The past two years have turned me into a panic mechanic such that if there’s no hectic drama I find myself in I wonder, waiting for it to strike anytime; strange right?
Anyway the other Saturday I found myself at the gym catching up on some workout session I hadn’t had time to do during the week. After what seemed like forever I eventually decided to call it quits and head off to take a shower in the gym showers (which is something I loathe). As I walked out of the shower all wrapped in a towel about to put some lotion on, there was this boy who seemed to be around my son’s age (8/9) with the mother.
I didn’t know how to take that.
Do I ask the mother to ask the son to cover his eyes so I can, you know, put the lotion on?
Do I ask them to leave?
Do I pretend he’s not in the room and carry on with my business?
Do I go report them at reception?
Do I use the tiny toilet cubicle to put the lotion on?
I didn’t really know, so I sat in those uncomfortable benches waiting for them to finish up. I won’t tell lies a part of me felt a little infuriated, I mean, what mother in her right mind brings with a boy that age to the ladies changing rooms?
A tiny penny dropped. The society we live in has turned us into par aberrations. I know I would rather not shower at the gym than have my son go to the men’s by himself, but at the same time wouldn’t like to infringe on other ladies privacy by dragging my son along to the women’s changing room. Just as I was about to go full in on my judgementina ( that’s not a real word) I realized I knew nothing about that mother and her circumstances, being a single mom myself I know just how hectic it can get . And so I did what I hope someone will do for me if found wanting in a similar situation.
You see, more than anyone I could relate better to that mother because I had been in a similar situation. Two years ago when our house caught fire while in fights between insurance, body corporate and neighbours, I was doing exactly the same. I didn’t want to trouble my friends who had enough troubles of their own. I would keep myself so busy during the day, spend the remainder of the day at the gym, shower there (hence I don’t like it no more) go home to half vestiges with a no power, no water connection house and straight to bed. Luckily for me I had the option of sending my son home to my parents for a week or two while trying to figure out how to sort that mess. It’s so easy to see someone all made up and assume all is well until you see smidgens you can identify with.
I don’t know how it is in other parts of the world , I only live in South Africa and I can tell you juggling motherhood, keeping up with ‘friends’, climbing the so called corporate ladder with no support is hard, in a matter of fact hard is an understatement.
Next time you see a mother struggling with what seems to be an obviously an easy thing, instead of playing the judge, lend a helping hand. You will never know, you might just contribute to what will turn out to be your next President…Just saying.
This post was written by Andiswa Machanyana. She blogs at Torn Jeans and Corporate Suits. Follow her on Twitter.