Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Who's Going to Lend a Helping Hand?

If you see a mom with her kids, who obviously has her hands full, do you open the door for her? Pick up the sock that fell from her baby's foot that she hasn't noticed? Give a knowing and understanding smile of encouragement when you see her wrestling with a squirmy and screaming baby?

I would like to think that most people would answer yes to all of the above. And if you're a woman yourself, especially if you're a mother, I would like to think that it would be a resounding yes. However, it seems that isn't always the case.

When I was pregnant with Peyton, I was talking to my mom one day about how it seemed more men were willing to go out of their way to help than any women did. Open doors when they saw me waddling towards the store with Bailey by my side. Offer to pick something up I (or Bailey) might have dropped. Give up a seat at a party when they see me standing in heels and carefully keeping balance against the protruding belly threatening to topple me over.

Now that I have two children in tow, quick errands aren't as quick or easy as they used to be, and the trend with men being more helpful has continued.

While I was on maternity leave, I got in the routine of going grocery shopping on Mondays instead of the normal Sunday shopping we usually did. This way we didn't have to use our weekend time together as a family to do this errand. I would strap Peyton into my Maya wrap (which deserves it's own post because I LOVE it!) and put Bailey into the front of the cart and off we'd go. Usually Peyton cooperated and would sleep on me while we shopped, but there was one day that she wasn't having any of it. There we were in the produce aisle, me trying my best to calm Peyton down who was red faced and screaming and Bailey who was starting to get a little impatient and me, who, well, was also starting to get a little impatient. I tried to steer clear of other shoppers and did finally manage to get Peyton under control, but not before noticing a few looks of annoyance from more than one shopper...all female! Really? Peyton was maybe 3 or 4 weeks at this point. Guess what, babies cry!

Then, in the same trip, I was making my way down one of the aisles. Now, since Peyton was asleep by this point she was starting to lean over my shoulder, which meant I had one hand on her in the sling and the other guiding the cart. Not always easy to do. This certain aisle had several store employees in it trying to stock shelves. I was trying my best to maneuver around the pallets on the floor, the other shoppers and the handed. The other shoppers in the aisle, who were women, just looked at me. Never once moving their carts to maybe make it a little easier.

Now, on to the part of the story that restored my faith in humanity. While going down another crowded aisle, I came to an impasse, an unattended cart. As I was trying to get my own loaded down cart around it, a man hurried over and moved it saying "Here, let me get out of your way, you obviously have your hands full." I thanked him profusely.

After we finished our trip and headed outside it was time to unload everything. I was placing the bags in the back of my car with Peyton still strapped to me and Bailey in the cart. This very nice older man came over and asked if he could help me. I told him no thank you, but that I really appreciated his offer. He asked again, making sure I really didn't need any help, and again I told him no, but thank you.

Okay, now let me say this - I don't feel like I am owed any extra help just because I have two children. What bothers me is that this story is just one of many experiences I've had where it seems men are more apt to help a pregnant woman/mom out with her kids than women are. I just don't get it! I'm sure the few of you that read this little blog are the exception, because I know (even if it is just through your blogs) you, and you are all generous kind people, but that doesn't seem to be the case with the others. At least not in my experiences. What about you all? Have you noticed this too? Or have I just had bad luck?

1 comment:

Danielle said...

You are not alone! It is the men (and even boys) who are the ones who always hold the door, ask if they can help, etc. I'll occasionally have a woman hold the door for me but it always seems like such an inconvenience for her.

And like you said, babies cry and moreover, we have to eat too!

Please know that I would definitely move the cart for you! I am definitely more aware now and always try to help when I can.