To the mum with the cray-cray kid at the shops:
I am so sorry that you probably only saw our judgy watchful eyes, I know what it looked like. At first though it really was in pure curiosity, you know the OMG I am so glad it’s not me kind or like the part in a David Attenborough doco where all the animals get their fuck on and you’re oddly grossed out and fascinated by it but Can. Not. Look. Away.
But then we watched you try to wrangle your 6 year old at the indoor playground by the desperately in need of an update cafe. We saw you get really really frustrated, we saw you yell and we saw you make those empty threats when your son refused to follow you when you had clearly had enough. We watched you for 30 minutes tell him you were leaving, that you were calling ‘Bob’ or (insert authoritative figure here). We saw you have absolutely enough of your son that day.
We saw that you wanted to imaginary bash the heck out of your son for humiliating you in a public place when all you wanted to do was to go home. We also saw that you had a newborn, a newborn baby girl that you didn’t want to leave in the trolley sleeping peacefully oblivious to the chaos her older brother caused you that day, she slept wonderfully with her little head band on and those teeny socks. We weren’t judging you, we weren’t watching you in disbelief that your child was doing what he was doing, because I know, we all know that it’s what kids do. We were watching your daughter silently for you while you chased your son, pointing at him, being unable to catch him in the small pokey playground. We watched her so you could plead with him to quit crushing your tired.mother.of.a.newborn soul. You probably didn’t know that’s why we watched, but we could see you didn’t want to leave her sleeping in her trolley with your shopping, so we just watched.
Because we had your back.
Because I; the only mother of the 3 of us that sat and watched that day had been there, I saw your frustration in myself, I saw the fury, the anger and the rage all in my self because you knew and I knew that at any moment your darling girl might wake up. Then she will want a feed and then she will need to be settled which you and I both know takes an hour or so which would mean that you would have to go to a parents room or sit in the cafe for longer. Then you wouldn’t get home for another hour and a half and you knew that by then you would have been covered in tears and not of your children but of your own.
We wanted to come and stand by the trolley and let you know that we had your back, but we didn’t want to make you feel like you didn’t have it all worked out. But now, looking back, you didn’t know we had your back and I wish you did. I wish I had stood up, walked over and stood by your baby so you knew you weren’t alone.
I am so sorry.
We have all been there.
You are not alone.
Little did you know that the other day I too had ‘that’ child at the shop.
I had to ‘Pop’ (FACT: popping somewhere with kids doesn’t actually exist) into the shops to get cat food before we headed out for the day, my kids, the two smallest of the 3 were in good spirits and I thought “oh great this will be easy”. That is the biggest mistake a mother will ever make, thinking or saying something will be easy with kids.
JINX, no touch backs no returns.
We entered the store, relaxed, happy with not a care in the world, holding hands like the fucking brady bunch. We talked about the butcher and our friend Sam who worked there and how she gives them fritz.
We enter the food store, Moo wants to go left because the lino floor there is yellow and he wants to go left because: Yellow. But we need to go right because even though the cat food is in fact left, I the mother made a huge mistake and realised we needed bread too. Which is in fact to the right.
So we go right, Moo does not agree and legs it to the left, I yell out “Moo!!!!!!!!” Then with Little flea running behind me screaming “Stop it, that’s my sister” (Clearly she has dreams too because Moo is in fact a boy) I spend a good 5 maybe 7 minutes chasing Moo down all of the first 5th and 6th aisles with people moving out the way to watch me, because me, a 30 year old mum running while wearing an ahh bra is just a great thing to see, almost like a spectacle really, those things have zero support.
Finally a lovely lady steps in and stops him by saying “I think your mummy is chasing you”, he stops, I stop, we all stop and I thank her profusely while embarrassingly launching my Moo into a trolley and proclaiming that today, this day is the worst shopping trip of the week and that I need a vodka or a wine, or some kind of mind numbing drug. We leave the store defeated and wave to Sam the butcher as we leave who can see by the look on all our faces that someone’s soul was crushed at the store that day just as yours was the day before.
Lets all have each others backs because we all got ‘that’ kid.