Published on: July 24, 2016
By Chelene Salzwedel
You know when you wish the earth would just swallow you up?
It’s that moment at the till, when you reach for your Smart Shopper card, and your toddler pulls all the cards out of your wallet, making them scatter e v e r y w h e r e! Which means you have to bend down to collect them off of the grubbiest floor your OCD mind can imagine – which means your eyes are now off your grab-happy child, who has managed to squelch the perfect bananas you hand-picked right before leaping out of the trolley on top of you… perfect disaster.
Being a mom is a challenge at the best of times! So much to pull off in so little time. It can feel like the day started with its hands around your throat and its heavy boots on your children’s toes… let’s be real for a minute!
The thing that makes it so beautiful is that you are not alone in that moment! The old lady seemingly glaring at you from the next aisle for your lack of competency is likely reminiscing about the times when her children were your age, or even about when she used to struggle in the same way that you are – desperate for more arms and fighting to keep her voice low! it probably reminds her of how thrilling it was to be a mother to littlies, with their heaps of energy and desire for life, and how worth it every crazy moment was!
It’s so easy to assume we’re being judged, especially when all we have to go by is fleeting eye glances and out-of-context statements we overhear.
But I would like to suggest another angle: what if people actually “get it” and they have more patience than we imagine – a world with more friends than enemies maybe?
If today could start over, with my mind in “positive outlook” gear, the story may play out a little differently…
I reach for my Pick ‘n Pay card – at which point my toddler dismantles my wallet with extreme satisfaction on her gorgeous face, and I unwittingly glance across to the next aisle… there my eyes meet the gaze of a well-intentioned elderly person who’s been there before, and we smile at each other. Feeling okay with the humanness of this moment, I manage to exercise common sense, remove my daughter from the trolley, and she helps me pick up my cards and pack them back in my wallet! She feels a redeeming sense of accomplishment and I maintain my sanity… life is sweet.