I was on a trip to the grocery store with my kids. They were being pretty good, a little loud, but pretty good. My cart was getting hard to push, my kids were getting louder and I was getting looks – if you’re a mom that’s taken your kids to the grocery store alone, you know the looks I’m talking about. Until… One woman looked at me, looked at my children, and smiled – really smiled, and it made me feel a little better.
Then, in the check out line, this woman (and her husband) stepped right up behind us and smiled again. By this time, my youngest couldn’t sit still anymore and he needed mommy to hold him. So, I did as I started taking things out of my cart and putting them up to be scanned. As I got to the bigger things on the bottom of the cart, I was having a hard time getting the water because the cart would move with it when I pulled. So, this sweet woman stepped around her cart and held onto mine while I pulled the water out.
Then, the woman’s husband noticed that my keys were in my cart and told her to tell me not to forget them. I thanked her and she told me this story: “I always use to leave my keys in my cart. I’d pick my children up from daycare, stop by the grocery store and we’d have to come back in to get my keys at customer service. Then, one time, when we got to the store my daughter said to me, ‘Mom, do you just want to leave your keys at customer service? That’s where they’ll end up, anyway.'” We laughed, I thanked her again, and I finished checking out.
This happened a month ago and this story is still fresh in my mind. This woman, who didn’t know me, my story, or my family, got real with me. She saw I might be struggling to do it all and she opened up to me, she let me know that I wasn’t alone. I wish more women and mothers would do this (I include myself in this). So, today, I’m getting real with you (even down to my crazy mommy moment photo where one child decided he wanted a piggy back ride right at the same moment that the other one decided he needed to be held). Motherhood is hard. It’s so incredibly wonderful, and rewarding, but it’s also hard and it’s okay to admit that. It’s okay to not pretend to be perfect 100% of the time. It’s okay to struggle some days and it’s more than okay to let another human being know they’re not alone.
I was reminded of this by a complete stranger in the grocery store.