I just had one of the most stressful experiences of my life .... at the grocery store of all places.
Picture this, I'm all ready to tackle going to the grocery store, and by ready I mean I grabbed some clothes off my floor, swiped on some mascara, put my hair in a mom bun and said "Let's go!" to the boys. It only took me 10 minutes to get them in the car and get them buckled in to their carseats. There was only one toddler fit over a teddy bear before I pulled out of the driveway, and I consider that a win. The day was breezy and sunny, the moods were great, it was going to be a good day. I was ready to do this.
On the way to the store I had to stop and get some Starbucks, because let's face it, the kids have natural energy and I need synthetic energy, so I grabbed them both a cake pop at the drive-thru when I grabbed my grande latte. This is also a way I like to spoil myself and the kids from time to time.
(What the hell was I thinking pumping them full of sugar before I took them into a store?! )
We get to the store and it's instant chaos. As SOON as we walk in the door they take off in different directions. So here I am yelling in the store, "Come here!" "Get Over Here!" " Don't Touch That!" like a mad woman. People are staring, and I am pretty sure I look like a psycho with my mom bun, my stained t-shirt, and my tired eyes. I'm embarrassed, and I can feel the stress rising in my body, like a thermometer does when the heat rises. Pretty soon it is going to hit the top of my head and I am going to f*(king EXPLODE.
Then the "Mom, can I have(s)" begin. I despise this part of our trips to the store. If I took a shot for every time I said "No" in the store today I would have been hammered within 10 minutes. Truth be told I wish I would have played that game, because maybe my version of the store trip would have been a tad more bearable.
So within about 15 minutes my oldest twin starts to get pissed that I am saying no to him, and starts throwing things in the store. This is fun. People are staring. I'm doing the mom threats under my breath hoping to get a handle it, and he isn't budging. So I just say, in a very loud voice, "Either you straighten up or I am going to cause a scene right here in front of everyone! " Then I picked him up and placed him the cart.
He climbed out of the cart.
All I want to do is get my groceries and get the hell out of that store, as you can imagine. So we are wrapping up, and my oldest is yelling about how he wants to go home and play Minecrap (Minecraft). And I am like ... dude ... that is all I WANT TOO! To get out of here, away from the staring eyes, and the judgmental people, and the stress this whole trip has caused, so I can go stress about different things at my house.
And with a sympathetic cashier helping me load my cart and get me out the door we made it out of the store. Hallelujah
So I told you that whole story because it made me think about a couple of things.
The first being that people need to stop being such judgmental assholes toward moms. Is that screaming toddler getting on your nerves in Walmart? Do you think the mother should leave with her child because he is causing a ruckus? Let me tell you something, she has just as much of a right to be there as you do, and she isn't going to leave just because her toddler is having a bad day and your ears are offended. Get over yourself. If you have the time and the audacity to judge a mother who is having a hard time with her child in public, maybe you should offer her some help? You have no idea what kind of day she has had. I guarantee you she is exhausted. I bet you she has tried everything and has no idea what to do to keep her child under control at this point. You know, even an understanding nod to her means the world. It means that you understand she is having a hard time and you're not judging her parenting skills. Every mother worries that she is being judged on how she handles her child when they are being unruly in public. Show her that there is no need to worry about that, all she needs to worry about is getting through this moment, getting done what she needs to get done so she can go hide in her bathroom and cry later.
So that's the first thing, don't be an asshole.
The second thing is ... how often do we put ourselves in stressful situations that are completely avoidable? Are we gluttons for punishment? Take my trip to the store for example: If I am being completely honest I didn't HAVE to go to the store today . I just wanted to get out of the house. I know how stressful trips to the store with both of my twins can be, but I risked it just the same, and for what? For it to turn out exactly how I expected it would. Which also makes me question, did I have anything to do with the experience being as stressful as it was? Like maybe that sugary cake pop I gave them right before going into the store....
Now that is something to ponder isn't it? From now on I vow to give pause before I give in to my spontaneous nature and really consider the situation I am putting myself in beforehand. If stressful situations can be avoided, then we SHOULD avoid them. It's a part of self care. It's a HUGE part of learning to stress less. What recent stressful situations have you been in that could have been avoided?