant who was rooting for a very over-filled breast while trying to wrangle an 18 month old who was having a full blow temper tantrum in the grocery store line up.

    It was a toss up between selling her to the nearest child-slavery ring I could locate or beating her into submission.

    Instead,I bribed her with Smarties (which I opened before purchasing) while the other mothers behind me sneered and rolled their eyes at my inept parenting.

    I have been THAT mom ever since.

    But man, how I wish I was there to see you chase WB through the store in your bra.

    Think of the pics. My stats would go thru the roof!!!

    Not that I’d post that pic. I wouldn’t do that to you…(fingers crossed behind back.)

    SUEB0B June 9, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    I love you BECAUSE you are THAT mom.

    Pattie June 9, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    Heheheh…at least you still had your bra on…it could have been worse, right? :)
    I think all of us who have children can attest to feeling like this at some point. Wildly flailing about trying to chase down an out of control child. I have had so many of these episodes, they number “too many to count”….and with three kids, just multiply the embarassing numbers. ACK!

    Maman June 9, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    Please! I was that mom when I was chasing a toddler who was making her escape to Diversey Avenue and I was struggling on the ice with her infant sister. Only eleven years ago they didn’t have the baby leash so I used a dog leash either hooked into her little jeans belt loops or onto her coat.

    You do what you have to do to keep your children safe.

    kgirl June 9, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    I knew I was that mom when I wore the shit on, spit on tank tops for one more year because it was less effort than going shopping with a toddler. Good times!

    ewe are here June 9, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    I’ve been THAT mom all day today.

    It’s been a very very long day out here in mommy-all-alone-with-2-wee-ones-when-the-hell-is-my-husband-getting-back-from-his-trip land. There was yelling, chasing, sobbing (theirs) and quiet tears (mine).


    Kyla June 9, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    Yeah, I use a leash because KayTar is partially deaf and delayed and won’t walk in public without that added security (that is the quick explanation). But man do I ever get nasty looks for it from people who have no business giving them.

    This story? Perfectly hilarious.

    Marymurtz June 9, 2007 at 6:50 pm

    Being childless for the first 15 years of our marriage, I recall working in early childhood development programs and rolling my eyes at the moms who never could remember the names of the teachers, who hustled in late when there were only two children left, who sometimes trolled in after 9 a.m. in sweats to leave their children for the day while they took a “sick” day to catch up on laundry.

    Now I am that mom…I turn on Tivo’ed episodes of Sesame Street for my daughter so I can catch up on email. I tell her it’s 8:30 and put her to bed sometimes when it’s only 8:00 because one more question will put me over the edge.

    And my sister and her husband have my daughter overnight because I just need time to myself. Don’t worry about being THAT mom. We are ALL that mom.

    Christina June 9, 2007 at 7:49 pm

    I knew I was That Mom when I subjected non-parent friends to a constant repeat of the Flower Song by the Wiggles in my car when we were on a long drive and I needed Cordy to go to sleep. I think they still hate me for that, but getting her to sleep was more important.

    Joeymom June 9, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    I stopped buying clothes in stores. I buy them online and have them shipped to my door. Or more exactly, my mom buys them online and has them shipped to my door, because I can’t afford them.

    But I a definitely one of those moms everyone stares at. I became one of “them” when we took Joey to the beach, and he melted down leaving Trimpers. It was such a scene that one of the guys working a game booth tried to tell Joey- OVER THE LOUDSPEAKER- to listen to his Mom. I had to swing him up over my shoulders (likea sack of potatoes) and hoof it out of there to a quiet back street, child still screaming. There was no other way to get him out of the overload. :P

    crazymumma June 9, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    I heard it years ago. But the sad thing is I never paid attention.

    Oh my gawd that was funny, I am still wiping the tears from my eyes.

    NotSoSage June 9, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    Please, I am so NOT THAT mom.

    Really, I’m not.

    Except for that one time, but I’ve since recovered.


    (Do I have you convinced?)

    Okay, I’m THAT mom because I know that banana stains on black clothes look like something else altogether and I have still worn those stained clothes to work because I don’t have time or clean laundry enough to change.

    Damn it.

    Harvest Mom June 9, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    Years ago, I called a friend of mine “The Carol Show”, because wherever she went, with several dogs and two young children, chaos and insanity seemed to follow.

