There aren't very many people grocery shopping at 9am when you drop your kiddo off at preschool.
There's no line at the in-store Starbucks.
No one's rushed at the deli counter, so they actually smile at you when you take your time to assess which meats and cheeses are on sale.
It's quiet, so you can mindfully check items off your list and methodically make your way aisle by aisle to gather the specific things you want, instead of scooping up shit and throwing it into the cart just to get the hell out of there.
Instead of feeling exhausted, you feel accomplished.
You carefully place your items onto the conveyor belt grouped by how you want them packaged, not stressed by which child is going to whine the loudest for Starburst or worse yet, those God awful, suckers that look like pacifiers...they disgust me.
No, shopping sans kids is a beautiful thing.
So, when I passed a mom in the produce section with a young toddler and a brand new baby who was crying that horrible, gut wrenching, won't stop sob that indicates that they don't want to be in the car seat or are terribly hungry or both...I gotta admit, the first thought that popped into my head was...
Sucks to be you.
I'm so done with and over the baby days. And even though my purse still resembles a glorified diaper bag, it does not have a single tube of ointment or bottle or wet wipe to speak of. Praise Jesus.
Gathering my apples and bananas, I high tailed it into the meat section joyfully tuning out the cries of the infant. Sipping my Americano, I continued to gather my items and think about what I wanted my day to look like feigning some semblance of control.
And then, I got to the check out line.
She had beat me there. And God help her, she had her hands full in every way. Her toddler was screaming for candy. Her baby was still crying, except that now, she was trying to hold him with one hand while putting the food items on the conveyor belt trying not to drop anything.
I have been there so many times. I know exactly how it feels. It is a gut wrenching, sucky, sucky spot to be in and there's nothing you can do except endure it until you can get out to the car to nurse the baby and give the kid his bag of M&M's.
So, I just decided to speak up.
Sucks, doesn't it.
She flipped around with a look of horror. "I'm sorry."
Oh God...don't be. You're in the thick of it. The trenches. I have three of my own.
"Really? I've only taken them both to the store alone once. I knew I shouldn't have tried it this morning."
You're doing an amazing job. I nearly strangled my oldest when he threw a tantrum while I was trying to rock the baby and get the food out of the store. And really, the only way it gets better is to keep taking them. Keep practicing. But really, you look amazing.
"Thank you. I needed that."
I felt so happy unloading my groceries. This, I thought. This is what we need to do. We've got to build each other up as mamas. The whole deal sucks at any given time. It's enough to drive you to fill in any addiction you want. So, more than ever, we must encourage instead of judge. It's only been a few years for me since I was in that spot. It's no fun. But it's doable and so worth it.
All that said, I was still so, so happy to get in the car and turn on NPR instead of Vacation Bible School songs. Oh sweet no children bliss.