Something really embarrassing happened to me when I tried to take my mother out for a lovely girls’ afternoon tea for Mother’s Day two years ago.
After making reservations what felt like a year in advance, I called to double check that it was permissible to bring my then 3 and 1-year-old daughters along with me; I stated that I only wanted adult tickets for my mother and I, but I would be bringing the girls along — the restaurant owners said that was fine.
When the day of the tea time came, we clamored into the ancient tea room and got into the spirit with delicious tea and dainty finger foods. The menu was definitely adult, featuring delicacies such as french onion soup and vinegar-drizzled salad. I was puzzled when the waitress brought plate after plate out for my girls, serving them right alongside us, and when I told her that I hadn’t ordered meals for them, she winked at me.
Assuming that she was just serving them for fun, I went along with it, even though they barely touched the food, not even the decadent chocolate mouse for dessert. (More for me!)
We had a lovely time, but when the bill came, the good times stopped rolling.
The waitress had charged me full-priced adult tickets — at $25 a pop — for both of daughters, bringing the bill to well over $100. For tea.
Certain that there had merely been a misunderstanding, seeing as not only had I called to verify that the girls wouldn’t be charged but also had addressed it with the waitress when she served them, I called her over and explained that there had been a mistake. Suddenly, she wasn’t winking at me anymore and insisted we go downstairs to go talk to the manager.
After I politely and calmly explained the situation, the manager curtly cut me off mid-sentence. She insisted that the bill stood as it was and needed to be paid. I pleaded with her. She shook her head. I was near tears, as $100 for an afternoon tea wasn’t exactly in my stay-at-home mom budget. I tried to get her to understand how absurd it was to charge me full-price for a one and a three-year-old, especially since, had I wanted to purchase food for them, there was a cheaper-priced children’s menu that they would have actually eaten.
“Did the kids eat?” the manager demanded.
“Well, I mean, they had a few bites, but she’s 1! It’s not like they ate…”
She held up her hand and stopped me again. “They ate, they pay,” she said.
Suddenly, I felt a rage welling up inside of me at this lady’s rudeness and absolute stupidity. Tears pricked my eyes as I thought about how much I had been looking forward to this day, only to have it ruined over something so silly. I wanted to scream at her, shake her, throw the bill in her face.
Enraged, I whipped open my coat to expose my six-month-along pregnant belly.
“Well, here!” I shouted. “This baby ate, too! Do you want to charge me for that too??”
The manager turned on her heels and walked away from me.
Something happens to me when I’m pregnant.
Apparently, I become a raving lunatic.
But really, in all seriousness, I am a person who never, ever makes a scene in public. I am pleasant and polite and I hate having people upset with me; I’ll bend over backwards to make a situation more pleasant for someone who’s angry at me, rather than fighting back. Heck, I’m even nice to rude telemarketers who call at all hours of the day.
“Oh, it’s fine you interrupted our dinner!” I’ll insist. “Have a good night!”
But pregnancy changes me. Suddenly, every small offense becomes unbearable. Rude people, intolerable. Glances at me in the store warrant a glare-down from me. Comments about my belly size might just set me off.
Even on the day I found out I was pregnant with this, my fourth baby, I became a crazy person; I had misplaced my credit card (I knew it was in my car somewhere, but I couldn’t find it) and emailed my credit card company for a replacement card. Instead of replacing my card, however, they canceled my cards and insisted that it was policy for a “stolen” card. I insisted that I hadn’t reported my card stolen, and `round and `round we went.
In the end, I ended up screaming at the lady on the phone, feeling the veins in my head about to burst and the makings of a migraine headache that wouldn’t go away for a good two days. I even succumbed to a Twitter rant about how ridiculous the company had treated me, something I never, ever, ever do.
And while my efforts succeeded in gaining me a credit on my account, I was still embarrassed when later that night, I took a pregnancy test and realized that the pregnancy rage was back. What kind of person was I that my pregnancy brings out such a not-so-pleasant side of me?
Flashing store managers? Screaming at helpless customer service reps? What kind of madness is this?
I guess I will blame it on hormones, exhaustion, or simply the intolerance for a world that doesn’t seem safe enough for my four children. And I will assure you that come this baby’s birthday, I will hopefully be back to a more sane human being, one less likely to fly off the handle over misplaced credit cards and ridiculous afternoon tea bills.
But until then, tell me: Does anyone else find that they experience any sort of pregnancy rage? Anyone at all?