I know she has about thirty-five staff on the payroll to help her, which must give her a level of confidence that none of us can truly understand – because who else in the world could pull off white jeans with a baby and a toddler in tow? – but Kate Middleton must be an exceptionally brave woman to expose the royal kids to the full view of the media without looking stressed and about to crack open the wine.
This photo, however, gave us mothers struggling in the real world a glimpse behind the façade. It was something we all needed to see, to watch the future Queen of England grit her teeth while she tried to coerce George to behave in a manner expected of the future King of England, without losing the plot, storming off and telling Will to deal with it.
I can commiserate. We’ve all been there. You can almost hear Kate’s words, ‘Fucking behave, will you!’
I can’t even manage to get my nineteen year old to behave in public, and although the press rattle on and on about how cute he is, I suspect that behind the chubby cheeks of little Prince George, he’s trouble just waiting to happen.
I can’t decide what’s worse, our current fears of going out with volatile young adults who have their own share of hormone imbalances to compete with mine – worrying about how drunk they’ll get or if they’ll cause some loud, dysfunctional argument and mention how much they hate us in public – or the toddler tantrums we’ve put behind us.
I hated the two to four year old stage with NC because she was highly strung and never slept during the day, hence a full risk assessment was required every time we left the house. I have PTSD as a result of those public tantrums, (and I’m not just talking about hers), caused by those times I collected her from daycare and she refused to come home with me or would only get into the car with the encouragement of the staff. Or the other times, when she refused to leave the playground or get off the swing that she had dominated whilst less wilful, (better mannered children that had learned how to share) patiently waited their turn and their mothers threw death looks in my direction, and it took all my strength and momentary hatred to restrain her back in the pushchair. I scraped the top layer of enamel off my teeth from gritting them so hard.
To this day I find it hard not to lob expressions of pity at young mums who have to take their toddlers with them anywhere in public, and I hope that they interpret those looks as sympathy rather than criticism. In truth, they may well be tinged with a hint of smugness and a relieved feeling of ‘thank fuck that’s over,’ as well.