Why you shouldn’t judge the mom in front of you at the checkout line…

By Genny

You stand in line at the grocery store holding your baby as you dig in your purse for your wallet with one hand. He just got over a fever and this is the first time you’ve been out of the house in three days.

Your two-year-old sits in the cart, squirming to get out, crying. He’s been even more restless than you these last few days, but the trip to the store didn’t end up being the breath of fresh air you’d hoped for.

Your five-year-old stands next to you, one hand on the cart like you’ve taught her. You see the worry on her face as she watches her little brother cry. He throws a graham cracker on the ground and she quickly picks it up and gives it back to him.

“Please don’t give that to him; it’s dirty,” you say, still digging for your wallet.

She grabs it out of his hands before he eats it.

He screams.

The baby whimpers against your chest.

Your wallet has disappeared in the depths of your purse, amidst the hand sanitizer, baby wipes, and sunscreen (which is still in there even though it’s January).

“It’s in here somewhere,” you promise the clerk, feeling embarrassed.

You feel the people in line behind you getting impatient.

Your toddler’s cries get louder.

“Can you get him a new cracker?” you ask your daughter. She digs in the diaper bag and hands him a new cracker. He throws that one on the ground too.

The mom behind you makes a face of disapproval. Her two kids–about 4 and 6–stand next to their cart quietly. “That boy’s mad,” says her littlest one. She nods.

You find your wallet and pay, as fast as you can. You feel yourself starting to sweat.

“Can I get some gum?” your daughter asks as the groceries are getting bagged, tapping your side. She grabs a pack of gum off the shelf.

“No,” you say, pointing for her to put it back. “I already paid.”

Your baby’s whimper gets louder and he moves his little head from side to side. You wonder if the fever is returning. Maybe you shouldn’t have brought him out of the house so soon.

“But I want gum,” your daughter argues. She’s been so patient these last couple of days as all of your attention has been focused on the baby, and now it’s her turn to act up.

“No, honey. Let’s go,” you say, motioning her to follow as you push the cart forward.

She stands there, not moving.

The other mom stares at you. You smile at her, and she does a curt smile back. You feel guilty for making her wait in line so long.

“Let’s go, ” you say to your daughter again, this time firmer. “We need to get your brothers home.”

“I don’t want to go home,” she says, whining. You pull her hand, coaxing her out as she continues to argue and as your two-year-old’s–and now your baby’s–cries escalate.

And in spite of the noise, you hear the mom that was behind you say, “Well that was challenging,” to the clerk.

And you feel like a total failure.

Somehow, you manage to get out of the store without crying, but the minute you get all the kids buckled in, you put your sunglasses on and the tears fall.

Why does being a mom feel so hard sometimes?… 

—————

If you’re a mom, you’ve been there at one point or another–in the checkout line with kids crying or saying no, or even refusing to listen to you. Right?

And you also know that motherhood is hard enough without the judging stares or comments from others,

or the finger pointing that can make us feel like we’re failing.

(Because there’s nothing worse as a mom than feeling like we’re failing.)

So the next time we see a mom struggling, 

instead of judging…

let’s help her,

or smile at her,

or pray for her,

or encourage her.

And if we all did that, just think how much easier being a mom would become. :)

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10 Comments on Why you shouldn’t judge the mom in front of you at the checkout line…

  1. Toni Leake @ The Real-Life of a Growing Christian
    January 28, 2013 at 10:38 am (1 year ago)

    Thank you for the post. It always seems like every other mom has it all together but it’s nice to be reminded that we eachs struggle from time to time and feel like a failure. I know I’ve been there…on both ends.

    Reply
    • Genny Heikka
      January 28, 2013 at 4:24 pm (1 year ago)

      Been there too! And I love when we moms can be there for each other and support each other through the tough times… :) Thanks for stopping by, Toni!

      Reply
  2. Debbie
    January 28, 2013 at 9:30 pm (1 year ago)

    I usually tell the mom not to worry. I had 9 children and they out grow it. Usually makes them smile with relief.

    Reply
    • Genny Heikka
      January 28, 2013 at 9:54 pm (1 year ago)

      Words of wisdom from a mama who knows! (My kids are 11 and 13 now and I love being able to encourage moms whose kids are younger… when they have their hands so full. :)

      Reply
  3. Tara
    January 31, 2013 at 8:58 pm (1 year ago)

    Your post broke my heart and gave me a lump in my throat, I have been there. I stopped going to the shops for a good time while my son was going through a difficult phase because I could not handle people judging me on top of what I was already going through. Thank you for reminding us to love on each other to the glory of God. Have a blessed day. Tara (The Proverbs 31 Sanctuary)

    Reply
    • Genny
      February 3, 2013 at 2:22 pm (1 year ago)

      Tara, Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your own story. I am heading over to peek at your site (love the name The Proverbs 31 Sanctuary!)

      Reply
  4. Jeanine
    February 23, 2013 at 9:35 am (1 year ago)

    Beautiful!
    My heart goes out to mommy’s in situations like this…because although my kids are 14 and 9, it seems like just yesterday I stood in that mom’s shoes. Building up…not tearing down…makes all the difference in this journey of motherhood…no matter how old your children get.
    I have missed reading your posts and I have missed writing mine.
    Trying to get back into again and I hope you stop by often to visit.
    peace.
    Jeanine

    Reply
    • Genny Heikka
      February 25, 2013 at 10:33 pm (1 year ago)

      Jeanine,
      It is SO good to hear from you! I’ve missed you too! :)
      Genny

      Reply
      • Jeanine
        February 26, 2013 at 5:05 pm (1 year ago)

        So happy you stopped by peaceFULLYsimple for a visit!
        Hope you are doing well. Looking forward to getting caught up on your blog.
        peace.
        jeanine

        Reply

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