Yesterday I grocery shopped with my four children for the first time. I know that we moms post about this a lot, but I'm doing it again because it really is so frustrating. I live in a city that thinks it's really good at caring about people and giving respect to all people. I must not be a real person because I get blatant dirty looks when I'm in public with my kids. And yesterday, the kids were only operating at like a yellow threat alert level. I hope this is my fear projecting itself, but I feel that people's faces basically say, "well, you asked for it; and now we all get to be irritated, and you're responsible."
Children used to be considered an asset not a liability. Are they disruptive? Yes. You were too, I bet. Are they inconvenient? Heck yes! You were too; I'm certain. They are immature - at least they have a chronological excuse.
But they grow. They will invent new technologies. They will find cures. They will love animals and the planet. They will vote and make decisions. They will love each other. IF I teach them. IF I love them and model for them.
The result of all the bad feelings I get when I go out to non-child-centric places is that I stop going. This is a problem! Sure, Amazon is convenient. So is InstaCart. I don't have to try taking kids to the library because I can request everything online, drive by, and pick up books we want. I love those services, and they are a great help to me. However, we already suck at actually being friendly and connecting with each other here in Seattle. Most of our major publications have published on the subject. The irritation we feel over each other (including my own at being shamed via the use of frowns and eyebrows) drives wedges deeper. And if I only ever take my kids to playgrounds or bouncy houses, they are deprived of the learning contexts that will help them mature into people who, I pray, by God's grace, are not completely inwardly focused and selfish. (So maybe they'll hold the door for those who need help, reach a jar from a high shelf, or help pick up the ten thousand gift cards that were knocked off the rack...)
So, my apologies, shoppers. I'm going to keep dragging myself out into the daylight with my brood. I am going to remind myself that I don't really know what others are thinking, and that I don't know why they are being so crabby. I will be ready to nicely, humbly apologize with and for my children when they are actually causing trouble. And I will do my best not to cry when you mumble under your breath. You better hope I don't because I've got a motley crew that don't like it much when people make the queen cry...