Evidently the Look On My Face Says “Been There, Done That”

A few days ago, I took my whole crew with me into Wal Mart.  We were buying the last-minute school supplies we forgot the first time, when a young mom stopped me.

"Excuse me," she said, nodding at the monkeys children hanging off the side of my basket, "you look like you’ve done kindergarten before."

I told her I had, and how could I help her?  She had a question about a couple of items on her list.  I helped her the best I could, and we parted.

We made our way over to the pharmacy section, and a harried-looking Dad nearly lunged into my basket, so eager was he to ask me a question.  He had a bottle of Pedialyte in one hand and a bottle of the generic stuff in the other.  "Are these the same thing?" he asked.

"Oh, yes," I assured him.  "I always buy generic on those."

He thanked me, and dashed off. 

And I realized that I’ve become That Mom.  The one who has traveled that parenting road so many times that it is etched into my very face.  Someone who is, evidently, worthy of seeking out for advice.  And I wonder, how on earth did that happen?

I feel so often like I’m completely holding on for dear life as I navigate this journey, making the occasional good decision by the very grace of God, not by any good sense on my own part.  I’m keeping so many plates spinning, delicately balancing each one and hoping no one else notices my panic that one of them might fall. 

I’ll remember this, now, when I look at other moms who seem to have all the answers, and I’ll remind myself their journey may feel just as tenuous as mine.  I’ll happily extend my pencil advice in the school-supply section, knowing full well that I’ll pleading for answers from more experienced parents at any given moment. 

We moms have to stick together.

Posted in: Fun

46 thoughts on “Evidently the Look On My Face Says “Been There, Done That”

  1. Rebecca says:

    I was the person that people would poor their lives & heart out to for no particular reason at all. Maybe you’ve got the same sort of thing but people are drawn to you for parenting advice.

  2. Jenn says:

    Wasn’t it you who posted about “the momma code” awhile back? I still think about that when something comes up of that sort. Maybe the whole experienced parent thing is part of the momma code that you’re helping fulfill – And for dads with pedialyte, too 🙂

  3. annettek says:

    Been there! It’s funny how I always get questions from other women in home improvement stores, you know, the big intimidating chains. The men who work there seem to enjoy making us ladies feel stupid if we ask anything. I must look like I know what I doing cause it happens every time I’m there – and that’s a lot!

  4. Lisa says:

    I’m always shocked at those questions too. But then I forget about the gray hairs I am sporting and that “frazzled” mom of three kind of look. I guess it just gives me an Appearance of Knowledge.

  5. Anne Marie says:

    Oh, sooo true! I’m “that Mom” too! But now I’m heading into new teenage territory, and at our high school orientation I found myself going up to another (totally unknown) mom and saying, “You look like you’ve done this high school thing for a while, can you tell me …” She had that same knowing look on her face. Totally sympathetic, totally on my side. Now all I need are some older women in my life to help me travel down that other new road … the “Aunt Flo has left the building, and she took the air conditioner with her” road!!

  6. cardiogirl says:

    Isn’t it funny how we become what we never thought we’d be? I always thought my biological clock was digital; I never heard one tick.
    One husband and 13 years later we now have three girls (7, 4 and 2). And I am known as “so and so’s Mom” (that’s how my daughters’ friends refer to me “Hey, Katie’s Mom, can I have a Band-aid?”)

  7. mopsy says:

    When I’m out with all six kids, I am treated like I have some sort of contagious disease. I’m not “that mom”. I am THAT mom.
    When I’m out with a few of them, I am “that mom” too. I seem to attract pregnant women making registries at Target. I don’t mind answering questions at all—I wish I had more advice from a youngish but experienced mom when I was in their shoes.

  8. Amy says:

    Titus 2:3-4
    The “older” woman to teach the younger woman….
    not word for word…and older I think in knowledge.
    2 thumbs up for you.

  9. Demeter says:

    You’re lucky – all I ever get asked at Walmart is “do you work here”?
    Never mind that fact that I’m not sporting a blue vest OR a name tag! Or that I have two children right next to me. >rolleyes<

  10. Jessica Snell says:

    This makes me laugh – ’cause this last week I was on my old university campus and a lady with a frown came up and said, “This is a weird question but . . . you’re a mom. Do you happen to have any Advil on you?” 😀
    peace of Christ to you,
    Jessica Snell

  11. Laane says:

    When people realise I’m a mom with so many children, more than half of them with autistic spectrum disorder, I get the most interesting questions.
    It’s fun to help other people out.
    I remember my gram making a pot of tea for a few women who asked her about having children.
    Now I do the same…

  12. Keri says:

    When I was in Wal-Mart yesterday, a man asked me where the nearest Babies R’ Us was and I didn’t have my daughter with me. I guess I just look like a mom.

