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  • Maia Dunphy

The M Word: Live & Learn

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

You know what’s worse than the days that go wrong as a parent? The days that almost went right. So close to perfect parenting you could almost smell Gina Ford, but at the last minute it all falls apart. These days are the worst because you have been lulled into a false sense of security. You get smug, sloppy; like a serial killer who gets cocky and then makes a mistake. I traveled a lot with my baby (when travel was a thing!), the early days were hard, but then like all aspects of new motherhood, they got easier as the weeks went by. I learned how to dress and pack to best navigate airport security (although George Clooney in Up In The Air would still avoid my queue at all costs), worked out the most efficient way to fold up the buggy at the gate whilst not dropping the baby, and after a few false starts, packed the perfect in-flight bag for minimum foostering and maximum access to essential accoutrements at 30,000 feet with a wriggling baby on my lap.

Oh yes, I had this travel lark. Then one week, a little too early on, I decided to streamline the entire operation yet further – ditch the buggy, travel with just a harness, and avoid all the rigmarole of essentially lugging a wheelbarrow around with me. There was a pushchair at my destination, so it was just the airport and a short flight to get through. Oh what a cool, confident mother I appeared to be to everyone who glanced my way. Baby beaming out from the harness, both of us unrestricted by stairs, and even a dainty clip on table top highchair in my bag so son and I could while away the hour before boarding in a café, him watching a cartoon and me drinking tea. Oh yes, I had this.

But I was still a relatively new mum after all, and it’s when you lose the run of yourself and think you're pulling it all off with aplomb that the cracks start to appear. And then it happened – I felt the pressure on my bladder and as my brain registered that I needed a wee, I remembered why I had needed the buggy in the airport in the past. Bollox. The mums I have since shared this story with all nodded and smiled knowingly, with just a hint of schadenfreude in their eyes. They were all quietly glad that someone else knew the indignity of trying to go to the toilet with a baby strapped to your front. It’s like trying to do a tandem parachute jump with someone who has changed their mind at the last moment.

“That’s nothing” a friend of mine said. “Happened to me in a public toilet except I had the squits”.

I’ll be bringing the buggy next time. And avoiding fibre.

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