Selfish to Selfless

Photography:Rachel Burt Photography

By Emma Heaphy

This is rated R30. The following contains material that offends my character personally and has the possibility of doing the same to non-mothers. It may be unsuitable for readers who do not have children. Discretion is advised. 

Before becoming a mum, I was self-serving and self-motivated. Aside from my work and Mark, I spent my time and all my money on myself. I routinely would buy makeup (because I would use it), a new outfit online for every event I attended (because I wanted to avoid the disaster that was turning up to a different event with the same people in the same dress #shallow) and would shave my legs each week (because I would actually wear outfits exposing more than my ankles). 

This approach extended into social interactions and behaviours. I went about my day blissfully unaware of the external happenings around me unless there was some personal benefit.

When it came to what I now term “mum protocol”, I couldn’t have been more disconnected. It is with much shame I confess the following: 

1. I probably never gave second thought to letting the woman in the supermarket queue go before me despite her clear and desperate attempts to: 

A. Amuse her toddler with a packet of chips who was trying to wriggle his legs out of the front of the trolley;  
B. Shush, frantically sway and jiggle every so often her newborn who is in the best hands-free set known to a mother (the front pack), terrified that her little one will wake any time before leaving the premises by car (but normally right before the daunting one-handed trolley to conveyor belt transition). 

2. If I was in a standoff with a car sporting a baby on board sticker in the Kmart car park, I would have driven madly into the car park before telling myself repeatedly until I believed it that I had been the first to indicate. I would then go and spend hours finding bargains with my hands-free, self-motivated time before going home to complain to Mark that I spent too much money, it took too long, the queues were too long and that some lady tried to steal my park. 

3. If I was seated next to a mother and baby on a plane, I would have felt completely short changed (unless I was on Jetstar) and would probably have inquired about the availability of the emergency exit seat. 

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