It finally happened. As I stood in the customer service line of Walmart to cash my paycheck with a cart of groceries (and some wine), Sophie sat/stood/did heads stands in the cart, whining over a bag of chips I took away because she called me a butthole in line. She’s relentless. I know this. I live with it. Her ADHD and obsessive little heart gets on these subjects of things she finds unjust and wrong and it doesn’t stop until she eventually falls asleep or something very dramatic happens to snatch the attention off the obsessed-about subject.
We stood in line for several minutes, me ignoring her whining and refusing to give in. What’s giving in to bad behavior going to do but reinforce the bad behavior? I’ve walked out of stores hundreds of times because of her. Almost every time, actually, I end up leaving with nothing I came for and a tantrum-having 4-year-old attached to my hand and a baby on my hip, but this time I had to stick it out to get the groceries.
I tell her for the tenth time to sit down so she doesn’t fall and the next thing I hear is a woman behind me in line saying “Oh, for C****t’s sake give her a cookie so she’ll shut up!”
I could’ve responded in a nicer way. I could’ve explained to her that my 4-year-old has pretty severe ADHD, I raise both my children alone, I’m doing my best, and had no choice but to wait it out for the groceries. Instead, I heard “she’s four years old and you need to mind your own f***ing business” come out of my mouth.
I kept my composure until I finished what I was doing and walked to self check out so I could avoid facing anyone else as “that person.” The person with the misbehaving child. The person who seems lazy because they’re ignoring the behavior. The person who knows doing anything but ignoring it is only going to make it worse.
By the time I made it to self check out, tears are pouring down my face. I’ve lost it. I’m angry, my feelings are hurt, I’m offended, and I’m just freakin’ sad that I can’t have one good experience in a store with my children.
As I scan my things, a woman walks up and begins to talk to Sophie. She asks her questions to distract her, but backs me up when Sophie begins to go on about wanting the chips. “No, you can’t have those today. You have to be good for your mommy. She needs you to be good for her. I have a little girl just like you. How old are you? How old is brother?”
Honestly, this woman could’ve been the antichrist and I would’ve had more appreciation for her kindness and compassion than I have for anyone else I’ve ever encountered.
It only takes one comment to break someone down. You never know what someone’s going through. You never know the problems a child has that causes them to misbehave, and unless you know the struggle of being a parent to a child like mine, you cannot judge me.
But it also takes one small act of kindness to make a mama feel comfort and validation. Thank you to the woman in Walmart today, for showing that kindness to my children and me. Thank you for walking us out. Thank you for backing me up. Mamas have to stick together. #MamasUnite