I feel like the zoo is a perfect place to realise how fucking hard motherhood is.
I’ve bought a membership so I’m like there every week. I broke the mould of anxiety and went once by myself and now I feel like I’m a pro at it.
I walked around with my children and joined the cue of other mums wrangling their children from animal to animal. I watched this mother hold one child and attempt to give fruit to the other. Her child who wanted fruit was tugging at her and repeating “strawberries” over and over in a monotone voice. I empathetically felt her bubble come from her stomach to her throat when she yelled “CAN YOU WAIT? I can’t do it all!”
I was going to ask her if she needed help but you know sometimes I’m a little creepy and people get funny, so I grabbed my kids and we went and saw the lion.
But I get her… you constantly feel you are pulled in every direction and you are frustrated. You can’t do it all and you want them to understand you’re doing your best.
We don’t rarely see each other. Us fellow mums. Although we are sometimes apologising to each other without looking up as our eyes are firmly locked on our own kids. Quite often we are running after our sprinting child. Pulling a child down from something he shouldn’t climb. Bargaining to leave. Wiping up snotty noses, handing over healthy snacks in between viewing the giraffes and the elephants. Applying sunscreen, fixing hats, giving drink bottles out…holding up our children and pointing like we are ready to poke a hole in the ozone layer so that our kid can see the animal. “It’s there! there! OVER THERE! Can you see him?” (Every animal is a him to me.)
As much as we enjoy it, the zoo isn’t for us anymore, it’s for our kids.
As usual the kids all wrestled each other for front spot… and all the parents made encouraging comments about “wow.. he’s a big lion”… even though we have seen the lion a million times, and we know he’s big… we are still excited they are excited. And animals never get old…but we stand back so that other children can enjoy it…
And always in the midst of temper tantrums and bribing my child with two ice creams so we can leave the lions, there are always the young childless couples. Looking at you and saying in their head “we will never be you”
The ones that walk around with backpacks and short shorts and take pictures with mega cameras…that can go from animal to animal with ease… and frown upon your child. They look at your child like it’s another person that’s in their viewing way. They look at you, like you’re annoying with your dishevelled state and boat for a pram, while you try to manoeuvre around them, apologising for being a nuisance that you feel their judging eyes think of you… and they sigh to themselves, and you know they are wishing that parents wouldn’t frequent the zoo so much. But we do… and we won’t stop. (Muahahaha)
Luca (ny son) was jumping around and jumped in front of some young guy. The guy rolled his eyes and sighed… and I immediately apologised… and immediately regretted it. I felt like yelling “fuck you! He’s just a kid”…
But I didn’t.
but I did secretly hope that he one day has a hyperactive 2 year old and realises that it’s bloody hard to go to a public place, keep composure, ensure your kid is safe, entertain him, carry him when he’s decided he’s had enough of walking, and keep your cool when he’s kicking and screaming at you, hitting you in the face because you won’t let him climb into an enclosure.
And he realises that us parents have it tough. We are trying to coexist with you so you don’t think of us or our kids as little brats.
Because you might think it sucks to be us, with sweat on on our brows and stress on our faces, you might think you’ll never be us…
But you will one day, and you’ll be stressed the fuck out too… you’ll join the club… but trust me the zoo becomes much more enjoyable when you have children, because no amount of sighs and grumbles will take the place of your child’s face when he sees he’s favourite animal and says “wow!”
Melts ya bloody heart (lol) 🙈