I went to Wal Mart today. It was a simple trip. A few grocery items, toilet paper, formula...the usual. I was amazed at how quickly I was able to zoom through the aisles and grab everything I needed. I'm a fairly slow grocery shopper as I typically take the time to read labels and price compare, so I was pretty impressed with the fact that I was able to load up my cart in just a half hour.
Then I got to the checkout. You know the one.....the one of 17 that's open, during rush, and you're last in line, and I mean so last in line that you're back in the electronics department. Yep. That was me.
But two customers in front of me was a mother. She had four young boys with her and was frantically picking items up off the floor that they kept tossing out of the cart. She was yelling at them to stop and scrambled through her purse trying to find her cash to pay for her items. One started crying, two started hitting and yelling at eachother, and the fourth boy, the oldest, started complaining. The woman directly in front of me in line turns around and goes, 'I have been in this line for twenty minutes now because of her.' I politely pointed out that there were self checkouts available if she didn't want to wait any more. The wait certainly did not bother me.
That was surprising. It wasn't long ago I was the person in the store annoyed by screaming children and blamed the parent for holding up my precious life and making me spend more time in Wal Mart than I wanted to. But now, as I stood there, watching this woman trying to balance four toddlers and a grocery cart full of items, I realized something....she was an amazing woman. I don't take P shopping with me. I schedule grocery shopping and other trips around Hubs' work schedule so she can stay home with him while I go to the store, even if it's late. I am too afraid to bring her with me for the sheer fact that she might throw a tantrum. But here is this woman, with four, and she was managing. At one point, I noticed her turn her head away and bite her lip, obviously fighting back tears. She was frustrated. These kids were driving her bonkers, and Miss Prissy Pants in line behind her wasn't doing anyone any favors. I wanted to tell her it was okay, that she's the most courageous woman I've seen. I wanted to tell her that it won't be like this forever, and that it's okay to resent this moment. But I didn't. I smiled at her, silent letting her know it was okay; I would not rush her. Take your time mama, your job doesn't look nearly as easy as people think it should be.
Women like this give me hope. Women like this inspire me. Not only do they validate that I too could take P out in public with me, but that it's okay if she freaks out. And women like her make me want to reach out even more to make a difference, to create a bond with other women that only other moms could possibly understand.
So complain all you want, Wal Mart shoppers, but the parent walking around with that screaming, crying child is a hero, and you should only treat them as such.
Side note: On June 20 I am partaking in the Climb Out of the Darkness fundraiser for postpartumprogress.org. Please help me reach my goal, and support the cause, by donating at https://www.crowdrise.com/sarahm2-COTD2015/fundraiser/sarahm2