The frazzled mom in the checkout lane
You stand in front of me in the check out lane, frantically trying to get your child to quiet down as he throws a tantrum because he didn’t get a toy today. You practically throw your items onto the conveyor belt as you try to keep calm, telling him to stop his behavior, that he can’t always get something on every trip to the store. But he doesn’t listen and continues to shriek and hurl insults at you. Your cheeks turn a shade of pink as you glance in my direction with an apologetic look, and I see you. I see how hard you are trying and I know that look and how it feels to be the person on the end of this sort of behavior.
As this behavior continues, the woman behind me feels that it’s her time to put her two sense in and says that “you should really get a handle on your child” and “maybe you shouldn’t bring your son to the store if this is how he behaves”. But what she doesn’t know, is that your son is special, just like mine, as you have so quietly confided to me just then.
I do my best to not turn around and give this woman a piece of my mind, because this judgement from people doesn’t help our current situations and makes these trips so much harder for us. I give you a look of understanding, and tell you that “my son is also special”, so I know how these trips take so much out of you. You dread them, and have such hope that every time you will leave the store unscathed, but that day rarely comes.
But then a kind man behind the judgemental woman speaks up and tells you to take your time, that he remembers when his kids were young, and not all kids can be perfect angels all the time. The woman behind me throws him a nasty glance, assuming that all bystanders would be on her side I assume, but he has a point. Even the most well behaved children have those days of “I wants”.
You are doing your best and I see that too. I’m lucky that today my kids were almost angels, but that’s probably because I had to threaten them with a day without privileges if they so much as hinted at a tantrum. No judgement is too small, it’s easy for others to throw a sour glance your way, or a snide comment, but I don’t believe they would have the patience to endure them, had they been in your shoes. As you leave, I smile at you and tell you that “I think you handled the situation just fine”, and “I hope your day gets better”.
Tomorrow that may be me, and I hope that I may meet someone who could be as understanding and without judgement.
© 2019 Tara Celeste