The other day I was grocery shopping in the late afternoon, walking the aisles with my very rambunctious 6 year old.
I have just a few things on my list so it shouldn’t be more than 20 minutes, I think.
A girl can dream.
Like most other trips to the store, I spend 40% of my time searching for the items I need, and the other 60% was blurting out lines like…
”No you can’t have that”
“Put that back”
…and counting to three slowly (well let’s be real two because I don’t actually have a plan lined up at three and thus will never make it there)
Whatever marketing genius decided to start selling toys at the grocery store clearly hates parents.
Anyway, when we finally make it to the shampoo aisle, I spend an erroneous amount of time searching for organic soap and water that costs less than $35.
My son seemed to have located the beach balls that happened to be in the same aisle, so that was great because it seemed to be entertaining him for like 45 seconds.
I continue to peruse through each shampoo bottle until I see a ball fly through the air, just missing the perfectly placed gift display of Frozen bubbles.
Almost as soon as I feel relief that nothing was knocked over, I feel this glare of disapproval coming from behind me.
You know, kind of like the same one we give our children when we are disappointed with their poor choices.
I turn slightly to my right and see the very well put together, grey haired, fur wearing woman who is shooting darts of disgust directly at my forehead.
I can pretty much read her mind and can only imagine the sheer horror running through it.
Isn’t she going to discipline her child?
What a little brat he must be.
Maybe she’s the Nanny.
She carries on shaking her head as she makes her way to the next aisle.
I turn to my son who is staring at me blankly waiting for the storm.
“Slade, no more fooling around, we are done with the ball”, I say as I place it back in the basket.
“But Mom, I was playing with that, play with me Mom pleeeease”, he whimpers back.
“No honey not now we need to get going”, I respond slightly hesitantly as I stare at my list with one item checked off.
As we start to proceed to the front of the store I realize that my little human is no longer following behind me. Instead he is mesmerized by (again) the strategically placed collection of toy cars.
This is a grocery store!
I start to envision the tantrum as I rip the car out of my son’s hand.
“No, we are leaving, time to go!”
Conveniently the fur lady has graced us with her presence once again as my son enters complete meltdown mode.
I start to contemplate my next move, while my son flops on the ground of the disgusting grocery store floor.
It now seems that every single fucking shopper in that store has come to our aisle and passed with a glare. Each one nastier than the previous.
Old man, glare.
Young man, glare.
Woman (possibly a Mother), glare.
Glare, glare, glare.
Do these people not work?! Why is everyone in the store at 3 o’clock?!
The fur lady seemed to be enjoying the display of misbehavior as she has parked herself right next to me and now has decided to share her thoughts on the matter.
“It seems he may have lost his manners. Such a shame”.
Really Sherlock? Thank you for solving that mysterious problem for me.
I see what is happening. I am becoming that woman with that child.
You know what I mean, the Mom nobody wants to be.
Because that is the label we get when our child decides they no longer want to pretend like they are ok and have no issue expressing it in public.
My face becomes flushed, my eyes fill with water, and I start to sweat more than my husband in hot yoga.
Deep breaths Rach, deep breaths, just get out of the store and abort this mission.
I grab the tyrant by the arm, leave the cart with my ONE item and start to head for the door.
“I’m sorry Mommy, please don’t be mad at me!”, my 6 year old cries as we race through the parking lot.
As I prepare to yell at him for the embarrassment he has caused me I stop and I reflect (the Mom books tell you to do this, so now seems like a great time to try it out).
I realize how mad I am.
I am so mad.
But then something happens that I didn’t expect at all.
I look at my son’s face and I realize…
I am not mad at my child at all.
How could I be?
Each day I drag him around with me while I complete all of my to-dos and he has no say in the matter.
How can I expect him to behave how I want him to, all while he is told no at every turn.
Oh but I’m still mad.
I am MAD strangers in grocery stores think they know what it’s like.
They think if I just smacked him on the bottom that would straighten him out.
Or hey maybe I should hire a babysitter so I can pay $15/hour in order to create a more enjoyable experience for the mundane and sophisticated shoppers here.
Well excuuuuse me!
I guess I should just plan my shopping trips when my husband is home so that I never have to inconvenience you again fur lady!
Or should I actually just spank my child?
Yes, that is what I should do, I should spank him to show him that fun is not allowed in the grocery store.
Would you then approve of my parenting skills?
Would the glares stop then?
I won’t hold my breathe.
I will tell you what I’m going to do though.
I am going to walk right back into that store.
I am going to get every single flipping item on my list with my totally bored 6 year old and I am going to take my sweet sweet time.
AND I’m going to let my son play with the beach balls and the cars that are placed in every other aisle and when he cries and screams because I refuse to buy a $9 plastic pos, that will live in my car for the next year, I will carry on with little to no concern of the “disruption” he is causing.
And for the love of Pete, I will not scorn my child because he is an inconvenience to your perfectly planned peaceful shopping trip to the mother f****** grocery store.