Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Real

I am usually happy-go-lucky in my blogging, but today I thought I'd be a little more real, raw, honest--that's not to say that my other writings are fake. : ) Anyway...

Have you ever felt like crying right in the middle of the grocery store aisle? If you are a mom, I'm sure you have. If you are a mom and you haven't ever felt like crying in the aisles, well I guess you get to shop without your kids. Lucky you! : ) Today, I almost lost it. I mean the tears were coming to the surface until a sweet mom about my age with two kids about my girls' ages smiled at me--you know, the kind of smile that says, "I know how you feel" and "I've been there, too" and "You'll get through it." She was the ONLY gracious person I encountered on my shopping trip from hell. Let me back up to 12:15 p.m.

I had just picked up Autumn from preschool and the girls and I were on our way to Ventura to go to Target and Trader Joe's. I stopped at a 4-way stop, waiting to turn left when the man in the huge semi opposite me motioned me to go ahead of him. I guess I did not step on the gas pedal fast enough because he waved his hands at me and shook his head back and forth so vigorously I thought it was going to fall off. Then he decided to go ahead, shaking his head some more. I smiled, and as he glared down into my car as he passed, I waved at him and smiled even bigger. "Kill 'em with kindness," I thought.

I proceeded to Target at the mall and had an good time with my girls, buying the necessary toilet paper and diapers and contact solution. The girls were really good but became squirrely at the check-out counter. That's when I encountered Meanie # 1 & # 2 . I brought a bunch of misc. reusable shopping bags (the cashiers at Target hate them, even when they are the Target brands). I had no where to set them so I asked the customer in front of me if I could set them down on the check counter to free my hands. She did not respond, and not because she did not understand me. So I set them down. This must have bothered her, because she acted all huffy, and I was thinking, "You could just communicate with me if I am bothering you." I then said that I was sorry. No response. Of course at this time my girls are running all over the place and my anger is beginning to rise. I told the woman that I was sorry again and got silence in return. Then I said, "I am really sorry if I inconvenienced you!" (Although my tone of voice held no compassion by the third go round.) She left in a tizzy and I said to the cashier, "It would have been nice if she would have acknowledged that I was talking to her." Now I have been to this Target many, many times. Why I even decided to strike up a conversation with the cashier is beyond me. She was already flustered because I had brought a slew of reusable bags. She was less than gracious and I thought I saw her roll her eyes, but I can't be sure of that.

After I paid for my purchases, we proceed to the car and I told the girls that I was in a bad mood and to be on their best behaviors. (ie.: Watch out for Mount Momma!) My bad mood was put to rest when I remembered that at my nest stop, Trader Joe's, the cashiers and people are much friendlier. Well the cashiers are definitely nicer, but I found no sympathy from the rushed and crabby customers I came in contact with. It seemed that I was always in someone's way (even though they, in turn, are probably in someone else's way-- I mean, do people ever think about that?). What made me feel even worse, though, was when my sweet and very helpful 5-year-old seemed to be in someone's way as she got the sunflower seeds or peanut butter from the bottom shelf. I just wanted to scream at them as they shot rude looks at me and Amber. I also wanted to say to them--usually middle-aged men, by the way--that they would be more sympathetic if they would just take two kids under the age of 6 around the store with them for five minutes as they shopped. Just five minutes, not three hours like I had to endure. Just five minutes with two young kids on a shopping trip might just keep those rude looks at bay in the future.

After an hour in TJs, repeating "I'm sorry" until I didn't mean it anymore, I was spent. It was then that I almost shed tears--in the water/dried fruit aisle, after Autumn accidentally spilled water all over Amber's dress. Yep, there I was, mopping up the water on the floor with napkins I had in my purse, when I got another glare from a man who obviously had never mopped up water, anytime, anywhere. The tears started to flow and then that sweet young mom pushed her cart full of groceries and kids past me and smiled the most empathetic smile and said something sweet to me. I can't remember what she said because I was in shock at her kindness. I mumbled, "Thanks so much. I really needed to hear that." Then I paid for my food and headed home, vowing to never take my girls shopping with me again. I make that empty promise to myself every month, not because of the kids, but because of the grumpy people in the stores. But then a month goes by and I forget the hassle of the previous month. Besides, I can't go shopping without them anyway, unless I go at night, and I definitely don't want to be around crabby 9 to 5ers as I shop.

So now I am going to look on the bright side: my fridge and cupboards are full for a few weeks, and Eric is in the kitchen making dinner.

9 comments:

Rebecca said...

Oh, man! I'm so totally with you on that. I've gotten kind of hardened to it in a way, but I'm not sure that's a bad thing. I just assume that people are grumpy because of themselves or their circumstances, and that it has nothing to do with me or the kids, even though I'm well aware of how some people feel about seeing small children in the store. That way I can just smile and push my cart on down the aisle. The difficult part for me is to remember that I need to hold my kids responsible for their actual behavior, not for how other people or I feel about it (i.e. Are they breaking the rules, or am I just being irritable because I'm tired?). It's easy for me to get upset with them because deep down, I feel like they're making me look like a bad mom. And that's just pride. As long as they're not disobeying or breaking store rules, I should be perfectly satisfied with how they act, no matter what others think.

Christine H. said...

Yes, that is all good to keep in mind. Actually, when people started being rude, I was nicer to the kids, like I was over-the-top lettting my kids and people around me know that my kids are doing nothing wrong. I forgot to mention one thing in my story...At the very end of my trip to TJs, one man was being stabbing me with rude looks and I was fed up. I said to him, sarcastically, "Have a nice day!" That's when I knew I had better go home; when I intentionally wanted to make him feel bad. Yep, there's some more real-ness from me! I think confession is good...

hestermom said...

Becky, I really appreciated your comment. Well, felt convicted is a little more accurate. How often am I upset because I am worried about what others are thinking? And Christine, well, I can TOTALLY relate. The last time I went to Costco with all the kids, I confess... I brought candy canes for them.

Christine H. said...

Oh well, as long as we're all confessing...I generally bribe the girls with something from the dollar section at Target. I let them carry it around the store and if they are good at the end of the trip, they get to buy it. But I like the candy cane idea. Maybe a lollipop would last almost the whole time and keep them occupied. Hmmm........

frisky said...

Oh yes, the lollipop trick, I know that one well. I don't think of it so much as bribing, but rather.... well, let's just say the lollipop looks better than duct tape on their mouths and their hands handcuffed to the cart.

Rebecca said...

LOL dude!! :)

I saw a bumper sticker shortly after we moved up here that read, "Silence is golden, but duct tape is silver."

frisky said...

Okay, if anyone ever sees that bumper sticker at a store, buy it for me & I'll pay you back!! I love it!!!
BTW, Christine, I'm glad we're all enjoying your bad day! LOL! It's just cause we've all been there... and will contiually go there for that matter.

ATSmith said...

Chocolate chip bagels work - if you dare go to Von's : ) Man o man. Great post Christine. I felt your pain through the entire thing. Many times I have seriously just wanted to ditch my groceries and run back into the car and go home. Shopping itself is overwhelming -- never mind keeping track of your kids and dealing with unkind people.

Melanie said...

Oh I had a woman get frustrated with me because I was loading my kids in their carseats and she had to go instantly. I got so upset and said sorry but I tried to let you go first. She then said she had important things and I let her know my time was also valuable and that I had important people in my car. I was so angry. May I never forget what it is like to raise little ones. I have been near tears several times so I feel your pain but you handled it really well and knew when to call it a day. Also glad that I am not the only one who sometimes tells my kids I am frustrated so try to behave so I don't lose it. Abby even asks sometimes if I am losing it. Whoops.