But what is a PPAH?
I used to call myself the pre-parent type of a-hole (bonus points if you count how many times I use that phrase in this piece) aka the PPAH (pre-parent-a**-hole). Let’s paint a picture of who this person was, seven years ago. I had an opinion on everything parenting. Vaccines? Circumcision? Organic foods? Yep. But it wasn’t these things that led me to self diagnose myself as an PPAH..it was the fact that I did the following that really pushed me over the edge…
The eye roll
Oh mama’s of small children, I AM SORRY that I may have ever rolled my eyes at you. It wasn’t that I didn’t like children, I very much wanted a flock of my own, but rather it was the fact that I thought I could parent better in public. “Our kids will not be allowed to speak to me that way”, I would proclaim when I got home to my husband. HA! My oldest is a sweet, articulate child but she also constantly reminds me that I have little control over what she says/does in public, threats or not.
Ok, I may go off a bit here. PPAH me never considered how hard it is for parents to navigate a toddler, and a stroller with its own mind. Today I literally stuck my bum in the door at McDonalds, while trying at the same time to squeeze the stroller in the same door and hold the hand of my eldest. If you were there, you would have seen me frantically looking at you, silently pleading for someone to come and offer to hold the door for us. I saw lots of eyes watching to see the outcome, but none got up. It was the same when we left. I don’t begrudge you, PPAH me would have done the same. We just don’t know right?
Butting in line
This kind of makes you a butt. I know that your issue is pressing, and being stuck behind my brigade of babies, toddlers and stroller gear is no better than ants at your picnic, but please, let us ahead of you. Chances are we’ve had to navigate multiple small children through a store filled with the wonders of better food than we have at home. By the time we reach the checkout, we’re at the end of the proverbial tunnel and THISCLOSE to getting the eff out of there, apart from the marathon that is loading all of those babies in the car. Letting us go first saves us from even one minute of screaming, begging, or impulse buying 12 chocolate bars at the checkout, because you know, #selfcare.
Offering my tinies things
This is from love, I know it is. But PLEASE do not offer my children stickers, candy, etc.. Chances are (for me anyways) I’ve already enlisted a pretty solid offer from my bribe stash in order to be at the store with ALL of my children that day (yes I only have two, but my youngest easily counts for at least three). Offering them extra just gives them the instant gratification of reward, without finishing the requested behaviour. Sounds strict, but for my kiddos (you do you mama), what I do works, and this completely derails that. That leads me to my next and final point…
Touching my baby (HELL NO)
Oh gosh, as a mama we are all different. Some mamas don’t mind a little baby snug, hand holding or offering, but this one does. I had a baby who spent much of her first months in the hospital and I cannot tell you the amount of times a stranger would attempt to touch her while we made our few jaunts out in public. I would carefully cover her because so many people tried to touch her face! I completely get it, I was totally one of these people prior. I wanted to hold all the babies, having no clue why they were obsessive about handwashing. Here’s the thing, babies have junk immune systems and while I appreciate your offers of hygiene (“I just washed them an hour ago!”), it’s my baby, my rules. Always ask before touching. Chances are I’ll have you sanitize and then let you at ‘em. Obviously this gets less strict as baby ages, but always better to ask anyways.
I should probably add a disclaimer here and reiterate that I do not represent all mothers. Far from it, as I am probably more strict than most. I’m not here to make anyone feel bad about their choices, or what they’ve found works for them but I think we can all relate to wanting things to be easier when out with our humans. I know for myself, packing up my kids (and all of the gear) is exhausting in itself, and to have a kind smile from a stranger, or a door opened for me, completely changes my day. I’m sure if you do the same, the gratefulness you’ll see in that mama will make the few extra seconds out of your errand worthwhile.
**(personal images provided by @sashablaneyphotography)**