Blog of the Week: Dear Other Women In The Supermarket

Blog_of_the_week_badgeOur Blog of the Week this week is a heartfelt reaction by one mum to a situation most of us have found ourselves in at some time or other.

Ciara from Ouch My Fanny Hurts (who surely wins best blog title ever!) explains to that woman in the supermarket what the situation really is ….

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Dear Woman-in-the-supermarket,

Let me break this down for you. I am the mother of two small boys. They are aged two and three. Do you know what that means? No, really. Do you KNOW what that means?

That means:

In three years I have not taken a wee on my own.

Most days, I pray for the day when my body will be mine again, and not a malleable comfort blanket to my kids. In fact, most nights, I am grateful for the ten minutes I have before one or both little bodies creep into my bed and sleepily grab my hand or arm or stomach.

I am usually at my wits end by 9am. You see, by that stage, I have lived a whole day. We get up before the birds do, and by 9am I have a day’s work done.

So. You understand, when I am DUMBFOUNDED by your lack of empathy while I am attempting to do our weekly shop. You get it, when I pale as you trundle towards me, shaking your finger at me while telling me to “control that child”. You can’t be that stupid, surely? Do you think I WANT to be crouched in the freezer aisle, beside a two year old who is howling because the toolbox that he insisted on carting with him won’t close properly? The toolbox that is almost as big as he is, and yet, which he insisted upon dragging through ten long aisles to get to here. Do you really think I want to be there? With my three year old sitting beside me, arguing the toss with his brother?

blog supermarket tantrum

Thank you for adding colour to my day. Although I feel like a terrible mother a lot of the time, it’s not usual for it to be thrust upon me, with the vim you displayed this morning. I assume you have no kids, and if you do, live in hope that these stressful moments will be so insignificant in my future that I won’t even remember them.

But I won’t be like you, other woman. Oh no. I hope to leave that judgey side to people like you, who are so brilliant at it. I hope to be able to offer a sympathetic glance, or a rub of the forearm to a woman who is clearly in the weeds, and whisper to her that it will actually be OK. Soonish.

blog supermarket mum

Until then, you will excuse me, as I drag my unkempt self up and down the aisles, offering chocolate treats like the witch out of Hansel & Gretel. I may have a heat rash from the humiliation of it all, but I am getting there. Just trying to get through the day. Just like you. I don’t know what’s going on in your life, and I hope it’s not stress-filled or horrible. But it would be lovely if you could be a little bit nicer to people like me. Because I’m not horrible, or terrible or even mean. I’m just a Mum, who’s finding it hard to get through the day at the moment.

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Have you ever been frowned or tutted at in the supermarket with your kids? Has anyone ever said anything mean to you? Has another mum ever stopped to help or given you a sympathetic an understanding smile as they passed?

If you liked this, then you might find this interesting reading too http://www.netmums.com/coffeehouse/general-coffeehouse-chat-514/news-current-affairs-topical-discussion-12/1156582-good-mother-would-pick-up-her-crying-baby.html

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74 Responses to Blog of the Week: Dear Other Women In The Supermarket

  1. Sadly as women we are so judgemental of each other at times, especially when it comes to parenting. There are times when it is the loneliest and hardest job of all, we should surely be giving each other a pat on the back and a conspirative wink.
    From the mum with the howling 4 year old who is screaming over the yogurt I won’t buy and the fighting 6&7 year olds. I’ll meet you in the vodka aisle! 😉

  2. Lesley says:

    I am in my 60s now, mum of two, grandmother of 3, and even a great grandma of 1. When I see mums obviously struggling, I have wanted to do what is suggested, but didn’t want to seem patronising, or interfering. I feel rather encouraged now to offer a supportive comment

    • Oh Lesley! Be nice! Be encouraging! It is so so welcome, I can assure you. I have been reduced to tears by the kindness of women while wrangling my two – it’s the little things that will be remembered.

  3. Lucy Wright-Booth says:

    My eldest started doing this awful scream when he was about 4 months old. He wasn’t crying or unhappy, he just discovered he could do it and liked making noise. It was awful and made everyone jump, and he did it for a good few months just because he could! It used to really stress me out and there was nothing I could do to stop him. Anyway I was in the supermarket with him one day (he must have been about 6 months old by this point) and he was doing his usual scream, and this old lady came up to the buggy, shoved her face up close to him, pointed her finger at him and almost shouted at him “Shut up!” I was so gobsmacked that I just stood rooted to the spot with my mouth open not knowing what to say. By the time she’d got to the end of the aisle I’d found my tongue and shouted at her like a fish wife!! A very nice lady came up to me after and was very sweet, and managed to calm me down. This was about 8 years ago and it still makes my blood boil!

