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.
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.
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.
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!