Lately I’ve been grocery shopping without my son. It’s just so much easier to get in and out and not end up with extra things in my cart, my patience tried, and my son hopped up on sugar. The other day it just happened that I had to do a full, big grocery trip on a Monday morning, and my son was coming with me. He’s almost three, so the grocery store is a magical place for him. One full of unlimited possibilities of things to touch, people to see, and food to eat now and later. And it’s all good, but being real — we are all moms here, so we all know that going to the grocery store with a kid or 2 or 4 in tow is not a fun trip for a mom.
We started out with the pure joy and excitement that comes from walking in the door and seeing that the blue car cart is there! The blue one seems to be the most popular one. It’s always the one Jack wants and it’s rarely ever available. Then we always pass the family in it in the store, warranting an explanation of how other people use things too and how we don’t always get what we want. This only prefaces our trip to the bakery department for a cookie, which probably 70% of the time doesn’t have cookies out. As a dietitian this pleases me, but as a mom it irritates me when I have a toddler who is shopping with me and wants a cookie. So then we have another chat as I tell him they don’t have any cookies today and we again go over how we don’t always get what we want. He handles this well, and we move on.
Once he realizes he’s not getting a cookie, he jumps ship, giving up the car he so badly wanted to ride in, to walk beside me and help me push. We slowly make our way through the rest of the grocery store as he runs at some points and drags his feet at others. Extra things end up in the cart. He gets some Teddy Grahams for himself and his best friend. This continues through the whole store. As we are in the baking aisle, so close to being done, with only the cold stuff left to go, my patience starts dropping at a faster rate. I’m just looking for a box of brownie mix. Why isn’t it here? Jack is running up and down the aisle until he finds the spices and wants to pick up and open every single one. I just want to be done. We go up and down the aisle 3 times trying to find what I need. Finally, I find it, and we can move on and get out of there. I ask him to come with me, and he’s too busy looking at things to hear me. I say his name trying to get his attention, “JT it’s time to go. Come on.” He reluctantly agrees and walks slower than a tortoise behind me.
A woman who has been in the baking aisle with us smiles at me as we pass leaving the aisle. She must have seen the worn out face behind my smile because she walked past me and said “You’re a good mom.” In a moment where I felt like I was pulling teeth as a mother, where I was just trying to get through — certainly not excelling, these kind, encouraging words from a stranger gave me strength. Her words helped me to step back from the challenging situation and see the bigger picture. It’s not just the dreaded grocery run with my kid, but rather, it’s an opportunity in raising a soul. Taking my child along for even mundane things is a joy to him, and whether I realize it or not I am teaching him things with each action I take and each thing I tell him. So right now I don’t appreciate these grocery trips, but I am sure down the road when I have big kids, I will look back and remember the days of taking my kids to the grocery store with me.
Today if you are struggling in the deep of motherhood — whether it’s in diapers, or sweeping, too many Cheerios, and not enough sleep — whatever it may be, I want to encourage you. Hear from me… you’re a good mom. What you’re doing matters. Day in and day out.
You’re a good mom.