Hi! First off, I’m not Ashley. My name is Shannon. I’ve had the privilege of calling Ashley one of my best friends for fourteen years.
I asked Ashley to let me write a post for her blog and I’m so excited she did. Why? Because recently I became that parent for the second time.
We’ve all seen that person in the grocery store with a screaming kid, and some of us might have thought to ourselves can’t they control their child? If you didn’t then great, but I’ll be honest and admit that when I was a non-parent I did just that.
When I was a non-parent there was nothing more annoying than listening to a screaming child while I was waiting in an unmoving Wal-Mart line. I would stand there with my items and do one of two things: 1) Completely avoid eye contact with the person or 2) I would stare at them and wonder why they couldn’t keep their kid from screaming in the middle of a store. After all, how hard could it be to get a kid quiet?
Fast forward seven years and I’ve got your answer. It’s harder than it looks!
I remember the first time my now three year old had a store meltdown. My husband and I decided to go to Hobby Lobby to pick up a few things and thought M (two months) would do just fine. We got her diaper bag packed with anything and everything we thought we would need (pretty much the entire nursery) and proceeded to drive to my favorite store. She made it all of five minutes before freaking out in the middle of the paint section.
We scrambled for the pacifier but it didn’t work. We took her out of her car seat so my husband could carry her. It didn’t work. I tried to comfort her. It didn’t work. My husband ended up sitting in the car with her while I finished getting what I needed.
That was the moment that I realized I was that parent.
She’s had other meltdowns since then, the most recent being this one in the middle of Target.
This wasn’t a crying/screaming meltdown though, this was an incident where she had convinced herself she was a dog and proceeded to crawl down the aisle barking. I was pregnant and due to a complication early on could not pick her up. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to get out of a store.
My son was born in June and had his first store fit yesterday. I was at Kroger trying to get groceries and he was strapped to the front of me in one of those baby carriers. I forgot a pacifier at home, and we tried to take him out and calm him but nothing worked. I had to literally walk around with a screaming child on my stomach. I was the embodiment of everything I used to loathe. If you add to it the fact that I was also couponing and had a ten minute transaction, I was a non-parent’s worst nightmare.
But you know what? I’m okay with that.
At the end of the day I’ll take the screaming child and the judgy stares because I LOVE my kids. I might never have a normal shopping experience ever again, but kids aren’t perfect. No one is perfect.
And so I say to that parent, I get you. I understand that it’s not as easy as it looks and I apologize for thinking that it was. To those of you who have not been that parent I would like to ask for patience and acceptance.
You never know…one day it might be you.