First of all, let me say these last few months have been insane!!!!
If you’re following me on Instagram then you know I’ve been in a few cities working closely with a company implementing security systems in several school districts. If you’re not then shame on you go ahead and do so now!
Anyways…. You guys know I’m big on transparency. Not because I enjoy sharing my business with strangers but because I do enjoy normalizing the not-so-glamorous parts of parenting that people tend to shy away from. So today’s story time is no different so please if you’re one of those “ perfect parents” now would be a great time to exit the chat.
Ok, are they gone?
Listen I can’t believe I became “that mom”. Now you guys know how hard it is sometimes to grocery shop with children. I feel like many days I go to the grocery store just to get my alone time…. Sad right?
But today I decided that I had enough energy to take the whole gang with me. This means I had ALL THREE KIDS with me. For those of you who are new here I have a 13-year-old, a 11-year-old and a 4-year-old. Mind you I’m a former elementary school teacher so this is not a big deal honestly but it’s what happened next that literally inspired me to write this article.
So usually the kids are pretty decent when we enter stores aside from the typical sibling bickering….. but today for some reason the 4-year-old was just off her hinges. The older two wouldn’t stop doing something to her and she wouldn’t stop yelling and screaming.
Guys, it felt as if I was in the middle of a three-ring circus. As I went down the aisles, I felt as though we were turning into “ that family”.
Now y’all know exactly what I mean by this. You know the loud-ass family with the “single mom” causing a ruckus.
It was at that moment I realized I was having a trauma response. Once upon a time I was a single mom (with my older two) and used to feel extremely self-conscious when I would leave the house with my children. It made me feel like the world was judging me because I was young and unwed. I used to want them to behave so perfectly that even something so much as crying was not allowed.
Obviously, I’ve grown past that but it’s important for me to highlight that experience because although my kids were being rowdy my anger and frustration was not their responsibility.
So here’s where things turn a turn. I literally stopped the cart in the middle of the aisle. I spoke directly to the older kids first not to “let them know that they knew better”. But to ask them for help. (Stay with me).
I handed them the list for the deli and said these exact words “hey since you guys are older do you think you can go to the deli all alone?” Instantly I could see their chests puff up while they grabbed the list and ran off.
Now, mind you, because I can hear y’all already. This is my local store where I know the staff very well and most of them on a first name basis. My babies were safe.
Anyways, now it was just me and the toddler. I then began to ask her for her help…. I decided to turn shopping for the rest of my items into a game… I would ask her for an item and she would look to see if she could find it.
Long story short the rest of the trip was a breeze. But I wanted to point out a few things.
Many times when we are frustrated with our children, we are actually frustrated with ourselves. We have our own ideas and beliefs that are constantly being tested or revealed. This may include feelings of inadequacy, disappointment, stemming from our childhood traumas.
It’s important before we react, we first identify our own emotions. This will always help us unlock the belief behind our children’s perceived misbehaviors.
In my supermarket example, it’s possible the kids were just bored and restless. So they were rowdy and making noise which makes perfect sense. But because of my own feelings, I perceived myself as a “bad parent” because my children didn’t know how to act in public.
When I got ahold of my own feelings I was better able to understand their needs and use them in a helpful way. This redirected their behaviors and met their need to be involved.
So yes I became that mom with the rowdy ass kids going down the isles laughing and enjoying our grocery shopping. I didn’t have to bear the burden of what people thought about me, and the judgment of being a bad mom. Now, I understand this may not work for everyone and that’s ok.
But I hope by reading this at least one mom-related. If you made it this far, let me know what y’all think in the comments below.
I promise I won’t have all of you waiting again so long for the next storytime.
-Written by S. Arellano