  13. My Twenty Cents Keeps Moving says:

    This happened to me twice this weekend. I went to Olive Garden with my husband and the hostess said “Enjoy your quality time together” as she was seating us. Oh come on, did we really look that desperately in need of quality time? Did we have “parents of 4” written on our forehead? Next thing you know, the pregnant waitress was asking us for parenting advice…

  14. Jennifer says:

    It is so weird that you made the comment about “spinning plates…” one of my dearest friends recently wrote to me to tell me about a current difficulty going on in her life. She said, “I have new respect for Chinese acrobats.” She described life as trying to look nonchalant and happily undistracted while juggling all those spinning plates. Motherhood does have its universal elements!

  15. OMSH says:

    Amen. Triple Amen.
    Like many of those who commented, I too am “that mom”. I’ve taken it a step farther though – I have actually stepped-up to confused looking grandparents or fathers and asked if they needed help.
    I’m alway glad I do – knowing that helping find the right size boys’ undies or style of girls’ clothing, or good cough medicine is so trivial compared to the questions that hover in the back of my mind.
    It is sort of a Pay It Forward, no?

  16. maria says:

    at the youngest’s football practice the other day I overheard a conversation about how far a certain field was. Then I heard someone say, “Oh I’ll ask Maria (me) she always knows.” and alas, after 8 years in that league, I do.

  17. Clemntine says:

    Yeah. That reminds me: I’ve been meaning to ask you how to get blood out of khaki church pants, what does “braise” mean, does a 4-inch knee cut need stitches, is 11 too young for makeup, and is Equate moisturizer as good as Oil of Olay?
    Take your time…

  18. diXymiss says:

    Hey, have you been spying on me? See, I like to wear red. I shop at Tarjay. It’s like I have a giant bullseye on my forehead saying, “desperate shoppers inquire here!” 😉

  19. Jenny from Chicago says:

    Great post. I always appreciated other women (especially when the girls were very young) who looked sympathetic or amused when my kids were acting like “monkeys hopped up on sugar and caffeine”. Those conspiratal smiles or comments like, “oh have I been there.” made it all seem okay. Otherwise, I would have often felt judged by the other people who clearly were judging me.

  20. GiBee says:

    Yeah … wait until Jr. High … or is it Middle School? Oh, and then there’s High School… Don’t worry, though … I’ll be looking TO YOU for advice when my time comes … a gazillion years later!

  21. edj says:

    It’s a weird transition, isn’t it? I find myself giving advice, and a young mom even asked me to mentor her. I think that the only thing I could teach her is what NOT to do, but I guess even that can be helpful.

  22. Catez says:

    “And I wonder, how on earth did that happen?”
    Not wanting to sound morbid but I think that one day that would make a great epitaph. It kinda sums life up. (the quote I mean).

  23. Kathy Gillen/ lessons from the laundry says:

    I have several moms who don’t necessarily know they are my mentors. Watching their decisions about curfews and parties, before I have a child in middle school has helped me parent my own kids. And, I know there are several younger moms who use me for sage advice. Just like my husband who tries to pick up tips for his golf swing by watching pros on TV…we watch other moms in Wal-Mart…the PTA…the preschool pick up…

  24. Angela says:

    There are always those ahead of us on the journey and those who look to us as the seasoned veterans. Working together, we’ll all make it through this whole parenting thing!

  25. Kelley says:

    🙂 I am that mum (as opposed to mom as I am Australian) and also the person that the little old ladies seek out to pour out their life story to. Must have that sort of face. Or perhaps there is a poster up somewhere with my face on it. I see it as a wonderful compliment and it makes my day! My teenage daughters are always amazed thinking that I must know everyone, LOL.

  26. Cara says:

    Oh yes, I love moms like you. I’m the one who’s going up to you and asking. ‘You’ are always so helpful too, thank you 🙂

  27. Vicki says:

    Oh my goodness – I so needed to read this today. I’m a “new” mom – even though my sweet boy is already 13 months old, I still very much feel like a newbie. There are many, many days both hubby & I wonder how on earth parents decide to have a 2nd child – & we have a great kid! I am consistently trying to remind myself that Jesus is there to help in ALL situations – even the ones when it takes me 5 minutes to put on a diaper because my boy is squirming like a wet pig in the mud, or when he’s up for the umpteenth time in the night (yes, still does not sleep much at night), or, well, you understand. Anyways, thank you for your insight & openness, it is a comfort!

  28. Gego says:

    There’s hope for you young moms! When you look like a Grandmother and are one, folks ask if you would watch their kids while they go exchange the national brand for the WMT one. Now, that is after they have discussed the comparisons with a current Mom with kids of her own to chase. Never turned a Mom down, never will. I remember!

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