I Almost Broke Down in the Cheese Aisle

It was one of those days when things just don’t go as planned. Bryan was out of town for work, so I was in the trenches…alone. The kids weren’t interested in anything I had to say and the fighting between them was almost laughable.

Almost.

I hadn’t planned to go to the grocery store that day, but as fate would have it, we were running low on some things. So, I made my list, checked it twice, wrangled up my two feral children and hit the road. The ride to the store was uneventful. The kids played nicely with their LEGO characters and sang along to Carrie Underwood, who was serenading us through the speakers.

When we arrived at the store it happened.

My kids had forgotten everything I’d ever told them about how to act in public.

I don’t know if it’s the (not-so-welcoming) burst of cold air as the doors slide open, the smell of fresh chocolate chip cookies (read: chocolate chip CRACK) baking, or if it’s the brightly colored cupcakes that immediately greet you, but something in that store makes children go wild.

I’m talking completely deranged.

Suddenly they NEED that box of cereal with the toy inside or the donuts that taste like apple pie. As I said “no” for the umpteenth time, I contemplated abandoning my cart and sprinting for the nearest exit. I had an internal Namaste moment and continued my shopping.

Along about the meat section was when my blood pressure had reached its peak. After being unintentionally kicked in the abdomen several times and nearly taken out by a flying rogue arm from the littlest Brooks child, it was time for a come to Jesus with these heathens. Once again I explained how good manners are important, especially in public. (Perhaps I didn’t say it quite that nicely, and I may have thrown in a threat or five, but you get the picture.) We continued along gathering popsicles, half-n-half, paper towels, eggs, and hard seltzer water for my stressed out nerves. We then arrived at the cheese aisle.

The. Cheese. Aisle.

This is the part where things went black for me. I BLACKED OUT, MAN. I mean, how many times can a mom be asked if we can get this yogurt or those cinnamon rolls or this kind of cheese? I can answer that. It’s a lot. The second question I’ll ask you is this. How much of this, plus all the bickering and fighting, can a mom’s nerves take in one grocery store run? I can answer that, too. Not much. I had reached my limit. I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. I wanted to collapse onto the floor and sob. But I didn’t. I composed myself once again, grabbed the Colby Jack cheese, and bolted for the checkout counter. I have never wanted to leave a store as quickly as I wanted to leave this one. The ride home was quiet as I tried to hold back my tears and my angry tongue.

My kids broke me in that store, but I realized something that day. They’re just kids - 5 and 7. They’re still learning how to navigate their emotions and how to properly express themselves. If I don’t understand that, I’ll have many more stressful days just like the one that day. I know I’m not alone in this parenting struggle. I know parents all over the world have similar stories to the one I shared. Please remember when you’re in the trenches that your kids love you unconditionally.

Hold strong, mama. We got this.