It was the typical weekday morning: coffee, scrambling to get my daughter out of bed and ready for school, getting my son ready, making breakfast and ensuring both kids finished a proper breakfast and then out the door before we missed the bus.
I had tons of work to catch up on and before a 10:30am phone call, I needed to drop off at the grocery store to fill my empty fridge and pantries.. so after searching for the small silver car that my son absolutely needed to have with him in order to get into the car, we were on our way to run errands.

Do you want to try these yummy fruit cookies?” I hold up a box of some new, supposedly healthy cookies with full servings of fruits and (hidden) veggies with fun packaging while reading through the ingredient list and description in the back.
No. Pop-icles.”
If all he could eat was Popsicles, Mac and cheese and seedless sweet grapes, that’s all he would have. All day, every day.
I drop the box into the grocery cart anyway. Why do I bother asking?

As I stroll along the aisle, my son ended up grabbing hold of a a couple of cans and proceeded to throw them on the floor causing a bit of ruckus.
“No, not good. No throwing.” I scolded as I picked up the cans and placed them back in the shelves.
I couldn’t help but notice another woman, a mother with a little boy almost the same age as my son, close-by glaring at me.
I gave her a little smile and shrug but was thrown aback when instead of an compassionate look back, she threw me the nastiest look of discontent.
What? Seriously.
I turn away from her, roll my eyes quickly, and we went on our way.
This wasn’t the last apparently of Ms. Judgey-McNasty during this trip.

As we were drawing closer to the end of our shopping trip (thank goodness my 10:30 call was rescheduled – phew!), my son had reached his peak of boredom and of course, lunch wasn’t too far away so he was either hungry or tired.
And with that, what typically follows – the dreaded terror tantrum.
He started fussing so I sped up my pace to finish up and head home, tried to distract him by talking about his favourite toys, TV shows, and grandpa (I always use my dad as a way to calm him down because he just adores him and they’re super close) and zoomed towards the check-out.
From all 8 checkout lanes, guess who I had the pleasure of being behind… yup, you guessed it.
Why on earth was the grocery store so packed at this time of day?

I sorted my groceries to make it a smooth checkout and here we go, the fussing got louder and louder, and then he wanted me to take him out of the cart (which I was absolutely NOT going to do while checking out), then BOOM… the crying ensues. Oh no. I was so close to getting out of here.
While attempting to calm my son down, Ms. Judgey-McNasty in front of me had the audacity to very loudly to her very quiet child, stroking his hair, say, “See, that’s not good. You don’t act like that boy, right? You’re a good boy?”
What the…?!!! No way she just said that.
I looked up at her, getting clammy from tension, fatigue and now obviously miffed, and shot her a vexed squint as I picked up my son to give him a hug.
Her son watched as my son cried whimpering about wanting to go home and even berating him to be quiet.
Hmm, wonder where he got that from?

It would have been easy for me to snap at Ms. Judgey-McNasty especially in the current mood I was in (how dare she?!) but instead I took a few deep breaths and focused on more important things, like being a comfort to my tuckered out and hungry son and just getting the heck out of the grocery store in one piece. Sure it would have given me the most satisfaction to put this woman in her place but my son was already upset, her son was there and I just didn’t want to start a confrontation.
I just couldn’t understand how a fellow mother, with even a child the same (often challenging) age of my toddler, be so judgmental and mean.
Whatever happened to “the village”?

When we finally got out of the grocery store, I buckled my son in his car seat, handed him something to snack on and loaded the groceries.
Ms. Judgey-McNasty was parked literally 1 space to my left and also unloading.
Why is she always around me…?
I ignored her and finished up. Before closing my trunk, I heard a loud piercing scream.
Oh my goodness!
I ran towards my sons’ side of the door to check on him and he was happily snacking with a smile.
“Hi, mommy.”
The ear-piercing screams ensued. I look to my left. Sure enough, it was Ms. Judgey-McNasty’s son screaming and crying and even kicking at his mom, not wanting to get into his car seat.
She looked frustrated and embarrassed as she struggled to hold him down and buckle him in.
She was really having a hard time. The boy was extremely loud, that a young couple walking by actually stopped to watch and asked if the boy was okay. Of course, out of concern for the child’s safety.
She snapped at them to leave her alone and that it was just her son not wanting to go home.

