Thursday, December 4, 2014

Did I Find My Parenting Mojo? Or Just Lose My Mind?

I can’t decide if I’m getting better at this whole parenting gig, or if I’ve officially lost my mind.

Compare a scenario from a few years ago to a similar one recently. About two years back, as part of an ill-conceived Mother’s Day bonus gift, I took all four kids with me to Wegman’s for our weekly supply run.

I don’t recall much because most of the actual memories are suppressed, but it was mayhem. You’ve surely heard the expression herding cats. Now imagine herding cats in a crowded grocery store while trying to get enough food to last a family of six for a week. The kids were everywhere. And I was an anxious and jerky mess, spending the whole time trying to keep my little monsters from destroying first the produce section, then the meat section, then the dairy, then the cereal aisle. You get the picture. Many a “stop,” “please” and don’ts” were uttered through clenched teeth, followed by stern instructions that were summarily ignored. I couldn’t tell if the people who witnessed our little traveling show were expressing empathy or annoyance.   

Somehow, we survived the trip, and I subsequently started taking blood pressure medicine.

If you see this with my mug under it
at Wegmans, don't even tell me about it.
Wegmans survived too – though it seemed touch and go for a spell there. I kept waiting for surveillance video to surface on “America’s Funniest Videos: Overwhelmed Parents” edition, or for the store to post a photo with my mug shot covered by the “no sign” – red circle with bar across it -- banishing me to shop at Topps for the rest of my life. But nothing like that happened. (Heck, they didn’t even ban us after Vomitgate 2013).     

Flashforward to a few days ago. Again, I found myself at a crowded Wegmans with all four children – all slightly older but equally mischievous. This time they were there with me because they had to be. Mom’s been out of town a lot lately attending to family health matters. Her sister just had a baby, and her mom just had a bone marrow transplant. (Thanks for all the support and prayers). Needless to say, it's been a tough row of late for all involved.

Meanwhile, our kids gotta eat. So, off to Wegmans we went on a recent Sunday as an unruly, ravenous pack.   

Was it mayhem? Maybe. Truthfully, I didn’t notice or really care.
Instead of herding cats, I took the less utilized "mother duck" approach. I just went about my shopping business and let them follow in the wake. Rather than “Stop,” “Please,” and “Don’t,” I just announced the occasional “C’mon.”

Notice the cavalier over-the-shoulder glance by
this Ruddy Duck. That's me at the Grocery store.
I had the 4-year-old boy in the cart with me, so that helped matters. But I just went down my shopping list, and the other three ran behind. I even lost them for a bit, as the girls wandered into the flower section as I tried to decide which type of coconut milk to get for my Panang curry. (I went with the lower fat … we’ll see).

But I didn’t panic, and they found me again two aisles later.

Maybe it’s because they are a little bit older, or maybe I’m a little bit wiser, but the no-stress approach worked out just fine.

As for the people who witnessed our adventure, their looks of expression were either awe or disgust, I can’t decide. But you know what, I don’t really care. Like I said, I may have completely lost it -- or found it -- I don’t actually know.

Either way, I do know we survived Wegmans again … and the store survived too. Which is a good thing, because it’s almost time for another run. 

Like the article?  Here's others you may enjoy: Vegas, Baby!, Dog Responds to "Mystery Poo" False Accusations, and Tip of the Hat to Single Parents, and Thanks to My Backup,


Larry said...

If this writing thing doesn't work out, I think you're ready to start a nursery.

Cort Ruddy said...

I think I already did!