Anyone with a toddler knows that what used to be a trip to the grocery store to simply buy food to feed the people living under your roof has become anything but simple. The preparation that goes into any trip to a store with other human beings inside of it is pretty much insane. It begins a half hour before you even get into the car to leave. You have to pack a diaper bag (why they call it that is beyond me it should be called the you will not believe how much crap I have in here bag) not only with diapers but with wipes, extra binky’s (paci’s or whatever your kid may call them & if your toddler doesn’t use one well I bow down to you), a sippy cup with juice, a bottle of water for when said sippy cup runs out of juice, a snack cup filled with gold fish, a backup snack, five “distracter” toys, 32 books, a change of pants (because you never can be too safe) and a wallet to pay for the groceries.
After packing the diaper bag you move onto changing the toddler’s current diaper, getting their shoes on, putting on a coat and then oh wait what’s that smell?! Damn it. Coat off, changing diaper AGAIN. Ok coat back on, grab coupon book, diaper bag and toddler and load all of it into the car. Once you get to the store you find a cart unload the bag, toddler & coupon book. Take a deep breath, beg both your toddler and the shopping gods to please allow a smooth trip and in you go.
As you walk into the store we go to you are immediately in the bakery section (hey they’re not dummies) where they have coffee for sale (YES PLEASE!) and bagels, donuts, cookies etc. So every week I buy my toddler a plain bagel to keep him
happy quiet for the duration of our
trip. You may be thinking why on earth did she pack all that other crap if she
buys him a bagel? A toddler has the attention span of fruit fly and this bagel,
while exciting for the first 5 aisles always seems to lose its luster by the dairy
section so I need back up…trust me on this!
So bagel in hand we head to the produce section where we play counting games as I fill bags with apples. I play defense so 150 apples don’t dive to the floor as my toddler is grabbing them. We move throughout the store, singing songs, checking off my list, digging in my bag for a book, a toy, a sippy cup, another book, picking binky up off the floor, cleaning it giving it back and so on and so forth for 18 aisles. I have to hand it to my kid he’s pretty darn good. He deals with all the old ladies pinching his cheeks. He says hi and always says tanks (thanks) to the deli guy when given a piece of cheese and is pretty patient as I dig for 18 aisles for coupons and checking off my list.
Every week when we make it up to the checkout line without a major melt down I want to celebrate but like any good
marathon runner mom I know it’s not over
until we are walking out the automatic doors and headed to the car. So today, there we are at the checkout line
and as I am loading up our groceries onto the belt I can tell I have a ticking
time bomb in my carriage. He’s rubbing his eyes, starting to whine, and giving
me the calm before the storm look (every parent knows this look). My heart
begins to pound and I start to sweat. The woman begins ringing me up and I am
bagging as if I am on some grocery store game show. “Oh sorry honey I just ran
out of receipt tape give me one minute” NOOOOOOOOOOOOO this can’t be happening.
I look at toddler, he looks at me, I look at woman and suddenly the world is
moving in slow motion and I know I’m not winning this race. You know that
saying it’s not over until the fat lady sings…well the toddler cried and it was
all over. He cried, and screamed a little and I did everything I could think of
besides bounce up and down on my head juggling oranges and potatoes to stop it.
In every bad storm you always think it has to pass soon and just when you think it’s going to pass the wind picks up and it gets worse. The
hot air wind in
this case happened to be a cashier two down from us who was ringing up a single
man. It was as if all the noise in the entire store, including my toddler
stopped for a moment so that I could hear her loud and clear.
“Moms are so useless and awful now a days’ aren’t they?” Listen to that brat screaming and screaming and she doesn’t even care.” Him: “That would have never happened back in my day. My kids always behaved in public. It’s a shame what the world is coming to” Her: “She probably runs around all day dragging the kid to stores instead of doing anything fun with him, how sad. You should come first thing in the a.m. none of these obnoxious moms’s get here until 10am. Then you won’t have to listen to this nonsense” Him: “I’ll remember that for next time hahahaha”
And just like that a world of emotions came over me. I felt defensive not only for my mothering skills but for my toddler, who I know is anything but a brat thank you very much. I felt defeated. Defeated for preparing as much as I could to keep my toddler happy and in the end it didn’t work. I felt angry and sad that two people who know nothing about us could paint us with such a broad UGLY brush. I felt sad for moms everywhere who are doing the daily grind to the best of their ability only to have people who I can only imagine were one time in our shoes forget what it was like. I wanted to scream but I didn’t. I wanted to go up to customer service but I didn’t. I paid my bill and my toddler calmed down. As we were leaving he proceeded to wave and shout BYE BYE to each and every cashier and when we got to her he said BYE BYE and I said you may have ruined my mood but you didn’t ruin his.
What I really wanted to say was this: You see lady being a mom isn’t easy. It’s hard and kids aren’t always happy, they’re human. We are all human and we are just trying to get through the simple things in life in one piece. I’m a good mom, he’ a good kid end of story. I spend enough time beating myself up about the mishaps of our day, I don’t need a stranger to do it! We came here to buy food, which last I checked was a necessity. We didn't come to be judged or handed a bag of anxiety upon checkout. I didn’t say this though. Life goes on, so next week I’ll pack up my giant bag of crap and return as usual. I may however get on her line take away the bagel, binky and toys and just let him have at it. (DON'T mess with a mama bear)