“You don’t have favourites among your children, but you do have allies. ”
– Zadie Smith
Today he screamed so much in Waitrose that an old lady came over and jokingly shouted at him.
Which made him scream more. Obviously.
He was crying because I refused to open the Passata, which he thought was a carton of juice, even after I explained to him it was not in fact juice and if he stopped crying I would go and get him some juice…
This all reminds me of the time, a few months ago, when Leo was once again refusing to cooperate in Tesco.
He would not be put in the trolley (despite both Maia AND me trying to get his little legs through..) and he would not follow me round either. (Even with Maia guiding him along, as she does so brilliantly..)
So I left him with his sister and the trolley in the aisle with the toys. They played whilst I ran back and forth to fetch items, returning to the trolley every 40 seconds or so..feeling… bad. (You are not meant to do this. This is bad parenting. It’s also just very stressful. And you look like a lunatic running around the supermarket. Like you’re on Supermarket Sweep.)
Then a woman caught my eye.
I thought she was going to tell me off.
All the back-and-forthing with my shampoo and vegetables was probably quite noticeable.
“I just wanted to say you’re doing amazing. I’m a Mum too. It’s really hard..” she said.
She caught me off-guard and my eyes filled with tears.
“Thank you..that’s so kind..” I said, trying not to hug her.
We chatted briefly and I ran back to the children with a renewed energy, feeling heard and seen and validated. Feeling less alone.
How did she know? Was I that flustered? Did I look that beaten down?
It didn’t matter.. She was kind. And she understood. And that was all I needed.*
*That and maybe a small inexpensive crèche somewhere in the supermarket.