    Flash ahead 10 years. I’ve got 3 of my dogs and my 2 kids — one toddling, one an infant — in the vet’s office for a routine visit. Should have been an easy 10 minute in-and-out sort of thing. In the small exam room with the dogs milling about wrapping their leashes around vet, assistant, kids, me; toddler running around the room between my legs, under the leashes, around the vet staff; my infant needing to nurse RIGHT THAT MINUTE (shirt went up and breast came out with nary a thought to who else was in the room), and I held the baby in one arm against my breast and simultaneously shuffled dogs around and fished out a snack for toddler with the other. Eventually they shifted us out to the waiting room where I then had to change both kids diapers on the waiting room bench while the technician tried to give me instructions about a medication for one of the dogs and the receptionist desperately tried to get me to pay my bill, while my dogs were busy tying themselves in knots around the other clients legs.

    That, THAT, was when I said (out loud even) “Oh my god! I’ve become The HarvestMom Show!”.

    I’d like to say it’s gotten easier since (my kids are now 6 and 4). But it’s not. I still occassionally have that out-of-body experience while I’m holding each boy apart by the back of their shirts and threatening them within an inch of their lives in a checkout line, where I wonder, sometimes aloud, “who IS this person?”

    Virtualsprite June 9, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    I am totally that mom, and I dont’ even care anymore.

    Well, maybe just a little. I have a toddler and two almost-teenagers now. The older children care.

    Jen June 9, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    Oh I am that Mom alright…I live it and breathe it everyday.

    You know I was somewhere recently (where I cannot recall sadly) and they had little seats with straps in the change room to presumably strap n your tyke while you change. Hmmn. I will try hard to remember, perhaps you could buy all your clothes there?

    I am a stroller gal myself. I always used it for such adventures and tried to fit those extra large change rooms so I didn’t have to ever remove the child.

    We did use a leash for Papoosie Girl which we called her harness, which I am sure makes it a lot better. She was an early walker (11 months) and it was so much easier than chasing this very tiny person around who insisted on charging full steam ahead. We got comments and stares and used it anyway – her safety was always was first concern, not other people’s issues. I will say this though for every nasty stare there was at least one person per outing who wanted to know where we got it.

    Heather June 9, 2007 at 9:49 pm

    LOL! I’ve been cursing my skinny jeans and low riders for months on end. Isn’t there somewhere we could burn them all? That’s probably not very green.

    I became THAT mom last month at the library when I was holding crying baby in arms and trying to drag my screaming toddler away from the dvd section so we could go home for lunch & naps. I stayed those 5 critical minutes too long and became THAT mom. I even did the, “Get up. Get up. Stop that! Get up and come her NOW!,” chant.

    Mimi June 9, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    Ha. Think of the opening sequence of the first episode of Malcolm in the Middle, when the mom ansers the door topless, because it’s that kind of morning.

    Being that Mom? Menas keeping your head around what’s actually important. My tits? Who cares. Losing my toddler? That matters.

    And skinny jeans: I show my ass all the time, dammit, and I’m trying so hard not to. I used to be cool. No more. Don’t care. Welcome to the club. Let’s at least wear nice shoes and buy non-tatty bras, ok?

    mayberry June 9, 2007 at 10:49 pm

    I am THAT mom whose toddler chattered through 2 songs in this afternoon’s matinee performance of the Lion King… I am REALLY sorry to all those seated around us. And the performers.

    *hangs head in shame*

    Leash wouldn’t have done me much good. It would have, though, that time he escaped in the grocery store and I was trapped in the checkout line behind the cart and couldn’t reach him until he streaked across about 10 aisles.

    Christine June 9, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    Wander over my way today (Saturday) and you’ll see why I am also That Mom.

    A few simple words: Groceries. Screaming. Toddler.

    Megan (Velveteen Mind) June 9, 2007 at 11:15 pm

    I love that photo. Really. It’s just damn spot-on perfect.

    I think you could have posted just that photograph and I could have guessed the rest of the story.

    God help us.

