Recently, I made a trip to Wal-Mart (ugh) to pick up some groceries and other staple items for our most recent weekend camping trip. Procrastinating this errand was something I admit I had been doing all week. I dread going to that store in general and the closest one to where we live is, in my opinion, a ghetto WM. I dread this store even more so when I have to tote my girls along with me. Truly, it had been my intent to go in the evening when my husband was home from work so I could go by myself and not have to take the girls with. This did not happen though, mainly because by the time my husband got home and I made dinner and we ate and cleaned up dinner I was simply just spent. Understandable so, the last place I wanted to go was (you guessed it), WM.
Instead, I ended up having to take both girls with me during the day. Thankfully, I was able to go on a Thursday in the morning (around 9 a.m.) when it tends to be less busy, so that part at least wasn’t stressful. The stressful part was getting through my long list of items and surviving the trip with my 5 year old and 8 month old in tow. Be thankful I am taking the time to write this blog post to recap my hellish experience because even the thought of reliving this trip to WM, gives me anxiety.
Typically I feed K before going anywhere so I know I have at least a couple hours (give or take) before she is wanting to nurse again, so I made sure to do this before leaving. I also have her day bag (as I call it) packed with all the essential tools snacks/drinks and entertainment for both girls. Getting out the door and into the car can be a challenge in and of itself some days too. It was, of course, one of those days that morning. Nothing drives me nuts more then when I tell my 5 year old to use the bathroom before she gets into the car and she either says, “I already went potty” or “I do not have to go” and then when everyone is finally all buckled in and ready to go she quickly says, “I guess I really do have to go potty”. Go figure right!
At this point, K was already screaming as she dislikes being confined in her car seat, especially when we are not moving. Once, E finally went potty and we were good to go (or so I thought) I reluctantly started backing out the driveway and started on our way (the crying had stopped). The quiet was short lived though because I forgot to put down K’s sunshade on her car seat and the sun was blasting through the window blinding my poor baby. Her screams of dislike were matching what I was observing. Driving with a screaming child is the worse thing ever. Luckily, we have a short 10 minute drive to the store, but 10 minutes can seem like an eternity in some circumstances.
Deep breaths and repetitive, “I can do this, I can do this, I can do this” were being done by myself and said as I pulled into the WM parking lot. I got everyone out and into the entrance and pulled out a cart, put K in the front and told E she could walk along side me and hold onto the cart or she could sit and ride in the big part on the inside of the cart. She started protesting about this right away and whining about K getting to sit in the front of the cart and how she never gets to anymore. I explained for the 100th time that she is a lot bigger then K and not a baby anymore and explained yet again she had those two other options.
That’s when my sassy pants discovered a 3rd option. E fixated her eyes on that disgusting, big clunky cart with the 2 child attachment on the front of it. I am not sure if you have ever used one of these at WM before with your kids, but my advice is to avoid it at all causes. It is so dirty and disgusting and something no sanitation wipe could fix. It is sticky and the buckles don’t work. It is big and hard to push and doesn’t steer at all. However, sometimes some battles are not worth fighting over (as my mother has always told me, pick your battles) I had to accomplish this list of mine in record breaking time, with two kids. I chose this bitch of a cart over arguing about it with my daughter. E got to sit in the front next to K so she was happy and content and K seemed to be doing fine initially.
The contentment lasted maybe five minutes and K already started getting fussy and E was already asking to go look at the fish tanks in the back corner of the store. I quickly took out my first tool to distract K (those Rice Rusk crackers) and she gladly accepted the distraction and started munching away, while E was still begging to see those damn fish.
The constant whining from E was highly distracting and I could not think strait, even with a shopping list in hand. I got a few of the items on my list and quickly zoomed over to the fish tanks where we sat and stared at the fish for about two minutes before I decided it was time to keep going with this daunting task. E started complaining that she didn’t get to see all the fish and we did not visit them long enough and that they will miss her. Oh well kid, oh well…Mama has got shit to do. Of course I didn’t say that to her (I am not cold hearted towards my kiddos, but my mind surely was thinking this). At this point K had dropped her rice rusk on the bottom of the cart among all the other sticky, nastiness that was lying there and started crying again.
