Today was like so many other days, when I had to drag three kids to the store. This is no easy feat, and is in fact, one of my least favorite ventures. You see, in the store my children behave like farm animals that have escaped confinement.
They run, they yell, they knock things over. They ask if they can have every item that catches their eye; be it Hot Wheels or WD-40, Barbies or salt shakers. And why on earth would a 4 year old want salt shakers?! Sometimes when I’m not looking for a second, they spin each other in the bagging racks. True story. And the baby always finds the perfect time to decide that he’s positively starving to death. Yes it’s true… I hate the trips to the store.
They frustrate me to tears and then ask for milkshakes on the way home.
Our shopping trip experiences are no time for rewards. For me it is surely some type of punishment. Positively the culmination of all my bad karma coming to fruition. But today, we got the milkshakes anyway.
I looked into my oldest (and feistiest’s) big blue eyes and remembered that our battles aren’t easy for him either, that sometimes his outbursts of bad behavior are probably my fault, and that we’re just trying to figure this whole thing out together. His inherently defiant attitude challenges me daily but he is surely my most favorite battle to have to fight.
I looked at my daughter, who is only four but gets so caught up in acting like she’s six (like her big brother) that sometimes I forget it myself, and knew that she has endured a million of my bad moods too. But she never punishes me for them. In fact, she often gives me a hug at the most inconvenient but perfect moment and tells me “I love you even when you’re mad, Mommy.” Because putting things into perspective and grown ups in their place is her superpower.
Then I looked at the 20+ pound four month old in the Tula carrier strapped to my chest and realized that I deserved a damn milkshake too.
Sometimes I get too caught up in trying to be a strict mom with perfectly mannered children who would never disobey me in the store. Sometimes I think that I’m totally failing at that venture and come down hard on myself for all of the things that I must be doing wrong.
But other times, my child’s kindergarten teacher tells me how sincerely happy she is to have my child in her class… Because as luck would have it, his energy and proclivity for disobedience also translates to an enthusiasm for learning when channeled correctly. Who’d have thought? 😉
Sometimes, my daughter’s relentless chattering serves only to perfect my skill of tuning her out. But other times the cashier is a little old lady whose entire day is made sunny thanks to a conversation with my four year old.
Sometimes my screaming baby is a sweet nostalgia for mothers with houses now full of empty bedrooms.
Sometimes, other people are better at being grateful for what we have than we are.
So yeah, maybe I shouldn’t have done it. Maybe I should have. Does a mom every really know these things? But we endured the miserable trip to the grocery store… and we got milkshakes on the way home.