I took my daughter Eileah to the mall late this morning because our household was in desperate need of hand soap. My husband really likes the pump soaps from Bath and Body Works, so the mall was our destination.
I love getting out of the house, especially to the mall. There’s something about mall walking that relaxes me. But I noticed something this time around.
A trip to the mall before and after baby are different, with obviously more steps, considerations, and hassles associated with the latter. But, what I’ve found positive about mall walking now with a baby in tow is this feeling of empowerment. With two or more small children you might be too preoccupied to feel it exactly, but with just one child it’s really been a pleasure for me taking my baby to the mall. She’s now thirteen months old, which means less breaks for bottle or diaper changes, and more time for us to enjoy the exploration of mall walking together.
This is what walking through a mall looks like for a baby:
Like in the emperor in The Emperor’s New Clothes, what you believe is more powerful than what you wear. I don’t know what the mechanism is, but walking through a mall, a store, anywhere with Eileah I forget my akwardness about myself and instead feel comfortable and confident about myself. You’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s true, my baby inspires me to feel like I can do anything. Maybe it’s because I am her protector when we go out so that in turn preoccupies me from feeling akward about myself. Or maybe I’m just so proud of her that I can’t help but beam and be unphased by myself. It’s not like misery loves company, she’s doing more than just being with me and I’m not miserable. It’s not like there’s some co-dependency forming either, I don’t need her in order to do anything. I think what the most likely reason I feel empowered when I walk with her through the mall might be because of how confident she is being in this huge space where she is so small and everything is unfamiliar. If she can have a good time and be comfortable in her skin, so can I.
Before Eileah, I had to fake confidence and at ease-ness at times when I’d be at the mall by myself. Sometimes walking through the mall and standing in lines I’d feel akward. What is the right way to walk through a mall? Do you make conversation with the people in line with you? Most people are paying attention to the person they came with, but when it’s just you you don’t know whether to be social or look straight ahead like a soldier. Having a drink in hand to sip from or a phone to look down on makes it easier to disconnect from the pressure, but what the heck are we so afraid of? This is a natural phenomenon, feeling akward at the mall on your own. Maybe walking a few years through New York City would knock this nervousness right out of me. But if there’s one thing that can do one better, it’s having someone who trusts you and loves you to teach you how to be confident as you were at their age again now as an adult. That’s my little write up on why mall walking with a baby can be empowering.