Dear New Mom In The Grocery Store: It Gets Better(ish)
Dear New Mom,
We bumped into each other today, you with your infant carrier covered with a blanket, protecting that tiny new baby from the harsh Texas sun, me with my four-year-old and one-year-old companions who were, for some reason, making a trip to the grocery store look easy. You moved as I loaded Nora into the car seat, apologizing for being in my way. “You make this look easy,” you said. “I had to take my mom with me just to grocery shop,” you explained, your baby quietly crying in the back seat.
If we hadn’t been standing in a parking lot in 100 degree heat, and if I were a friendlier, huggier type, I would have reached out to assure you that my children were for some reason deciding to behave all at the same time; that I don’t have any more idea what I’m doing than you do, but despite the constant on-the-job-training it all gets infinitely easier than those first days when everything is new, even a trip to the same grocery store you’ve been to 100s of times.
I would have told you about my trips to HEB with Nora in the carrier, or the ergo, or the sling, whichever seemed right at the moment, the trips where I kept a pacifier in my diaper bag just for the grocery store, hoping that Nora could just make it through until the check-out line before she started a scene. I would tell you that I was terrified of the grocery store trips, the what ifs -- what if she gets hungry, what if she needs a diaper, what if she starts crying and I can’t soothe her. What if all of that happened in aisle 10 and everyone started to stare and give advice and what if…
And then I would have told you to stop worrying about all of that.
I fed Miles in an aisle of Payless while trying on shoes; I let him cry his way through Target, trying my best to calm him at the same time I absorbed concerned looks and filled my basket with necessities. The second time around I realized that poop in aisle 10 wasn’t a huge deal, that a crying baby probably wasn’t disturbing that many shoppers, and if it was, I didn’t care. I realized that all of the unsolicited advice one may receive from well-meaning old ladies pushing their carts at a snail’s pace wasn’t meant to hurt me and that I could just ignore it, smile and move on.
I would also assure you that every mom has doubts, that every mom needs help, that every mom has days where she can get through the grocery store without bribing anyone to cooperate and every mom has thrown some extra chocolate pudding into the cart as an incentive to just behave for ten more minutes.
Some days it works, it seems easy, everything falls into place. Other days you wonder what parallel universe you’ve been sent to.
Today Karma was on my side and I was the mom who looked like I knew what I was doing. Next time, it might be you. I might be envying the serenity of your baby in your cart while begging my kids to stop throwing food, pulling hair, pleading for treats. We all have our turn.
Thanks, New Mom In The Grocery Store for the compliment. Today was a good day. I hope tomorrow is for you too.
Sarah blogs at toddlersummer.com
Photo Credit: glenpooh.