Faking It in Momland at the mall

When we went shopping yesterday, I’m sure my friend had no idea she was taking me places I had never been before. I’m used to her chatting with everyone she meets and showing them all pictures of her grandchildren. I’m happy for her. At the clothing store where she talked me into a new Easter outfit, I smiled and nodded as she talked about childbirth with the store manager whose second child is due next month. It was hard not to stare at the woman’s “baby bump” in her snug knit ensemble and to wonder who would take care of the store when she left on maternity leave. But hey, whatever.

Then my friend took me someplace that hadn’t been on our agenda. Suddenly she had to buy her grandsons Easter outfits. We entered something called The Children’s Place. Oh my gosh. Miniature clothing everywhere. Tiny shirts, tiny argyle vests, tiny bow ties, onesies, twosies, threesies, I don’t know. If I had a child to shop for, this would be Disneyland. The sales prices were amazing. The merchandise was in disarray, as if a herd of rabid monkeys had come through, but my friend quickly hit it off with the clerk. Out came the baby pictures again as they compared babies and sizes and family situations while I wandered around feeling like a visitor from another planet. I have never seen so many children’s things in one place. For me, it was like a whole store full of doll clothes and I wasn’t allowed to play. Not only will I never have children or grandchildren, but nobody in my life is having babies these days. They’re either too old or they have put off marriage so long they may never get around to it. My friends’ grandchildren all live far away, so I’m not likely to ever see them except in photos on the smart phone or iPad.

I didn’t say much at that store. I let them talk while I looked at things and made color suggestions. As they continued to talk while my friend signed up for their rewards club, saying she would definitely be back, I rested on a chair near the cash register. I couldn’t say anything about my own children or grandchildren, and there seemed no point in telling them I didn’t have any kids. I just waited until they were through and we could go on to the Nike store.

I love my friend, and I’m grateful she includes me in her life, but when I mentioned that I had never been in a store like that before, it just didn’t register. Her mind was busy thinking about her babies. So I pretended I belonged, just like the other women.

Have you had an experience like this?

6 thoughts on “Faking It in Momland at the mall

  1. I sometimes “treat” myself to a look in the baby department in the shops. I look at the little girls' cute dresses and cute shoes. I let myself think about how lovely it would be to have a little one to buy these for and watch her run around. As an ex-foster carer of four pre-teens to teens, I know reality differs from the “dream” though. We shopped for the kids we cared for. It was often enjoyable, but the reality was you still couldn't buy just what you liked the look of. There were (boring) practicalities to consider. It was halfway through summer and the dress would only fit until the end of the season. They will have outgrown it by next year; They have dresses very similar to it already; The shoes don't match any other outfits they already have; they are cute shoes but won't last two minutes for walking to and from school; and as pre-teens they want to have a big say in what they want (and it’s never what you want them to have!). And the really difficult one: that the item of clothing you want to buy is for the child who it is always claimed is “your favourite” so if you buy it what are you going to get for the others so it’s all fair?But, yes I do still look. Always on my own for a bit of a dream. On a good day I could manage a browse with maybe one other friend who would be shopping for her daughter and son. Or with my cousin who would be shopping for grandchildren. I would seriously struggle with a group of contemporaries all shopping for their kids. I'd probably go home.


  2. Sue, dear heart…life can frequently be like lurching from a couples-only resort (and I'm the only single person there, inexplicably) to seeming like being on a Grandparents/Grandchildren Disney Cruise (and somehow I'm there with NO children or worse NO grandchildren). By golly I get to the point where I don't care about shark-infested waters. I'm headin' overboard and swimming for some island ! 😉 To answer your question specifically re: felt that way ? The Carl Sagan misquote “billions and billions” comes to mind.


  3. Jade and Anonymous, you are both so right. I usually stay on my own island, but sometimes I get swept up with the crowd. I know the reality differs from the dream. Even when we were shopping the other day, my friend was having a hard time finding clothes that would fit and that would not irritate the babies' parents. And I have been shopping with a teenager. Not a dream situation at all, but still one feels left out sometimes.
    We're not alone. We have each other.


  4. Yup, right there with you. I can't really say much more than what you did but yeah, I've been there.Once we were in Target and wanted to pick up a baby gate to keep the dogs penned up in the back room. Not exactly how I planned to be purchasing a baby item.Anon S


  5. I was purchasing a gift in a baby store, and with all the screaming babies around (aren't there always?), my husband says to the clerk, this would be an excellent place for a bar!! At first, I was mortified, but now I think it's pretty funny (as did the clerk). I can imagine you (or me) going in with some Mom or Dad with an agenda, and relaxing with a cocktail while they need to scope out the perfect outfit/toy/gift, etc. (:


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