By the time we had made it to the other half of the store, K was in full blown screaming mode, even after pulling out a few more things to try an entertain her. At this point I was sweating because of the damn cart and could actually feel the burn in my calf muscles from pushing that beast. I pulled the cart over to regroup and see what else I could use to distract K but I knew at this point it was pointless as she was crying that “I want to be held” type cry. I could also feel the stares and glares of other shoppers around me. At that point I was “that mom shopping with kids” that we all see and have our own judgments about.
My anxiety started to rise. I saw an elderly couple peak out of the chip isle and the women muttered something to her partner and then shook her head making me start to feel flustered and sweat even more. I realize that people don’t know your situation and can pass all the judgement they want and have a right to their opinion based on what they see and I shouldn’t let it get to me, yet what they failed to recognize was a mom who in that moment was struggling, as we all do, yet was doing the best job she possible could in that moment. This is what bothers me.
In that moment, I would have loved a helping hand or someone to come up and say something positive to me. Instead I got every stare you could possibly imagine and all the glares in the world. Not once did someone offer to help me, offer a positive word of encouragement or sympathize even with me. Yet another thing that bothers me, not that I was expecting an act of kindness. However, it would be nice for someone to break the judgement cycle. A little kindness can go a long way.
After this experience, I will offer this advice. First of all, agai a little kindness goes a long ways. When you see another person struggling in whatever circumstance or situation they may be in offer them a helping hand, offer a sympathetic smile or say something positive. What I felt from others in that moment was very far from kindness, compassion or concern. It was full on judgement being flown my way. I did not appreciate it one bit and it was so not helpful and made an already difficult task harder.
After pulling my cart over, I contemplated ditching it altogether and getting the hell out of that place but I was halfway through my list so I kept on. At this point I had taken K out of the cart and was holding her, grocery shopping, holding a list, and pushing that stupid cart all at once. On top of that, my oldest daughter was complaining that she needed to pee (again). So, I stopped what I was doing and we found her a bathroom, which of course was far from where we were in the store at that point (annoying).
After E had used the bathroom, she was then complaining that she was hungry and thirsty. I told her that she could wait until we got to the car to get a snack and get a drink and she would not take that for an answer so she started whining harder and I consistently kept telling her the same thing over and over and over. I was a hot mess at this point and sweating so profusely and wanting to just cry out of frustration. K was happy as a lark being carried through the store all the while my back was aching from the load.
Making it to the check out line was less then fun because like any day at WM I had to stand in line and wait about 15 minutes before my stuff was even up on the belt and I had to put K back in the cart to unload it. Of course she screamed and E was standing up begging to get out to look at the toys and candy. I was not about to deal with E begging to get any toys or candy so I made her stay in the cart. Instead I told her to entertain her sister (which was not working). K’s screaming were getting worse and worse and finally that same elderly lady who glared at me earlier and shook her head at me was behind me in line and this time telling me I needed to “take that baby home and get her a nap” and then proceeded to tell me my baby “really had a set of lungs on her”. First off, don’t tell me what my baby needs and secondly don’t talk to me if you are just going to be rude. Clearly I can hear my baby crying and I am her mother and know what she needs, however, I again, am doing the best I can trying to accomplish this one task so please just go away!
After paying and seriously walking out of the store as fast as my sweaty and very tired little legs could go, I got to the car. Then, I got the kids buckled into their seats, got E her drink and snack, got K her special blanket, got the cart unloaded and put away, and myself into the car. Sitting in my car never felt so good and I took the biggest sigh of relief that I was in my own environment with two happy and content kiddos…finally. Then, I just started to cry.
Mom-ing is hard. We are one person but many times we have no choice but to take on so many roles all in one breath. So many times others forget this. Be kind to yourself and gentle on yourself and most importantly always be kind to others. Mama you are doing your best and I know and you know that nobody on earth loves your kiddos and cares for and about them like you do!
This was my WM trip from hell. I’d love to hear yours too!