You see, what I'm going to do here is not judge. I'm going to describe a small scene. This is because I don't judge. I observe. I listen and I watch. I am in no position to judge and I preach support. As mothers we should support each other and not judge. So picture this and do not judge, just observe as I did. It is not easy...
I'd been on a rare child-free afternoon out with friends. My head all happy and giddy, a little fuzzy from a few glasses of wine. I get the busy bus home. Woman drags on a pull-along car with her son and flashes the driver a ticket. He shakes his head. "That's an illegal ticket that love - well out, " the scrunched up piece of paper is not ticket shaped. "I'll pay then," she searches her purse and hands him a £2 coin - the flat fare. He gives her £1 change, shaking his head. I sit down, glad for the seat.
The bus is packed. It's the Easter holidays, lots of kids, lots of Mums and Dads. Lots of noise. I notice three young children who seem to be jumping from seat to seat. The boy is about two, wearing a grubby football kit - no shoes or socks on. His mother picks him up by the arm. My heart is in my mouth as she carries him down the middle of the bus by his twig-like arm, body dangling, she puts him in his buggy and loudly tells him to stay there. More people get off the bus. I see these three children with two young women. I notice them because their children are similar ages to Rosie and Alice. Can't wait to get in and cuddle them. The boy with no shoes or socks on is in his buggy. Two older girls, around four or five, dressed in summer dresses stand up on the bus seats jumping, their faces covered in muck.
The Mums talk louder than necessary. I learn that they have been to the beach. And now they are on the way to a friend's house. It's 8.00pm and I'm looking forward to getting in and kissing my girls goodnight - their warm sleepy heads against mine. One of the girls on the bus starts to cry "You are NOTHING BUT A WHINGER!!" One of the Mums shout, startling everyone. The little boy once again escapes his pram and runs up and down the bus, no shoes, no socks, bare feet running on the rancid bus floor. The Mum swears. She picks him up once again by the arm, but lets go as he squirms. A woman smiles politely and tells the Mums that they should try and keep him in his buggy - it's not safe running up and down the bus, "you only get one chance with kiddies." The Mum explains that he's so quick and such hard work - at the beach they thought they had lost him - but he was just sat with another family, playing in the sand.
The bigger girls cry. They are jumping up and down on the bus seats. "Mum we want a drink." Mum explains that they have had all their Fruit Shoots - there were loads under the buggy and they have had them all. More crying. More jumping. But then Mum finds manages to find two bottles, and hands them to the girls "here you go, sit down with your drinks, we're nearly there now." The younger boy is climbing on the luggage frame at the front. Mum drags him by the arm again - he cries out, but she speaks softly and says "Come on, here is your drink." I watch as she pulls a two litre bottle of Sprite from the bottom of the buggy, and pours it into his drinking bottle. He complains that he is cold. She takes off her cardigan, wraps it around him, his dirty bare feet sticking out from the bottom. She tells him she loves him and that she is cold.
I watch. I observe.
We get off at the same stop, we walk our separate ways. I try and shake this unfamiliar feeling I have.
I wouldn't call it judgement...