THAT mom

The other day, I became THAT mom.

When we left the house, I glanced in the mirror at my unbrushed hair, unwashed face and baggy, ill fitting sweats and momentarily feared a fashion police ambush intervention. But, whatever, I was only going to the hardware/garden store and coming back to do some yard work. I would shower later and no one would so much as glance my way or care what I looked like, right?

Zoe was psyched from the get go. So psyched in fact, that she spent the whole first 20 minutes running around the garden section like a crazy person, exclaiming "THESE are pretty fowers Mommy!" and "I like this FOUNTAIN, Mommy! Can I go SWIMMING?" and "Look! I can sit on this pretty plastic DEER!".

But, when instructed, she put every carton of flowers right back where she found it (after taking it off the shelf, spilling some dirt on the floor and parading around with it for a while), she did NOT go swimming in the fountain and she got off the poor plastic deer as soon as I told her to. I felt I was still somewhat in control of the situation.

I would have crammed her into the cart with a snack or a toy or A SEDATIVE but she didn't fit in it because we had so much stuff to buy to entice the mythical future home buyers. She was totally bonkers because, GEEZ, I HAVE NO IDEA. Why do toddlers sometimes act like they are high on PCP? Why does it have to happen in public?

We wove our way through the store and she helped me put things in the cart and carried a few, nonbreakable items and.... slowly decompensated. By the time we were ready to check out, she had lost interest in helping me, started to roll around on the (SLIMY) floor and, apparently, became TOTALLY DEAF. I had to take each and every plant out of the cart and hold it up for the check-out lady and Zoe wouldn't stand up and get out of people's way or STOP LICKING THE FLOOR, DEAR GOD. I finally had to stop checking out to pick her up and out of the walkway. When I tried to set her on her feet, she crumpled repeatedly and then BOLTED, OUT THE OPEN AUTOMATIC DOOR, INTO THE PARKING LOT. I ran after her and snatched her up before she got to the part where cars could have, you know, FLATTENED HER. Running back in, I saw the many, MANY eyes on us and realized what they saw: me with my saggy, stained sweatpants and disheveled hair, her wriggling and giggling in my arms.

What they saw? THAT mom, the one who is clearly out of control of the situation.

The tears sprung fast and furious from my eyes. I had to put her down, hike up my pants, make room in my cart for her, shove her in and continue to check out. She was giggling and wriggling around and I was wiping my nose and sniffling and trying to get the hell out of there as fast as I could. I couldn't get everything in my cart, NO ONE OFFERED TO HELP ME (including the check out lady who just stared at me like I had on a tinfoil hat with antennae and was babbling about MARS), and I finally gave up and went out to the car to unload before coming back for the rest.

Walking back in, with Zoe still half hanging out of the cart, took all the strength I had. It was bad enough to be THAT mom. I had to come back so everyone could enjoy "THAT mom part two".

It was my first time being THAT mom. Somehow I'm guessing it won't be my last.


Swistle said...

Oh, man. Yesterday I was the mom gripping her child's upper arm and making hissing noises. Whose child then immediately resumed being just as silly and crazy and loud.

grammalouie said...

The moral of this tale to me is that a bystander should always offer to help a parent with a toddler who is obviously struggling with the situation. I am therefore vowing to do that in the future!
BYW, I bet those people weren't really staring. They probably didn't know where else to look. Also, at least Zoe was giggling. She was obviously having a way better time than you were.

Kathi said...

I'm so sorry you had such a bad moment at the store. That is rough. Mira worst moment was actually at a ballet class. After being the exemplary child for months she became possessed and wouldn't do anything she was told. She was disruptive, defiant and just plain difficult. We both left after 20 min in tears. It was awful. I feel your pain. And I wish someone there offered some help.

desperate housewife said...

I am so sorry. I have been there MANY times (I'm always THAT mom with the one year old who is screaming unbelievably loudly for no apparent reason and who will not shut up despite bribes and distractions.) And it does suck how no one offers to help. I remember once (when largely pregnant) that Addy ran off from me into a dangerous area, RIGHT past a guy just sitting there on his duff, and instead of helping or at least looking sympathetic at the huffing and puffing, frazzled mom, he just stared at us like we had the plague. Fracking people.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Swistle: Oh, I forgot to include in my lovely little story that there was some serious hissing on my part. Not my finest hour in any way.

grammalouie (aka Ma) and Kathi: It's not so much that I think someone should help me with Zoe (that might be weird) but someone could have helped me with my stuff. The check out lady could have offered to get someone to help me to the car or she could have helped pull stuff out of the cart or something.

desparate housewife: Now THAT is an instance where someone, a stranger even, should jump in, I think. When a kid is clearly running toward danger, it wouldn't take much to try to slow them down a bit at the very least, right? (Or is that too much to ask)

grammalouie said...

I have been musing about what kind of help would be appropriate coming from a stranger. I agree completely that the check-out person had the #1 responsibility to recognize that help was needed but what about the rest of us, waiting in line perhaps not so patiently? I'll let you know when and if this situation happens to me and what I decided to do.

Astarte said...

Why are people so distanced these days?! Everyone I know has been in a similar situation at least once, and NO ONE helps. WTF?! I always offer to help, and a lot of the time, people will refuse and look at me like I may be a kidnapper, which is annoying, but at least I've made the offer. I definitely miss the help at checkout that I remember from when I was a child.

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