Monday, June 6, 2016

Weeknights at hotels

To paint a picture of what you might see, here are the packing lists and matching outfits:
Business Trip                                                  Travel with a baby
Carry-on only.                                                 Stroller.
Purse.                                                              Diaper bag.
Heels.                                                              Sneakers.
Trench coat.                                                    Sweater.
Infinity scarf.                                                   Carry-on + another bag for baby stuff.
                                                                        Play pen.

At the check-in - I am being served by one person (an absolutely delightful person I might add) and the business man at the counter next to us is being served by someone else. We are hoping to check in about 30 minutes early and get to the pool, while the business man is hoping to check in early to ensure his hospitality suite is fully stocked and ready for the other business people that will join him later on. Did I mention this was on a Wednesday? Just keep that in mind...

In the elevator - I am sober. Again, it's Wednesday mid-afternoon... and well, the other person is not drunk, but let's just say I am pretty sure the important part of the conference or the high profile meetings were over by this time.

Later that evening - After we tried to go swimming (side note: a pool with only ladders and no shallow end doesn't work for a mom alone with a baby...) we decided a walk was in order. So, down the elevator we went. We walked by the bar... In that very moment I realized that I hadn't chosen to walk by the bar on purpose - It was the route I would normally take in that hotel to either get to the business area or to the parking lot. I immediately regretted this decision. I got the "why are you here" look several times and to be honest I was likely giving them the "why are you drinking" look as I passed by in my sneakers. I feel I can say this as before being pregnant and traveling for work I would have given others the "why are you here" look. Not to be mean to them or make them feel bad, but genuinely wondering what in the world would have possibly brought a mother and baby to a hotel mid-week. Now however, seeing the old me from my new perspective really made me wonder what these people thought they were accomplishing on a Wednesday evening at a hotel lobby bar (and why they didn't just go to the business man's hospitality suite) - the business traveler in me would answer "solving world issues and making meaningful business relationships". I still think this is somewhat true... only from the outside looking in, it really just looks like they are having a glass of wine and making small talk.

The next day - It was around 1pm when we were checking out. Yes, 1pm, make use of that
extra hour in "your own space" to get lunch time/diaper changes accomplished before hitting the road/shopping or wherever the day may be bringing you. With my fully loaded stroller I walked through the hotel cafe area where many business people (different people from the night before) got a glimpse of what it is like to travel with a baby. I received many of the same looks... from middle-age women mostly the "oh, the poor dear" look - from younger women mostly the "why in the world did she bring her whole life along with her" look - and finally, from men (of all ages) the "oh yeah, I guess other people stay here too" look or the "can you keep it down, we are trying to have a conversation" look even though we were passing through and did not stop.

All in all this bothered me when I reflected on the above scenarios not because I was insulted or sad they looked at me a certain way, but because I looked at them a certain way. I looked at each business person and thought "hmmm I wonder what they do?" and assumed they could be someone of significant importance that I would want to meet. When really... they might be very important, but they might not be either. The moral of the story is when you look at someone else don't assume they are important because they wear a suit and on the other hand don't assume someone is unimportant because they are wearing casual clothes and pushing a stroller. After all, my job that day was to keep a human alive, happy and teach him something - what were they responsible for?!

My shoes for that: Reebok Running Sneakers


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