    • Oh Lucy, when the nice people talk to you, it totally outweighs the bad, doesn’t it? Having said that, if someone told one of mine to shut up, I would unleash hell, in the most unladylike fashion ever – not surprised it still makes your blood boil!

    • Tinkerbell289 says:

      I’m intrigued Lucy. What did you actually say to the woman? I always find I’m so shocked or upset by people, I end up saying nothing.

  4. louj247blog says:

    I have had this myself I know give other mothers a smile to say I know what your going through. When my eldest now 7 was about to she was a nightmare always having paddys. Two old ladies came up to me and talked to my little girl then said to me don’t worry we have all been through it it will get better.

  5. Jo Powers says:

    I get exactly the same thing. I’ve got a 7yr old and a 18month old. Big one too big for the trolley. Big one with the attitude of a 17yr old go round shop get told by child what he wants he sulks when I look at stuff for my little girl. He sulks about holding the trolley but he runs off or hangs behind if I let him walk alone. All at the same time the little one climbs out of the trolley constantly and if she’s not doing that then she’s grabbing the fruit and opening it and spilling it all over the shop floor. And if she’s not doing this then she and her brother are doing this strange noise to each other which results in her screaming at the top of her voice (not angry but just because that’s what they do). I get tuts, sighs, eyes rolled. I hate going with them but it has to be done as I go to Aldi as it’s cheaper and they don’t deliver. I really wonder if these people ever had kids themselves and if they did I bet they get someone to watch their angles. I do very rarely manage to go alone when the other half is off work and I glide round the place but I always smile at the people with their kids as I know full well what it’s like. I agree meet you all at the vodka aisle. xxx good luck fellow mums maybe we should protest by letting the little ones out of the trolley to run riot. xx

  6. Amy says:

    I also have two boys aged 3 and 2 and have vast experience that a shopping trip is never easy! I often get tuts and disapproving looks from people without children. Or worse, they have with them older children and make such charming comments such as “you were never so naughty when you were that young”. It’s hard not to hear it and often I feel like turning around and saying “do you know some magic way of stopping children crying on the spot, okay then have at it!” I am however a good mother. I don’t drink, smoke, my children want for nothing, have a good routine and are happy and polite. I’d be more concerned about a child that never dares to cry and throw a tantrum, because that isn’t normal or reality. So I say to you chin up and hold that smile! When someone feels the need to judge you it’s generally because their life is so boring they literally cannot help themselves. Your a good mother and your children are very lucky. One day it will be your childrens children having that tantrum and they will feel just as upset about public tantrums and they will need you to encourage them and keep reminding them it’s perfectly normal behaviour!

  7. Vicky Chau says:

    Dear Mum who was upset by the other woman in the supermarket

    Many years ago, people didn’t suffer the trauma you describe of your 2 year olds howling over his toolbox, because a) they wouldn’t have been allowed to bring the toolbox and b) would have been chastised accordingly for such a public display. The other woman in the supermarket clearly sits in the camp of many years ago otherwise she wouldn’t have come wagging her finger.
    It seems to me though if you are distraught by 9am, you have lost the balance of parent and child…..it shouldn’t be that hard. Yes there are days where there are periods of absolute hell, but it shouldn’t be constant.
    If you want to take a pee on your own, tell your 2 and 3 year old that they are to wait until you come out of the bathroom, nothing bad will happen to them in the few moments it takes for that small amount of peace.
    If you want the freedom of your bed, then take the time to change the practice of them coming into your bed. It will be 2 weeks of sheer hell, but the end prize will be a bed to yourself (if that’s what you really want)
    I would never look at another Mum and judge her, I know we’re all doing the best we can. But your narrative here sounds as if it’s all too much. Being a Mum should be mostly joyous, and perhaps it really is for you too and that irritating woman just tipped you over the edge and out came all the negative.
    I was lucky enough to meet a wonderful child psychologist when my son was 2 and making me pull my hair out. The best advice she gave me was to pick your no(se)’s carefully, Maximum of 5 no can do’s at any one time and then let the rest slide. e.g. no jumping on the furniture (that was my thing!). It’s amazing when you only have those 5 battles how much easier it is to stick to your guns and be so much more relaxed about the rest of the day. And when you stick to your guns, they actually do listen and learn it’s a no-no. I hope this doesn’t feel too preachy, I just know I was sooooo grateful for it and made the job of parenting a breeze.
    To wagging finger woman…stuff her!!! Seriously, forget about her. You are the only one who knows the effort you are putting in to doing the best you can, don’t let someone you don’t know poison it. But if it really is as hard as you describe, it’s time to make some changes for your own sanity. If it’s just a rant….. then yes, meet you in the vodka aisle 🙂

