My weekly trip to the grocery store is generally intense, but not nightmare-ish. I thought I had adjusted to the workload of carrying a baby in a front pack and wrangling two energetic walkers. Like I said, it is always intense.
Everything was going smoothly until we crossed paths with Aunt Meghan and her boys. Just the sight of their cousins was enough to send them into energy overdrive. My children couldn't wait to get to the next aisle in hopes of seeing Caleb and creating a huge scene including shouts of excitement, loud talking and general chaos. It is beyond me why the mere sight of their favorite playmate caused them to lose all respect for authority which resulted in plain old disobedience.
The end result was a daughter that decided it was ok to run two aisles away to look at a display. Thankfully I knew which one she went to. Yes, she was promptly swatted on the behind...in public. This while my son found a wayward plastic ball and was throwing it in the aisle. WHAT??!!
Mercifully we were finished and I made my way to the checkout. Anna started crying...hard. Josiah wanted to get in the cart to help unload the groceries. Aliza was checking out the toys in the checkout lane and was just generally in the way and pestering me to buy things. The two ladies behind me in line kept on exchanging glances which made me feel self-conscious. I was using the quiet, extremely stern voice with my children that is meant to let the children know I mean business and the other women know that "although I look crazy I am really in control here."
Continuing on...Aliza was mad because I couldn't get her in the cart to unload groceries. So I told her to take the loaded bags of groceries off the carasoul and put them in the cart. (Anna is still crying). I look down and bags of loaded groceries are going IN the cart while Josiah is still UNLOADING the cart. Chaos, I tell you.
Finally, I get my total and as I'm reaching for my wallet the cashier tells me that Breyer's ice cream costs $1.97 and points out that the Great Value ice cream I bought cost $2.88. Was it not clearly obvious that I had no time to compare prices???
At the car I thought I was finally out of the public eye. I put the crying baby in first. Aliza and Josiah were just being noisy. I went to put the groceries in the car. A couple walked past and the lady said, Do you have 2 in there? I said, "No, I have 3." She said, "Triplets??!!" I said, "No, they are 5, 3, and 6 months."
The moral of the story. When I am in another phase of life where I shop alone and I see a Mom struggling to harness the energy of her children I will unload her groceries or talk to her wayward child. I will certainly let her know that I've been there and will refrain from letting her feel like a pitiful excuse for a Mom by my body language and questions.
And, finally, a piece of advice. Don't, under any circumstances, comment to a Mom in a passing that she has her hand's full. Chances are that if you are thinking that she is fully aware of that fact already.