The boys are rounding a year old. We hear parents and family talk about “how fast time flies when you have children”. I feel silly for ever thinking that was a cliche because it 100% isn’t.
As I have been reflecting on this past year feeling proud and accomplished to still have all of my hair and to not live in my sweats (okay maybe I still do that) I was remembering a moment before I became a mother that taught me something very valuable. A simple moment that I’ll never forget.
Backstory: Bumbos. Those little chairs that come in a variety of adorable colors. They can be used as high chairs and even used for bath time. They are expensive right? We were able to afford one brand new but were going to have to save up for another. One morning I was on the local Facebook baby swapping page and a mother was selling a used Bumbo for ten dollars! I obviously and quite hilariously (very pregnant-ly) jumped off of our couch to meet this woman quickly before anyone else got to her first.
I met her at our local Macy’s parking lot. As I waited for her to come out of the store I noticed she was holding the hands of two little blonde twin boys. She opened the back of her suburban and handed me this Bumbo. I gave her the cash and got back into my car. As she drove off, I had a moment to look at the Bumbo. It was definitely used. There were still smashed crackers on it and some food stains. I was a little surprised. I wasn’t disappointed because I knew that I could just wipe it down. Instead I was just kind of like “hmm that’s kind of gross. If I was selling something I would think first to wipe it all down, right?”
Four months later. We were run down tired. Feeding babies every three hours through the day and night. Dealing with baby constipation, colic, doctors appointments and all the while being 8 hours away from friends and family also severely sleep deprived…something hit me as we took out the Bumbo seats for the boys to finally try.
It wasn’t that the woman who sold me the Bumbo just didn’t feel like wiping it down. It’s that she is exhausted. It’s that she’s constantly trying to coral one twin while the other is chewing on a power cord. It’s that one is sleeping soundly while the other is crying in his bed because he had a nightmare. It’s because one twin is sick and despite her best efforts to wipe down every section of the house and their toys…the other gets sick anyway.
It wasn’t that this mother just wanted to make a quick 10$ to get her nails done. It’s that the 10$ was probably going into her gas tank to get her boys to daycare and her to work. Or to buy a gallon of milk and some eggs because she has two extra mouths to feed.
I apologize for the novel, but the point is that I judged the situation before I truly knew what it was like in the life of a mom. Of a twin mom no less. Her Bumbo wasn’t dirty because she was an untidy person. It was dirty because the life of a mother is sometimes and most often messy! If there isn’t food stains from a week old fit in the high chair then there is definitely a booger in your hair or snack puffs stuck to your pillow.
This woman and a million other moms are doing the best they can with what they have. I learned that day to not judge the woman selling a dirty Bumbo. Or the woman running into Walmart in sweats to the baby section for diapers. Or the family paying for baby food in WIC checks.
I gave that Bumbo away now to another family in need, like I was in need.
And guess what?
It was dirty.