Before getting into my car, we locked eyes real quick, you can see the disgruntlement in her face.
I shot her an empathetic look. “Been there. Good luck.”

I hop into my car, roll down the windows to get in some fresh air, glance back at my now napping peacefully little boy, who was still holding onto his packet of goldfish crackers, and couldn’t help but feel so fan-freaking-tastic.

Although I had my moment there, with this experience, I take away an important reminder: Be a constant support.
We’re all trying our best to get this mothering thing right and we all have our own challenges, strengths, imperfections. Let’s not forget that our children are all different; each situation unique.

If you haven’t heard this from someone today, this is for you:

Hey, mom. You’re doing an awesome job!

Disclosure: CAC is part of the Schick #MomsIntuition program and has received products and/or compensation as part of our participation; however, all opinions expressed are entirely those of the author.

24 Comments on The Deprecating Grocery Run

  1. It’s tough being mom, so other moms really shouldn’t judge. And yeah what happened to “it takes a village to raise a child?” You certainly were the bigger and more compassionate person in not snapping at the lady, I certainly would have!

  2. I love this post – it’s exactly true life for a mother. I remember one time I wanted to leave the library with my 2-year old son and my 14 month old daughter. He didn’t want to leave at all so I was juggling him, my daughter who wanted to walk on her own, diaper bag, and library bags, and I was about 4 months pregnant with my third. When I finally persuaded him to co-operate by promising him french fries on the way home, I could feel the stares of all the old ladies. It was like they were saying, “Never in my day, would my kid have acted like that.” But, like a stray sunbeam on a cloudy day, one of the other mothers at the checkout line gave me a quick grin and a thumbs up. Kudos to you for being the support even when you went unsupported.

    • Thanks, Esther. We do what we have to as loving mothers, and our children at such young ages just don’t know any better.
      Motherhood is no easy feat and even just the slightest show of support/empathy from other mothers can truly make one feel so much better.

  3. Great post. I’ve been where you were that day. I think all mom’s have. I have never been “judged” by another mom like that (to my knowledge) but I have by a yup-pity women who had no kids yell at me. I was pushing my 6 month old son at the time along the street and my 5 year old son ran to the edge of the street and she was turning her car to drive down the street. She thought he was going to dart out, but he didn’t. He stopped at the edge of the street and waited for me. She slowed her car down and opened her window up and said “you should take care of my kid better”! Holy crap! My boy did nothing wrong. He stopped before crossing the road. I love people commenting to me in cars. After she said that she took off before I could say anything. Hell, I was in shock so I don’t know what I would have said. This happened last Summer and I still remember it because it pissed me off so much.

  4. I think maybe it is the impact of social media but many seem to be so instantly judgmental. Years ago you might think that but most people were too polite to actually say something negative to you. You can see it on all the posts everywhere so it seems to be translating into people speaking up more in person in very negative ways. Most of the time the full story is never presented either so they are commenting on incomplete info. It is hard to bring kids shopping but impossible to always leave them behind so sometimes they have meltdowns.

  5. One evening while trying to purchase bathroom decor for my newly renovated bathroom, my two children started playing hide & seek in the shower curtains to the utter dismay and disgust of another woman shopping in that store. I shouldn’t have attempted that shopping excursion with 2 kids, but I was desperate, and totally taken aback at how judgmental this woman was. I am sorry to say that I didn’t take the high road, but commented to her “oh I am sure your children are perfectly well behaved”, to which she responded “yes”. I totally understand where you are coming from!

    • Patricia, good for you! I think it’s great for you to speak up when you need to as well. Some people just need to hear it.
      It’s very rude and inconsiderate to cast judgement publicly towards an already stressed-out parent. And I’m sure her children are not perfect either despite her saying they are. *eye rolls*

  6. I think we’ve all been that parent at the grocery store, yet it’s never easier knowing that. Yet that feeling of relief when you get out and all is calm, is wonderful!

  7. Thank you for reminding me that the only road is the high road. Not only are we all in this together, but I would like my kids to learn kindness and restraint as well

  8. It always amazes me that other Mamas so quickly forget that the shoe could easily be on the other foot. Yay you for taking the high road and giving the sour puss a nod, perhaps the next time she’s out and about she will be a little kinder to her fellow Mama. We really are all in this together.

  9. This story made me laugh. I have been there too. But that was terrible of her to talk to her son like that. If it sticks it’s going to make him high and mighty. 😛

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