Excuse Me Stranger, But Can I Hold Your Baby for You?

by Melissa L. Fenton
Originally Published: 

I followed one down the bread aisle at the grocery store last week. Yesterday I saw one at the library, and just this morning another one trying to drink her coffee in peace at Starbucks. I don’t know what is going on, but all of a sudden I now see them everywhere. And I can’t stop stalking them.

They’re all moms with their hands (and arms) very full. They’re pushing giant red shopping carts, strollers, or playground swings, all while juggling a squirming infant trying to wiggle out of their arms. They’ll spend years going about the business of multitasking throughout their entire day, never giving a thought to the fact they’re doin’ it all with a wee babe at their hips.

I just want to go up to these moms and say one thing. (And it’s not, “Boy, you sure do have your hands full!” because I know better.)

I want to say, “Excuse me, but can I please hold your baby for you?”

In all likelihood, there’s not a chance in hell I’m gonna get the reply I’m desiring. Most likely what will happen is I’ll get a weird “Are you out of your mind lady?” kind of look, probably a cold shoulder, a fast and quick avoidance, an eye-roll, and possibly someone may even call store security on me. If only these moms with their arms full would give me a minute to explain a few things.

I haven’t held a real live baby in, like, FOREVER.

And that’s the god’s honest truth and the very genuine reason I want to hold your baby, or any baby for that matter. That, and I’m a nice, normal mom and would love to give you a little baby break. But mostly, my dusty ovaries and my empty arms just want to feel a baby against my chest again. Because have I mentioned I haven’t held a real live baby in, like, forever?

I can’t even believe those words are coming out of my own mouth. I spent what felt like two decades with a bun either in the oven, at my breast, on my hips, in my lap, atop my shoulders, or wrapped up in my tired arms. And during the majority of that time, I really just wanted someone else to hold my baby, so I could do things, like pee. Or eat. Or shop with both hands. I was so over-touched and annoyed with having an infant as a permanent appendage on my body, I craved any and all chances I could get when someone else would hold my baby.

And now I just want to take that all back, because my soft, pudgy, and very sweet smelling infants whose tiny sock-covered feet were forever kicking me in the ribs, all grew into tall, hairy, very stinky people who don’t want me near them in any way, shape, or form.

But “Don’t you have any friends with babies?” you may be asking. Sadly, no.We’ve all moved on to teen hell or have babies who now live in college dorms (gulp), and unless one of our own kids makes their own baby, or the unthinkable change-of-life pregnancy happens, we’ve all got nothing to hold in our arms except giant piles of wet towels our very large kids leave all over our homes.

So we stalk, and we walk by you in stores and smile softly, aching to lean over and grab a deep whiff of your baby’s head. Ohhh, baby head smell! I cannot tell you how much better it is than 17-year-old head smell. (Trust me on this.)

I would even go so far as to offer my baby-holding services to a major retailer. “Hello, Target? Listen, Walmart can keep their door greeters, because I’ve got a deal you can’t refuse. Want those hurried moms to slow down a little and actually roam every aisle of your store ultimately spending more money? Hire me and my middle-aged gal pals to offer to hold all the crying babies!” Can you imagine the monetary damage a mom could do if she could actually peacefully try on clothes on Target? You know what? You’d don’t even have to pay us. Just keep the Starbucks flowing, and I will keep on slowly rocking and soothing all the whiners. I got this. Oh, you have no idea how well I got this.

Truth be told, I know there are plenty of moms out there who would gladly hand over their baby to a strange mom like me just for a five-minute break during errand running. First-time moms, I’m not talking about you, because I know your weirdo radar is still on high, but someday you’re gonna find yourself looking around the bread aisle and just wishing for some stranger you could toss your baby to. Moms with three, four, or five or more kids? I know you get me, so go ahead and just hand that baby over to me and throw some bagels in your cart. I got this.

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