When my kids were very little, our shopping trolley looked something like this
“Are they all yours?” Yes
“All the same father?” WTF?! (I kid you not. I got this many many times)
“Those two must be twins.” No
“How on earth did you do that?” ummm…the usual way?
“Oh My! You must be busy!” It’s not as bad as you think
“Glad I don’t pay your grocery bill.” I bet
“Your husbands going to need two jobs to feed all those boys.” Yeah maybe.
Now, that we’re all a bit older, it’s more like this
We don’t get people staring at us anymore, because the age gap (or slight lack thereof) is
not as obvious now. And manoeuvering the trolley is much easier. There’s alot less colliding into displays of Wheetbix happening now, thankfully. Even so, I still prefer to
do the grocery shopping without the kids.
Did I just admit to having a preference of doing something without my cherubs?
Oh yes. Yes. I. Did.
Sometimes I go during school hours, and this is ok. But if I go after school I get to soak up
all the conversations between other kids and their Mums.
My fab four sit in the car while I do this. Now don’t freak out and call Child Protection Services or anything like that. It’s not 30 degrees outside, they have air and water. Deflector has a mobile phone if there is a problem. And frankly if I can’t expect my 5, 8, 9 and 11 year olds to behave themselves whilst unsupervised for 10 minutes…well then I have bigger problems. So a movie goes on the new fangled screen thingy in my car, and they sit happily watching the pretty colours on the screen. Perfect.
I give myself 10 minutes. Anymore than that and I risk an old biddy standing at my car, tapping her foot at me, when I return.
So, I’m racing around the store looking for the things I need. And when I hear things like
“Dont tell your sister what to do. You, young man, are not the parent” I smile. Because I said that very thing to Deflector this morning.
“I am NOT buying coco pops, Chocolate is not a breakfast food.”
“No. I do not believe for one second that you need those Spiderman stickers for school”
“Please…just shut up for a second”
“River! Stop walking backwards!”
“Get out of that”
“Put that back”
And my personal favourite “No no no no no no. NO”
It’s like my ‘Mother Calibration Session.’ I can soak in all the normalness of other
people’s lives. We are all exactly the same, doing the same everyday stuff. Witnessing
the things that make us real brings people together. It’s the little sigh of relief that lets
down the facade. That little bit of ‘sameness’ that you witness in others, is the bridge to
true acceptance of yourself and each other.
That is why I like to shop alone, if only for 10 minutes. When I do take the kids with me it
is I who says all those things. Then I miss the opportunity, and lack the awareness, to find the ‘sameness’ in those moments.
Try to find the ‘real’ in the families close to you. Give yourself permission to extend a bit more of the ‘real’ from yourself. Use it as a bridge for acceptance.
If you’re going to leave your kids unattended in the car, use your brain.
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