I was recently in Edinburgh seeing friends, a well-timed visit with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on. On my first day I took a walk down the famous 'Royal Mile' to preview the talent (not in a cruising way!) and see what was on.
As a Londoner, I was ready to battle my way through the streets without being seduced at every flyer. I took a deep breath, put Boo in the stroller and got walking. Except, only one person stopped me.
That's one person in a sea of thousands of promoters. And of course, it was for 'Mummy's gone a bit parental' a one-Mum-stand-up show. (Coincidently I went, she was great, funny and very tolerant of heckling from the youngest person in her audience - sorry about that)
But just one person stopped me. Had I become uncool, unapproachable, or worse still, deemed too old for fun!? After composing myself over a local brew, I realised it was none of the above. I had in fact become invisible.
Now, I'm no fading wallflower. I have bright white Converse, a blue stylish Silver Cross stroller and big curly hair,I don't exactly fade into the background.
Or at least they hadn't until I had Boo. And then the pieces started to fit...
A few weeks ago a similar thing happened. A bunch of posh kids were walking down the street after school, gossiping in a 'Yeah-but-no-but-yeah' kind of way. Back in the day they'd have hushed as I walked past. But now I'm officially an 'adult' they carried on like I wasn't there.
But, my invisible superpower has its benefits too. Charity street collectors don't rattle their buckets for me
Thankfully, the exception seems to be train stations, where the great British public come into their own, offering to help at every uneven platform, massive gap and giant staircases, without me even needing to ask for help (thank you lovely public).
But back to the point, I was starting to feel invisible and wondering why. Is my custom no longer required now that I push a pram? Is it too much effort perhaps to stop a woman with four wheels on a mission? Or perhaps now I'm in the 'Mum category' I'm written off and underestimated? I think a little bit of all of them.
It all came to a crescendo at the end of my highland fling. It was a little bit breezy as Scotland is, so I put the hood down on my stroller and headed to the shops. I made the mistake of walking past a 'stand up' comedian performing who decided to take a cheap shot at me as I strolled past...
"Look at this one, her baby is so ugly, she has to cover it up."
And that was it. I burst.
"Well, at least someone wants to procreate with me MATE." I hustled, silencing the idiot. It was a glorious moment, made even more poignant by a lovely steward coming over to high five me.
Although I may never truly understand why I'm invisible, I'm determined to show the world that Mums are just women with babies, no different to who they were before.
We might have strollers, we might have to mop up sick and poo and yes we might even wear flat shoes. But we are not to be underestimated.
If you look up Mum/Mom in the Urban Dictionary it defines us asThe woman who loves you unconditionally from birth, the one who puts her kids before herself and the one who you can always count on above everyone else."
Lets not forget it. Spread the word!