In my younger years, before children, I admit that I, on occasion, might silently judge the frazzled, upset mother in the store by thinking, “Wow, control your kids” or “Who’s in charge you or the kids” as she’s screaming at her child, “I TOLD YOU TO SIT IN THE CART!”.
Today’s shopping trip may very well have been the worst 45 minutes at the grocery store that I have ever had. Yes, PAYBACK TIME!
It started with the girls being pretty whiny in the morning; I got Kaitlyn, my 2 year old, down for a nap an hour before she normally does. She woke up 2 hours later in quite a mood, not normal after a good nap. Oh well, I HAD to get out of this house and get to the grocery store!
I asked Alexis, age 3, if she would rather go to the store where she rides in the car or the store where she can play with other kids. Several times she said she wanted to drive the little car. I was surprised so I made sure she understood that there would not be kids to play with. She didn’t care; she just wanted to drive the little car. So we headed off to Safeway.
We get there and the girls both rush over to the car cart jumping in and laughing as they buckle themselves in. Happy kids make for a very happy mommy, but they were about to quickly turn into the unhappiest kids that the store has probably ever seen. Of course, I know that’s probably not true, but when you’re the parent, they are the worst, am I right?
I started in the produce section. I didn’t get half way done with produce before Kaity, was screaming because she didn’t want to be buckled in anymore. I unbuckled her and went on our way. Before I knew it her legs were hanging out the side as she was trying to climb out of the car. Her feet ran across a display, not sure exactly what it was as I was just mortified by the screaming and was scared of her knocking stuff over. She finally got out without knocking anything over although I’m sure I was getting some looks. I’m not completely sure because I have pretty much stopped making eye contact with people in the store when the kids act up. I don’t like the disapproving looks and judgments. I let her get out and came around to push the cart. As she wasn’t screaming I wasn’t going to cause a fight on trying to keep her in the cart like I wanted to. Then Alexis wanted her buckle off and was trying to get out. She listens better at age 3 so I got her to stay in the cart. At this point she started saying she didn’t want to ride in the car, but she wanted to go play with kids, which is at the OTHER store. I ignored her, which isn’t usually the best option if you don’t want them to start saying it louder. MOMMY, I WANT TO PLAY WITH KIDS! At this point, Kaitlyn just wanted to be held, so I was holding her, pushing this stupid big car cart with a kid in it that didn’t want to be in it, all while TRYING my hardest to get the best price on our groceries for the week.
I admit, I probably should have just left the store and come home to deal with the girls, but I was there and sometimes when you’ve had a challenging day, you just want to get it done and not have to try the whole thing over again tomorrow.
Kaity was going from wanting me to hold her to wanting to ride in the car to wanting to push the cart. Finally, I had them both back in the car and not making a sound…for the moment. I picked up an item off my grocery list just in time to look over and see that Kaity had her hand on a small display case with wheels on the bottom and was dragging it around the isle. A young lady, probably 20 or so came up behind me; honestly I’m not sure how long she was watching this whole thing. She had one of those tiny little carts; you know one that you might use when you don’t have children. She looked at me, the poor frantic crazy mom and literally ran by me with her tiny shopping cart saying, “I’m sorry!” I’m not even sure if she got what she wanted from the isle, but I think she just wanted to get away from the woman who looked like she was about to lose it in the condiments isle. I didn’t say a word, but I’m sure I scared her away from having children.
I didn’t get 3 items on my list, but who cares at this point, so I made my way to the checkout line. There was no way I was going to do the self-check out like I do a lot. I just didn’t want to deal with the kids touching the scale and screwing up the whole transaction. I just wanted out of there!
Of course, there usually aren’t this many people there, but there were lines everywhere so I just picked one. The lady in front of me had two boys in her cart, they were a little older. She just kept looking at me and smiling, no words, just smiling, almost to say, “I’ve been there!” It was a very consoling smile that I appreciated very much.
I switched lanes because I thought another one was going faster. Keep in mind, I’m holding Kaity again and she’s whining about wanting her binky and Lexi is in the car saying over and over again, louder and louder that she wants to play with kids at the other store. Another cashier came up to open a new lane and pulled me over to where she was. I thanked her profusely and she said “I understand, I don’t let my kids get the car cart anymore.” I said, “yep, lesson learned.”
When we got home Kaity went down for a very rare second nap, while Alexis watched a show about numbers as I put groceries away.
So, like I said, I’ve judged other moms in the past. Today I’m saying I’m sorry! For any mom that I ever thought badly of, I apologize! I know that my girls aren’t always like that, but those people that were in the store with us today might very well think that this is an everyday occurrence. I have had my moments at stores in the past 2 years. I have had my days of being the frazzled, no makeup, hair undone in a sweatshirt, sweating as I run around the grocery store with cranky kids mom.... Here’s hoping the next grocery experience is less adventurous.