Monday, March 3, 2014

A Woman in her Thirties Has Got It. Really.

Any parent who shops with their children knows what I'm talking about: when you go to the store, you have a routine.  A sacred, unchangeable set of motions.  Parents with young children don't linger in aisles when they see friends.  They don't look at labels and compare prices.  They are in and out as fast as humanly possible because one does not tempt fate when one has a cart full of perishables and little ones.

Anna has always been a good shopper, but Aaron not-so-much.  (He gets it from his dad. No, wait.  He gets it from me.)  Either way, going to Target is a no-nonsense adventure for us.  First stop:  the bakery for a cookie:

These cookies buy me approximately 19 minutes of shopping time.  Thankfully, I know the P-ville Target like the back of my hand, so 19 minutes is do-able.  In and out.  No messing around.  

But no matter how hard I plan, or how quickly I shop, there is something that happens in the check out line.  I blame the conveyer belt-- it's just too tempting a toy to play with.  Checking out at Target is usually a not-so-fun experience.

And today... well, today was super-not-so-fun.

Now, I'm no expert when it comes to parenting.  But I do know a couple of things that work for me, and I know the kind of parent I want to be.  I also do a lot of yoga.  What I'm saying is that crying and whining don't work on this woman in her thirties.  I don't want my kids to think that the louder they cry the more likely I am to give them their way.  So today, when they both started breaking down in the checkout line, I offered them a quick consolation ("I understand you want to get down, but you have to wait just a few more minutes"), and then I continued on with the business at hand.  (That is where the yoga breathing comes in.)

The point is.... I had it.  I knew they were crying, I knew why, and I was okay with my way of dealing with it.  My silence was not a precursor to me breaking down in sobs of my own or going postal on anyone in the building.  My silence was chosen, and I was fine.  My kids were going to be fine.  EVERYONE WAS GOING TO BE FINE.

Here are three things that happened that made it not fine:

1. The check out lady stopped checking and started story telling.

"I remember one time, my girls really didn't want to go for a walk, and...."  She lost me there.  She was trying to make me feel better-- that she had kids too so she understood. But the only thing I wanted at that moment was for her to check me out faster, so we could get out faster.  

2.  The woman behind me made sure I knew she had it worse.

"Try doing that with three of 'em!"  She said.  Gee, thanks.  I didn't know we were in a competition.  You win- your life is harder than mine.  Ugh.

3.  The woman TWO AISLES OVER shouted at me.

"We've all been there!"  Thank you, very much.  I know that.  I don't look at my crying children and think they are any different from any other children that have walked the planet.  I know she was trying to help, but all she did was make more of a scene.  Because SHE SHOUTED AT ME.

I was pretty frazzled when we got home, and it wasn't even because of the experience. I couldn't figure out if I was overreacting or not.  I am usually very considerate of people's meanings... and most people mean well.  These women certainly did.  But they still shook me, and now I know why:

They made me question what I was doing.  They made me second guess my judgement as a parent.  They embarrassed me.  

I had it... didn't I?

I have this.... don't I?

The answer, obviously, is yes.  Of course I do.  I KNOW THAT.  What rocked me wasn't their well-meaning 'help'.  It was the idea that maybe I should have been more unnerved than I was.  That a mom like me needs constant reminders that she's not alone.

And those reminders are nice.... sometimes.  But sometimes, it's okay to look at a woman in her thirties, see her breathing (in through the nose and out through the nose) and think.....

Would you look at that?  She's got it.  


  1. You definitely have it... When we left Target today, my exact comment to my little angels was "you are taking the happy out of my happy place" 😃

  2. You have it. You always have. You are the most patient Mom I know. P.s. You win for best Mom for pushing that Monster cart all over Target. That thing is my nightmare!

  3. You HAVE got this. P.S. I would have shouted too. Sorry! Moral support! I mean well. :)