THAT mom

23 Oct

Oh yes.  I have become that mom.  You know, THAT mom.  The one you roll your eyes at.  The one you secretly think, “shame on her!”  Yes.  That is me.

Before having a baby I planned to be the perfect mom and have the perfect child.  My child would never scream in public.  My child would only get the best.  My child would be forever healthy.  And now I laugh in my own face.

Last week I went to the grocery store to pick up a few items.  I had planned it to be a short trip and just had milk in a sippy cup packed for Hadassah.  However, we had gone to the store straight from her waking up from her nap and I knew she would get hungry if this were a big shopping trip, but it wasn’t.  While it wasn’t a giant shopping trip, I definitely filled my cart decently.  As I start making the trek from the back of the store to the check out area, Hadassah eyes the grapes in the cart and starts asking for them.  I reassure her that we will be done soon and that she can have a snack soon.  By the time we are at the front of the store I noticed that she has done some gymnastics moves and has swiped some grapes.  A Wal-mart employee swiftly directs me to an open lane (this never happens).

I quickly throw the grapes up on the belt, along with some applesauce squeezy pouches, all the while beginning to get in to “mom-mode.”  I start sweating and get out of breath.  My senses are highly alert as I know that Hadassah is very close to having a hunger meltdown.  “Can I just buy these really quickly, since my daughter is starving?”  The clerk happily obliges and begins chit chatting about how he is new at his post.  I quickly unscrew a squeezy pouch and stuff it in Hadassah’s mouth, and she is instantly happy.  As I am loading up the rest of our groceries, I am surveying the goods.  I have a gnawing feeling that something is missing.  I look over my list for the tenth time.  Eggs.  How do I forget eggs!  We need at least two dozen!  I start sweating again, and I even get an uncomfortable tingling itch under my armpits.  I briefly consider just leaving the store without the eggs, but I figure that is stupid.  I frantically glance behind me expecting there to be a line piled up that comes with at least a 20 minute wait, but there was no one!

“Eggs.  Eggs!  I need eggs!  Can I go get some please?”  I sputter out like a maniac.  The clerk relaxingly looks at the conveyer belt and says, “Oh, this will take me awhile.”  In a split second I have to decide if I will go faster on cart or on foot.  I determine that the latter is a better idea.  I throw on my over-sized bag and grab my daughter, who doesn’t find it necessary to hold on to me with her legs.  In fact, she’s not holding on to anything.  Her squeezy pouch is just dangling from her mouth as she peers around the store, her arms limp as well.  “A little help here, Hadassah,” I say as I try to bounce her in to a more favorable position.  I know exactly where the eggs are and plan my route with lightening speed.  The problem is, they are at the absolute furthest point away possible in the store.  “Why don’t they have an aisle right at the front of the store of common things to forget, like milk, eggs, and bread?”  I complain to no one in particular.  I feel as if everyone is staring at me.  Who rushes through Wal-mart without a cart?  Surely it is unheard of!

I spot my destination and plan for efficiency.  Grab eggs.  Put eggs in over-sized bag.  Nope.  Scratch that.  Don’t want to get arrested.  I hurriedly pick out my eggs, and now I am literally carrying Hadassah, who thinks she is raggedy-Ann, by one armpit, a dozen eggs in one hand and another dozen in the other.  I finally arrive back at the cashier’s to find that the conveyer belt is empty and the clerk is unfortunately waiting on me.  I get another sweaty pinch under my armpit.  I throw Hadassah back in the cart and stuff some grapes in her mouth and finish loading up my groceries.

“Wow,” the clerk says admiringly, “You are like a miracle worker keeping her happy!”  To prove the point, Hadassah gives him her most winning smile.

So, wait.  What mom am I again?  THAT mom?  No, I wasn’t the mom with the screaming baby in the store, although I came really close.  I am the mom that kept her kid happy at the grocery store.  After the clerk made his statement about me being so wonderful, I thought, “am I really?”  I do recognize that my daughter was getting very hungry and I don’t want to starve her.  I mean, I myself am hypoglycemic and I do not eat on any schedule except my own, which is usually this: ALWAYS.  But then I wondered, “Am I that mom that will spoil her kids and buy them something or give them something just because they are throwing a temper tantrum?”  So, maybe I was.  Maybe I am.  Maybe I will be.

The whole situation was very enlightening.  If you are at a store and your kid is throwing a temper tantrum, you are bound to look like a horrible mother.  But crying doesn’t always mean the parent is failing.  In fact, the parent might be denying the child something frivolous and not indulging or reinforcing their temper tantrum.  While onlookers will judge this parent harshly, I think we need to applaud them more.  If you are at a store and are keeping your little ones happy, throwing something their way or stuffing grapes in their mouth like I did, to outsiders you look like this great parent who can keep their kids under control, but what about the root of the issue?  Granted, Hadassah was hungry and I don’t think it is very nice to deprive her, but I am going to be more careful and reflective about these kinds of things in the future.  I don’t want to keep Hadassah happy just to make myself look good or keep other people in public feeling comfortable.  I don’t want to end up with a manipulative child where every single outing costs me an extra couple of bucks because I have to buy them something to keep them happy.  I want them to be well behaved without a toy.  I want to be THAT mom.

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