Why I Won't Shop At Whole Foods With My Daughter

My daughter looks like my mother. It's uncanny. She looks like me too, in the way that I look like my mom.

But mostly she has my attitude, my facial expressions. It isn't so much like watching myself grow up again - she acts like me NOW. There's a tiny 37-year-old woman waddling around my house who is completely over all your nonsense.

There is so much of me in her that it is always jarring when someone assumes that I'm not her mother. Which happens pretty regularly, and almost always in the same place.

I became a regular at Whole Foods after my daughter was diagnosed with MSPI (milk-soy protein intolerance). Trying to cut out all soy and dairy from your diet can be tricky, but I knew I'd find what I needed there. And I did.

She's always been a pretty beautiful baby, and more than a bit of a flirt, so I was prepared to have to stop and talk to nearly every single person in the store. What I wasn't prepared for were the type of comments I would get. Every single time I took her with me to the store someone assumed I wasn't her mother. EVERY TIME. I started typing them out in text messages to myself and keeping them. Eventually I stopped taking her with me. I would only go at night or when I could get childcare during the day.

We stopped breastfeeding at around 7 months, she grew out of the MSPI at around 13 months and we stopped going. I never forgot the text messages sitting in my phone, but I moved on. Then last week we ran in quickly for a spice I needed. And it happened again.

I stood there staring at this woman. She looked like so many girls I went to high school and college with. She looked like the women you see on Facebook crying because someone called them racist. She looked like she should have been wearing a safety pin and a pink knitted cap. I turned, put my saffron back on a rack with some chips, and walked out of the store. 

Graeme Seabrook