Thursday, April 22, 2010

Extending my Capacity to Mother in Costco

Something happened to me today that made me feel as if I have entered a new phase of motherhood.

I always get many smiles and kind comments from strangers when I shop at Costco with all of my children (it is a luxury to shop alone when you are married to a doctor and have children). Usually I am either holding my 8-month old or he is sitting in one of the front seats. My two-year old refuses to ride inside the cart and reminds me, "I need to run!" and somehow finds a way to constantly run alongside the cart, whether it is moving or not. Sometimes my 5-year old sits in the cart while she reads a new library book, but usually she joins my 7-year old who is looking for any opportunity to run and slide into a lying down position. (Luckily we have not had any collisions or been thrown out of Costco. yet.)
This afternoon, after pushing the large Costco cart down multiple isles to find everything on my list, I ordered a few slices of pizza to keep my kids happy for a little bit longer. My two-year old wanted to eat his pizza immediately. I wanted to get to the car as quickly as possible and give them pizza at home. I explained this to him. He crinkled his face up and folded instantly onto the floor in front of the food counter. He started to cry. Normally, I would be able to talk it out of him, but he is currently going through some new personal crisis, one full of meltdowns. I picked him up and talked with him quietly and sweetly, to no avail. He continued to cry, and then his crying began to escalate.

We still had a long walk to the exit door of Costco.

Before having children, I would have watched this scene with absolute disdain. A few years ago, I probably would have rushed out of the store, hoping to avoid a huge scene.

But, today I felt no rush. I felt no embarrassment. I felt as if everyone around me truly understood what was happening, and probably even empathized with me. I smiled at everyone who was watching us as we walked calmly towards the door while my little guy scowled and screamed.

Later, as I thought about my reaction in Costco, my feelings surprised me. Why I assumed everyone in Costco could sympathize with me, I don't know. But, I really liked the strengthening and reassuring feeling that I felt; it was one that I had not previously known during any of my children's meltdowns. Does it mean that I am getting older?... slower?... wiser?... calmer?... I'm not sure, but I'll keep it, if I can.


cheri said...

ugh, i have a long way to go before i achieve the calm cool demeanor you just displayed. when my son has meltdowns at the mall, i just want to walk away and deny any participation the matter.

does this make me a bad mommy?

Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

Awww - poor little guy! Sounds like you handled it just right. If you can be calm about it, everyone around you can be calm about it.

By the way, not having kids myself, I also went through a loooong period of disdain towards kids/babies. But I have definitely softened toward them, and I bet that most of the people at Costco WERE on your side.

Steve and Katie said...

Honestly, I think you have more children! Which automatically probably means wiser at least :0) ...I know exactly what you are talking about! I actually get compliiments on my patience sometimes. You just finally realize that you can't control everything, and at best your coming unraveled just makes the situation worse! Its a good feeling isn't it...I'm always happy when I'm able to avoid getting frustrated with my kids!

Jeff and ReAnn said...


that is great. I also am getting to the point of hopelessness when it comes to meltdowns and tantrums. But in the end I think that is okay. Kids really do help you mature in so many ways.