life on the funny farm

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ode to the Mom in the Grocery Store

Couple weeks ago I was shuffling my way through my weekly grocery shopping trip, when I saw a young Mom doing the same.

Only where I get to enjoy the freedom of shopping sans kids, she had hers in tow: twin three year-olds in the 'car' part of the cart, and a six month old in his carrier in the kiddie-seat area.

Awww. Seriously, so cute. And the twins were being so good.

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The baby, on the other hand. Oh my.
He was teething. And he was voicing his discomfort vociferously.

At first, the loving and patient Mom was cooing softly to her wee one, trying to comfort him. But as the baby's wails increased in intensity and volume, so did the Mom's coos.

I LOVE you, Jonathan.
You're WONderful!

I LOVE you, Jonathan, you're WONDERful!!

Her pitiful cries could be heard from the Uncrustables to the Pampers.

But there was no comforting going on. Only a feeble attempt to convince herself and the other shoppers that she did indeed love her baby, and that she was not, in fact, losing her cottin' pickin' mind. My heart bled for her, but there was nothing I could do to make the wailing stop.

We finished around the same time, and I gave her my spot in line, because I knew she not only had to get through check-out, she had to load all the groceries in the car, get the kids and the food into the house, and put it all away, all with a screaming baby and two increasngly antsy preschoolers.

Our eyes locked in a moment of sisterhood.

She knew from my look -- I did not envy her. While I found her babes precious, and it made me remember back to when my own were little, I knew that when I returned home, I would have six pairs of eager reluctant hands to help me unload and carry in. I would have six sweet whiny voices asking how they could be of help when they could get back to their video games.

But I would not have a screaming baby. I would not have three year olds hanging from the rafters. I would have semi-adult-like beings to engage in mature conversations about why I didn't buy Pop Tarts or the right kind of ice cream.

And I wouldn't trade them for the world....


  1. I think grocery shopping with ALL children in tow is a rite-of-passage so that you too can look with compassion and appreciative eyes without an ounce of envy down the road when you observe another young mother doing the same. Another one for the 'been there, done that' column.

  2. Nicki, I think you make a good point. Kind of like every child should have to experience the rite of passage of a miserable road trip crammed into the back seat with siblings!

  3. I love this post! I have totally 'been there, done that' and I frequently still go there and do that. I'm just hoping that all of my trips to the grocery store with my 5 kids in tow count for some kind of karmic payback. Or is this some of my bad karma being revisited upon me?? Oh crap. Now I just don't know what I did to deserve it...

  4. Ooooh, Lissie, I never thought of it that way: karma payback or karma "credit"? Good question!

  5. This post actually made me start to tear up! LOL I have four kids ages 6,5,3,and 18 months. I take them to the grocery store EVERY time I go. My husband works nights, so scheduling a grocery trip when he can watch the kids is harder than just taking the kids...sometimes. I have been the mom with ALL FOUR kids crying about something at the same time. I always have some kind of chaotic situation going on. I always think I am the circus going through the store! (And people still come up and tell me how well behaved they are...). It is good to know some people are watching sympathetically rather than with scorn and contempt! Thanks for the perspective!

    I have started a blog too, if you feel like checking me out!

    Kiddos and Pups

    Kelly Wymer

  6. Oh, Kelly, you poor thing. It's so rough (I know, I've btdt), but it will pass. Before you even can imagine, it will pass. And you'll be both relieved and sad at the same time. Hang in there, girl! Off to check out your blog. Thanks for coming by mine....

  7. Nice post. I wanted to pick up the baby. :)
    I like your bit of humour crossing out the words of what your kids are like when you get home with the groceries. Made me smile.

  8. Shelley-Lynne, I know. I was feeling the same way (about wanting to pick up the baby), but it wasn't the vibe I was getting from her. Poor thing. Glad I could make you smile! Thanks for chiming in!

  9. Last week that was me, hauling four kids under six through the grocery store, and still trying to read labels and check for sales. Or at least it seemed like last week, when I read your article -- now they are 17, 15, 13, and 11, and yesterday the 15-year-old actually HELPED me shop and take it in the house! I miss when they were little, but maybe not that much...

  10. @Karin, I love how you started with "Last week that was me..." and then clued me in that it was really many years ago. That's the way it sure feels, right? It is so amazing when all of a sudden they turn into beings that can actually HELP you! Thanks for coming by and commenting. Have a great day!

  11. Ooooweee, poor mommy! Christopher only ran me out of a store one time. He was sick, I wanted to go to Target and I thought I would get his medicine from there and give it to him in the store. I thought he'd instantly feel some relief and I could drift and relax. If his little self could talk his cries said, "Get me the H out of this cart, out of this store, take me home and give me some attention!" And I did ;-) TALU

  12. There isn't any situation where little kids are involved and they are not happy...that I don't give the parents a sympathetic look and some smiles, let them go first, tell them to have a good day, maybe even say something about how my kids were doing the same thing the other day...we've all been there!


  13. Ohh I think we have all been there done that. The reason why I only go shopping when husband is home with the kids. If only more people were as compassionate and forgiving rather than snarky and staring as if they never have seen a fussy child.

  14. Oh...been there! I have two teens and a toddler and can appreciate both. When the older boys were little, there were time I wanted to pull my hair out - now I actually like taking them with me because they are big helpers, especially with the little one. Having babies/toddlers is so sweet and amazing, but having kids old enough to be rational/have a conversation with is also wonderful in its own way.

  15. And it is moments like this that make me happy that I have my two and that they are no longer babies that scream and cry. They are now just kids who do this, lol!! :)

  16. I have discovered how to get through the grocery store with my kids. Lollipops! lol Never leave home without 'em!

  17. The joys of parenthood! I try my hardest to NOT take my little ones grocery shopping but on those occasions when it's a must I'm crossing my fingers, toes and eyes that we can get in and out without a meltdown - from them and me!

  18. Thanks for stopping in, everyone. Sounds like we've all btdt, and we can all relate!




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