    • Thanks for your advice Amy, just a bad day and a wee rant, that’s all :). We all have them sometimes x

    • christine jonsen says:

      well said Vicky it seems there is no boundaries , bed and how to behave in public i dont mean be all Victorian and children should be seen and not heard ,just no toys try turning it into a game when shopping and if mums need to pee then tell them they tell you ! your trying your best but its not working and dont sit in the aisle its proven to not work as for the woman who wags her finger she is from a different generation and one day you will be too ,
      mums time too need to have some space .so in their own bed they go they wont be pleased but they get over it and your not the worse mum forget what other people and mums say what works for them may not work for you they are your kids we have all been there . buy the way i had 2 boys with no help 200 miles from my mum they tried see how far mum will go just be firm thats all no is no sorry if this a ramble but im now near 60 with 6 grand-kids and a counselor of familys so yes i do know frustration

  8. Jenny Chambers says:

    If any judgemental so and so knows the secret word to stop a child from throwing a tantrum and screaming please share it, because I would like to know it.
    If your suggestion is a good slap- I don’t assault my child.

    • AGREED! ON BOTH COUNTS!

    • Sylva Fae says:

      My secret to stopping a tantrum works with my gullible three monsters and has worked on random supermarket gremlims.

      My first daughter was the diva of tantrums – check for audience, most inconvenient time and place, then hit the deck screaming with a theatrical waving of limbs. As a new mum it was mortifying in public and I tried to deal with it as quietly as possible. Nothing really worked. Then one day she had one at home; one hour in and she’d reached the high pitched, inconsolable crying stage, at a loss I wandered to the window and stared out at the garden. Lost in my thoughts I pondered out loud “what is that cat doing?”
      Almost instantaneously the noise stopped and a nosy toddler appeared at the window looking for the cat.

      This miraculous cat made many appearances during that time to the point where if I suspected a tantrum was imminent I would just suggest we look for the cat.

      My 2nd daughter didn’t believe in the cat but had a similar response to the ‘little mouse’ and my third daughter had a tantrum fairy. These fabulous little helpers were also great at getting children to settle down in their beds at night.

      So my solution is to distract and redirect – use whatever imaginary creature captures their curiosity and get creative. Nosiness will prevail!

      Also now as a mum of a 6, 4 and 3 year old, I have a philosophy:
      Those who have / had children understand and those who don’t never will, so why stress about it?

      • jesse says:

        Got it in one. I do the same thing. My son loves cats, it normally stops him from crying.

      • Rebecca says:

        My goodness, I love this. My daughter has had one tantrum in her life, but my son is very independent and if he doesn’t get his own way he starts howling and throwing himself onto the floor. I can easily see this tactic being very effective 😀

  9. Natasha says:

    I’ve had people look at me strangely or make snarky comments when I let my two-and-a-half-year-old push the trolley or carry the basket because she’s making too much noise, sometimes getting into people’s way, or bumps into things – but so what? She’s a lovely toddler who wants to explore and try things by herself. My daughter and her needs are more important than anything they can say or do. The times she’s thrown tantrums in public (usually because she’s tired or not feeling her best), I just ignore the mean looks. Those people aren’t important, and you shouldn’t judge your parenting based on what other people think.

    • You’re dead right Natasha. Thanks 🙂

    • Sarah says:

      No your child is not the only person in the supermarket, and if she’s getting in peoples ways, its inconsiderate no matter what age she is. “My daughter and her needs are more important than anything they can say or do.” No your daughter is not the most important person there and saying other people aren’t important is very rude and shows the lovely attitude you will pass to your little precious princess.

      • Steph says:

        I agree Sarah, judging too harshly is one thing, but a total disregard for politeness or safety is another. I carry my son in a sling and was run into by some idiot who let her kid (3-4yrs) push a pushchair. He nearly caused me to pitch forward and I didn’t even get an apology.

      • Lia says:

        It’s only inconsiderate when it comes from someone that understands that he gets in people’s way. Not from a toddler. It’s probably more inconsiderate to put other people before your children. They (should) have much better sense than a toddler to understand what it is like to be 2. There is time for kids to understand and learn but any toddler that sits patiently in their trolley while the mum is doing the shopping, usually gets my sympathy. I too agree with everything Natasha said and would not crush my child physically or emotionally just because some people have an immature understanding of children.

