Finding out I look like a mom brings new emotions

Editor May 21, 2015 Comments Off on Finding out I look like a mom brings new emotions
Finding out I look like a mom brings new emotions

I was out shopping, minding my own business, when a woman asked me, “What do you think of this dress?” A junior high-aged girl stood nearby–her daughter, I assumed.
I don’t like questions like this. What is the right answer? Am I supposed to hate the dress? Like the dress? What does she want from me???
The junior high girl looked sullen.
“Uhhh. It’s cute…?”
The woman looked satisfied.
“See? She’s a mom, and she thinks it’s cute!” she declared.
The girl looked unimpressed. I didn’t blame her. What does a 13-year-old care what some random mom thinks of a dress? Last I checked, the youth of today weren’t choosing clothing based on Mom Approval.
Or maybe she wanted my opinion on the dress because she was considering it for herself. I don’t know. The whole thing was unnerving, but at least I gave the right answer. (I think.)
“At least, I think she’s a mom. I shouldn’t have said that. She might not be a mom,” the woman added. She was backpedaling. She was worried she had insulted me. SHE THINKS I LOOK LIKE A MOM.
I had no children with me at the time. I wasn’t wearing a “World’s Greatest Mom” t-shirt or khaki capri pants. I wasn’t even wearing my orthopedic Crocs. I had on Chuck Taylors! And cutoffs! I was looking hip!
(See, I’m totally a mom. I just used the word “hip.”)
But seriously, now I want to know what gave it away. Was it the dark circles under my eyes? Maybe I appeared anxious, out shopping all alone, as if I were breaking parole. You know that look mothers can get while away from their small children–it’s a hunted look, a look that says, “I am but one cell phone ring away from being summoned home by a fever or gastrointestinal catastrophe.”
Or maybe she assumed I’m a mom because I was carrying a diaper bag as a purse.
My high school reunion is coming up. 20 years, people. 20 YEARS.
Do you hear me, Northshore High School class of 1995? I’m talking to you. If you’re reading this, I’m sure you’ve bought your ticket. High five. If you haven’t bought your ticket, well, get on the stick. This thing is happening June 20, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the best 20-year high school reunion you’ve ever had.
Find us on Facebook–NHS Class of 1995. Do it.
(Betsy Swenson can be reached at

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