C1 (5-year old boy) and C2 (3-year old girl) had been picking at each other all day. The amount of tattling, screaming, and general asshole behavior was getting at my last nerve. This irritating behavior had escalated to a full-blown game of “bitch, slap, whine, repeat”. I was exhausted.
I had the brilliant (you know if I describe myself as brilliant that should instantly be read as sarcasm) idea that maybe if I got the kiddos out of the house their behavior would miraculously improve. I had visions of little angels holding hands and taking in the world around them. They would be talking sweetly to one another and repetitively telling me what a wonderful mother I am and how much they love me. Brilliant.
Of course I chose the best possible outing for my little crew of children, the grocery store. For God’s sake, I must have been engaging in some sort of subconscious self-punishment. But I needed to get them out of the house and I was low on cupcakes and liquor. The grocery store had to happen.
I was rounding a corner in the grocery store trying to keep up with C1 and C2. In my cart was a loudly squealing C3 (1- year old girl) who thought the entire situation was incredibly entertaining. I made eye contact with this young, fit, 20ish girl. She had on a tight pair of jeans and a crop top. She gasped, “Oh my God, there’s another one!” As she bared witness to the chaos that is my life, I could hear her ovaries start to shrivel. I had a mental picture of ripe, luscious plums dehydrating at a rapid pace into bitter, ugly prunes. I laughed out loud. For you young people, I LOLed.
Now take a moment and picture this situation. Two crazed children running amuck through a grocery store. A frantic mother chasing after them with a cart full of cupcakes and liquor… and a baby. Then this mother starts to hysterically laugh out of nowhere. The fact that the police were not called to perform a welfare check still astonishes me.
I can only imagine what my reaction would have been if I had witnessed this same scene in my early 20s. I would like to imagine that I would help the mother out and stick my leg out to trip the running children. In actuality I would probably have stared in disbelief, judged her in silence, and made it a good story of what “I would never do” as a mother. I can tell you that I would have been sure to double-check my birth control.
My inner hope is that this young lady goes on to have children of her own and she has a flashback to this moment in her life. Hopefully this happens during her own moment, when she may need a reminder that sometimes parenting and chaos go hand in hand.