My toddler son and I spend a lot of time at the children's museum. It's an oasis—that rare place where a rambling, fired-up little guy can run freely, a sanctuary of rounded corners and rubbery surfaces where I can sit down and exhale for a minute or two without worrying that he's going to dart into the street or careen down a staircase.
But every time we go, I find myself stealthily scoping out the other mothers (or fathers or nannies or grandparents) and wondering what they're thinking. Are they, too, relieved and exhausted and under-showered and over-caffeinated? Do they look at me and see a cool, calm mama?