    Izzy June 10, 2007 at 12:26 am

    I’ll never fully denounce leashes. My son is what you call SPIRITED which means that given the opportunity, he, too, will scoot under dressing room doors and run away, or make a mad dash from the play area and keep running until he reaches Express and climbs one table of shirts and then onto another taller table of shirts and stands up there squealing like he’s king of the fucking world. That just happened the other day and seriously, a leash isn’t looking so bad, especially when we’re in parking lots, busy sidewalks with cars flying by etc.

    So yes, I will be THAT MOM who gets all the dirty looks but how can I care when safety issues and potential streaking moments where I blind people with my ultra white flabby belly are on the table?

    melody June 10, 2007 at 3:49 am

    I am so thrilled that my youngest children are now of the age where I can embarrass the hell out of them. Pay back is so awesome!

    Thanks for the laugh and for the memories you brought back to me. :)

    Mrs. Chicky June 10, 2007 at 8:49 am

    I had that day. And I became that mother when I had to grab my toddler by the tip of her foot before she completely escaped from the confines of the Target dressing room (where, I might add, I was trying on bathing suits. Oh yes.) and dragged her, belly down, by her toes back into the dressing room. And then I practically had to pin her to the ground with my foot to keep her from escaping again.

    Think of it this way, at least you had a bra on. I’m pretty sure I flashed someone a piece of my goods while dragging Chicky back into that dressing room.

    Beck June 10, 2007 at 9:06 am

    I’ve been exactly there. The scars from seeing me in my bra have likely faded by now for the innocent bystanders…

    mcewen June 10, 2007 at 9:57 am

    Excellent posting and painfully true!

    Sarah June 10, 2007 at 10:33 am

    Sweet Vishnu, I am that mom. My son is not even 1, and he’s already thwarted my clothes shopping by crawling out of sight from the change room, forcing me to dash after him in my nursing bra and the like. I’m screwed when he actually starts walking.

    becks June 10, 2007 at 10:46 am

    Better you than me. I have a three month old in addition to my 19 month old, so my bra is milk stained and my stomach is still lined with purple stretch marks… not to mention the muffin top, and the fact that chances are I wouldn’t have had time to shower that morning, never mind shave my underarms.
    I still haven’t bought a double stroller yet (my infant carseat is a Peg and I don’t think I want to commit to the big bulky costly Peg double, I’m thinking I’ll wait for a while and get a maclaren) so my little guy is constantly running away from me and I often find myself pushing the stroller with one hand and carrying big brother with the other. Infact, I refuse to go to the mall with the two kids by myself.

    MommyKnows June 10, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    bwahaha … too funny!

    Vix June 10, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    I was that mom after a panicked disappearance in the middle of Bloomingdales. I tried to pretend i wasn’t that bad because i did the wrist-to-wrist leash never the harness. I realized i have to be that mom one day in the airport passing other leash mom with the knowing look that we have to when i got a look of disgust from a woman who’s kid promptly broke away and took off towards the gate. Serves her right.

    Crunchy Carpets June 10, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    I never shop alone with my kids unless forced.

    A friend of mine was trying on bathing suits when hers made an escape…into the mall.

    You can imagine the rest.

    The worst I get is my son exclaiming how LARGE my tummy is or THOSE PANTS DON’T FIT YOU MOM!!! THEY ARE TOO SMALL.

    Thank you son..thanks for the intel

    Oh, The Joys June 10, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    Canada called to tell me there was one SMOKIN’ HOT NEKKID MAMA running around the H&M. I wouldn’t worry too much – they tell me you’ve still got it.

    Niksmom June 10, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    ROFLMAO! Found you through Mom-NOS’ site. OMG, I think I snarfed my iced coffee. (Wouldn’t have bee so bad but those ice cubes…OUCH!)

    Your post is exactly the reason I don’t go shopping with my son! He doesn’t walk but he can scoot and crawl like a fast little mutha!

    Jennifer Playgroupie June 10, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    I’m so sorry to be laughing. It’s a supportive laugh, really, not an “I’m laughing AT you” laugh.

    I knew last Thursday. My 4 week old was squalling and spitting up down my shirt, while my 19 month old was running around the no longer quiet library yelling “no.”

    Great day it was. Hmph.

    Lady M June 10, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    You know how the Quidditch ball in the Harry Potter books/movies has a mind of their own and flies around wherever it wants while everyone runs after trying to make it go into the goal? Yeah, that’s what this weekend with Q has been. No leash, but only because we haven’t seen one for sale yet.

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