  10. L. Branco says:

    I may look or just get on with my business, but when i look i do look and give them a smile and i just smile but would really like was to say, DON’T WORRY YOUR NOT THE ONLY ONE. I know exactly what and how it feels my one are 6 and 4 and still these day i can not do proper shopping(and i only do it once a blue moon and when need it) not to buy for them, myself or just look if they have what i need so i can come back another day. I get so lost in their noise that most of the times i forget what im looking for or end up not looking proper what i need and leave the shop think that the shop does not have what i need it and it was right there im was the one that was not “focused enough”. Most of the time the winning and i don t want to go and blablabla start when i still just saying we need to go somewhere i get to the Bus Stop already feeling regreat or like coming back home and just forget ab out whatever i need to go and do. Petty that some people believe that are better then others or that the kids should be left somewhere or with someone or that we should just grab them and leave the shops in the same instant to dont upset them or other costumers. Babys are babys thats what they do its cry, and as they grown its the tantrums and all the noise it comes with it for every single thing that the kids dont feel like. But like me i have to take my kids with me i Have no where, no One and CANT afford paying, so yes like it or not my kids have to come with me Yes i do try do keep them behaving but there is so much you can do outdoors you do something that in the eyes of others its wrong and youll have eyes all over you you dont do nothing at all and let your kids be the “Bosses” and still you get all eyes on you. I think that it would be much easier those that complain or like to judge to get them selfs out of the shops to dont take the “noise” then a mother with screaming kids on a Pram or whatever other way.

  11. Crina says:

    I just hope to God we all get some support from each other in general…life is challenging and kids make it even more …

  12. Jude Watson says:

    Hi, I know exactly how you feel, as if it was yesterday. I have brought up my two boys now aged 25 & 26 on my own. Not only did I have those same stares and at times cruel remarks and oh how they judged once they knew I was a single parent, but I dug deep and I kept on, instilling boundaries and rights from wrongs with my boys and we had loads of fun whilst doing it. I won’t lie it has been hard and I have lost count of the nights I cried myself to sleep. But then almost without me realising, I watched my boys develop into the most amazing young people. And now? Well Im still a single parent and I have two amazing, funny, caring, gorgeous young men and people continuously tell me what a credit they are to me and what an amazing job I have done. And yes you know what? I did do a great job, it was hard, it was relentless and many days I felt worthless, useless but I wouldn’t change a single thing. You hang in there, your doing a fab job, stuff the rest of the world. If I can give one piece of advice, it would be remember it isn’t the quantity of toys you buy them its the quality of time that you spend with them that they will remember. Im not sure it gets easier? As they get older they just come with different problems, questions and worries but don’t worry because you will be a pro by then and you will be as amazing as you always were. Good luck xxx

  13. Holly Smith says:

    This just reminds me of yesterday – my three year old had a melt down in town and a woman walked past saying he needed a slap. Feel much better now 🙂

  14. I actually put my 3 year old in a time out in the middle of the biscuit aisle in Asda whilst his younger brother was screaming his head off in the trolley seat (he’d thrown his bribery snack on the floor almost as soon as we’d arrived). Luckily it must have been a good day as most people were amused by my noisy little drama. Sadly I wasn’t one of them…I do online grocery shopping now! 😉

  15. Van Dutchman says:

    Perhaps Ciara should use her sleepless nights to order her shopping online…;-)

  16. Lolly says:

    Get your shopping delivered! End of issue.

  17. serena says:

    stares and tuts usually follow an ear-piercing scream from my 2 year old. She does them all the time, when she is happy/excited and when she is upset. people have literally ducked, winced and covered their ears as they spin around looking for the source of such a painful noise. Sometimes I feel bad and try to bribe my little ones to stop bothering people with shouts and screams in public but sometimes I just let them be. Luckily no ones ever actually said anything to me as I’d have to ask them if they know anything about children at all. Don’t they remember how boring shopping was for them when they were small?

  18. Lesley says:

    3 weeks ago I went to my local supermarket with my 3 kids aged 6 , 4 and 8 mths my eldest was being hurrundess , by aisle 3 I took her by the arm and came down to her level and told her if she didn’t behave I was not taking her to the park after ? So continue shopping only to be stopped by the security guard saying an older lady had complained that I was mistreating my child ,and wasn’t fit to be a mother , she then started shouting at me saying If couldn’t control my children . Then I shouldn’t have them ? When I got angry and reply I was asked to leave the shop ? I was mortified . If I’d of smacked her ,or hurt her I could understand but this was not the case . I haven’t been to that supermarket again . When asking did she have kids of her own ? She replied with that is not relivent , oh yes it bloody we’ll is lol

  19. Cx says:

    My 1 year old daughter always screams in supermarkets. Not cry, just scream for fun. And to be honest, I don’t care what and how anyone looks at me. She’s 1. I already tried telling her off for it but she just likes doing it, so until she’s older and gets some ‘social skills’, I’ll let her do that. She’s an amazing little girl and I care more about her happiness than what any ‘other woman’ in a supermarket could say to me 🙂
    I loved your article.

