real life

The new 'man-spreading' is something a lot, lot nicer.

I commute every day (as does everybody else) and it’s about 35-40 minutes door-to-door, which is pretty quick by Sydney standards. Every morning I commute with my wriggly toddler Hugo and pram in tow. Let me tell you, we are not morning people, not one bit, but we both do our best to get out the door in one piece most mornings and we’re pretty understanding of fellow commuters who are tired, slow, quiet and sometimes grumpy. We feel you. But… most of you definitely don’t feel, let alone see us.

Often the train gets very full and there’s nowhere for me to sit so I can feed Hugo a little breakfast (it’s too early for Mr Sleepy Head to eat at home as soon as he wakes up) and keep him entertained, aka keep him from fussing which annoys other people, for the whole ride. In the 100 or so morning train rides with Hugo, I have noticed that there is a new trend among commuters. No, it’s not man-spreading or ladies-who’s-handbags-must-have-their-own-seat. It’s so simple but it stands out so much to me – it’s women looking out for other women, especially mums.

Every time I’m about to resign to the fact I have to feed my toddler breakfast and play with him for the entire ride while standing up and keeping my balance, I get rescued by a kind-hearted person who offers me their seat. Phew, thank you! But the thing is, those people who have come to my rescue have all been women. Only women. Other people don’t even look up, but women take note of others. They acknowledge one another and women stick together.

Thank you to all the women on my morning commute, be they themselves mothers or not, who look out for me and my toddler.

Thank you for acknowledging us.

Thank you because you had to stand.

Hugo. (Image: Supplied)

Thank you because you needed the seat more than me but insisted I couldn't very well feed a toddler food while standing up.

Thank you because you had to stand next to us and have Hugo tug at your bag the whole ride.

Thank you because it was so crowded, it must have been uncomfortable to not have a seat.

Thank you for being the only one who looked up that morning and offered me a seat even though you had heavy bags to carry.

Thank you for asking people to make way for me so I can get off at my stop with little fuss.

Thank you for looking at us with kind eyes (instead of tolerating pursed lips or annoyed frowns).

Thank you for understanding, smiling and waving at Hugo when he starts to gripe.

Thank you for waving us into the elevator while you wait back for the next one.

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Lastly, but not least, thank you to one lady in particular - for always keeping an eye out for me and making sure I take your seat if no one else gets up for me. You have such a big commute every day but your kindness is even bigger.

This all might sound like a bit too much of #gratitude for a simple gesture of being offered a seat on public transport, but for any mum with a small child, every little act of kindness goes a long way with us.

To all the lovely women of the morning commute, it's really nice to know I can look to you, even though it's just a ride on the train.

Yours sincerely,

A full-time working mum of a wriggly toddler who doesn't like mornings.