I took a trip to my local food co-op with my three kids a couple of nights ago…you know where this is going right? It started out as a stressful trip because we were trying to grab a few items for dinner, the toddler wasn’t having it, the preschooler was not listening, and the 9-year-old was trying to help but not really. I was thinking to myself: Get in, Get out – as quick as POSSIBLE. It didn’t exactly happen that way. Okay it didn’t happen that way at all. I walk in and put the toddler in the cart and thought that I was ready to go. Nope. He is trying to climb out any way he could and I decided it was safer for him to be out while I chose the things I needed. I asked the big kid to help by hanging out with him (the toddler has a tendency of grabbing things off the shelves…like, all the things off the shelves). I put the toddler down and he looked happy…peaceful even, just looking around. Then in a split second he turned around, grabbed the nearest thing to him, and tore it from the shelf. He happened to be a 4-pack of drinks in GLASS bottles. Ugh. Fun times. I go grab an employee…although I think they are all technically volunteers…to clean up the mess. This old man comes broom and mop in hand, and begins to clean. I apologize a million times and offer to pay for the drinks. He refuses and after I apologized again for my ‘monster toddler’ he just smiled at me and said “Hun, isn’t that what toddlers are supposed to do? Test your limits and be little monsters?” and then he just chuckled and finished cleaning up.
Lesson One: Not everyone finds your children’s actions as annoying and crazy as you do.
He was right. He was being a toddler, it was an accident, and he could see how sorry I was. He was choosing to be positive about the whole thing.
I finish grabbing the few things that I needed to get for dinner and head to the checkout line. At our food co-op, there is a (super cheap) member fee to shop there. If you do not have a member card, then you get a 10% fee tacked on. I had forgotten this as it had been the first time in about 2 years or so I had shopped there, since moving to the area. I told the guy I would like to sign up and he simply gave me the paperwork so I could take it home to fill out instead, and waived my fee since I promised to come back and get the card. I think he secretly felt bad for me since my toddler was trying to fly out of my arms while I am paying and packing my bag one handed.
Lesson Two: People do still trust other people’s word, and can have compassion while others are struggling.
As I was leaving, I bumped into an older lady and apologized to her a few times. She stops me in, lays her hand on my arm and tells me “You have nothing to be sorry for! You have your hands full. I bet you apologize all day being a mom and dealing with your kids. In this community here, you do not need to apologize. We have all been there and understand.” I told her I did feel like I say sorry a lot as a mom and I really appreciated her for saying so. Sweetest. Lady. Ever.
Lesson Three: There are people are out there that care and understand. You do not have to apologize for everything.
It’s true, I do live in a very “hippy” area. We are a breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering, organic food eating, laid back, diverse, and accepting community. I tend to forget that with the stress and wild days with my kids. I over-apologize, over-compensate, and over-analyze what I think people are expecting from me and my children when we are out and about. I need to step back and realize that kids will be kids, most people really are just trying to help, and not everyone sees kids an inconvenience. I know I most certainly don’t! Good community is hard to come by and I am fortunate to live in an amazing one…I think it’s time to embrace it!