Friday, May 10, 2013

Mommy Sign

There is this scene in “For Love of the Game” where Kelly Preston’s character is explaining to Kevin Costner that she believed men and women should wear signs around their necks, basically saying who they are or their mood at any given time (one example was “shallow”).  Love that movie.

In years past, I could have used a “Sister.” With brothers a number of years younger than me, it would have been helpful for all the disapproving glances I got from people who I assumed I was a (EXTREMELY) young mother. It’s also a sign I would have worn proudly – being “Sissy” or “Sis” to my four brothers is by far my one of my two most cherished roles in life.

During my time trying to conceive, I would have worn an “Infertility” sign to ward off questions, help people understand why the 12 pregnant bellies that just passed me in the grocery stores made me want to run crying to my car. That sign would have said just about everything that needed to be said about that time in my life.

The first time I ever REALLY felt like wearing a sign around my neck was the first time I left the house (for barely a 45-minute trip to the store) without my new baby. From about around five months into pregnancy until that day, I didn’t need a sign. Belly and then baby were my signs. For the first time in six months, people didn’t automatically know that part of my life.

I don’t always need my Mommy Sign, but when I’m away from my sweet son, sometimes I feel like I want to let people know that I’m a Mom.

Like the woman at the restaurant last week where I was having lunch. It was a work lunch, so I was certainly not in “Mommy mode.”

But, I looked over and saw a woman with an infant carrier and car seat lunching with a friend. I knew immediately that her baby must be younger than mine because she had brand-new baby Mommy written all over her. My mind immediately went into Mommy mode. All I wanted to do was ask how old her baby was and how they were doing. Just . . . talk baby.

Later, I noticed she’d pulled out a nursing cover and was breastfeeding her baby at the table. I wanted so much to give her a “hey, good for you” and a “been there, done that” smile. But at that point, I would have looked like crazy lady staring at the mom breastfeeding. I was very clearly not an obvious Mommy at that point. I was any other working woman at a working lunch with co-workers.
But, if I’d had a “Mommy” sign, I could have easily made the gesture without seeming like some weirdo.

I never thought I’d be the person who defines herself in that way, and I still don’t really think I do.

But there are times, when I’m out without my little guy that I feel like I want everybody there to know that I have a child and that I’m a Mommy.

I imagine there will come a time in the future when I will feel the need for a sign that says something along the lines of “not ‘just’ Mommy.” But, for now, I’m just “Mommy.”

What sign do you wear on a daily basis?

Ashley Bearden is a full-time working Mommy to  son Will after two and a half years of trying to get pregnant.

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