    • Sarah says:

      People like you are why I shop online. its all about you and ur precious princess. Noone else matters……….

      • Kelly says:

        Sarah, having worked in a supermarket for many years, you certainly see the full spectrum of the human condition, I can tell you a noisy toddler, who has only just started to understand that they exist as an individual and are learning the concept of self, it’s not really an issue. Generally, the adults are much more badly behaved! Not all adults are quiet, let alone civil or show any form of self control.

      • Mia says:

        That’s a bit harsh Sarah! I understand that unruly children aren’t your cup of tea, but I do think that a bit of understanding wouldn’t go amiss either. In the end of the day, you were a child once too…

  20. Lucy Wright-Booth says:

    One other thing – when I was little I was never dragged round the shops by my mum because she left me in the car, because that’s what people did in the those days! Or left outside the shop in my pram! I think the older generation who tut at us and make comments forget this fact!

  21. Clare says:

    My advice would be where possible try internet food shopping. I do my main shop this way and only go to the supermarket for a top up shop or if i sent something back with the online shop!

  22. TONY ARKELL says:

    FOR ALL THE SHOUTING AND FUSS THAT YOU MAKE YOU WILL TURN ROUND ONE DAY,QUITE SOON,IT SEEMS AND YOU ARE A GRANDMA.SO CHERISH YOUR KIDS WHILE YOU CAN. OUR YOUNGEST IS NOW 46.WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?

  23. Ruth says:

    My eldest has sensory autism so even though she is 9 she still can act like a toddler, and because she looks “normal” people judge. I am, by now, not bothered by the snotty people who stare. I now rule by the philosophy that if it works for you, whatever it is, then do it. Your families happiness is more important than a total strangers 10 second judgement. it took till child number 3 to reach this attitude but I am a happier mummy for it. Poo to those meanies!!

  24. Rebecca Harrison says:

    Yes I’ve been through this many times, with my son as he also has asd sensory overload in supermarkets. And also have had the looks etc but my son can’t help it and so many people are judgemental and look as though they never seen a child like it before. X

  25. K Davie says:

    Get online shopping! Delivery as cheap as £1.50. No stress!

  26. Debbie says:

    i have the cure to un ruley toddlers go shopping when i do and where i do as it seems whenever my girl has a tantrum all the other kids turn into well behaved little angels,

  27. Carmen says:

    Ok let me start by saying I will probably be hated for this post but I’m going to say it anyway.
    You chose to have kids. As for saying you haven’t been able to wee on your own for 3 years, why? Kids have to learn boundaries. Don’t let them in the bathroom when you’re doing your business then you can pee alone.
    You can’t wait till your body is yours? See above point, you chose to have kids, it changes us in ways we never thought possible.
    You relish the ten mins before your child/ren climb into bed with you? Again, boundaries. Your Kids need to learn that their bed is theirs and yours is yours. Letting them in night after night is going to cause you no end of problems.
    You let your child fetch silly cumbersome toys on a shopping trip and wonder why they get fed up with carrying them? It’s not rocket science, don’t let them fetch anything.
    Don’t bribe with sweets/toys or anything really. It’s either behave or the naughty spot. And yes this is possible anywhere. I’ve done it before. My child threw a hissy fit over something and I made an imaginary naughty spot because if I’d have waited till home time we all know my child wouldn’t have remembered what he was being punished for.
    So to sum it up, if your child is throwing a tantrum ignore it. Walk away but not so far that you can’t see him/her. He/she will get over it. As for saying the other woman probably hasn’t got children, she quite possibly has, just a lot better behaved than yours.

  28. Suzanne Boon says:

    I was once in a cafe with my son (then 3, now 11). I had bad postnatal depression and to be honest was in the cafe because it would have been easier to slit my wrists than stand and cook a meal (I was really bad. Think motionless on sofa and not being able to be left alone most of the time). Jude was crying and whining because he didn’t feel great and to be honest shouldn’t have been in a cafe because he had a bad cold. This old man turned round and said to me that he needed a good slap. Now I don’t advocate violence and I have no idea where it came from as I usually wouldn’t say boo to a goose, but I replied that yes, the old man did need a good slap and I swung my hand back as though to wallop him! He soon left! Then I cried and the shop lady was so nice to me that I ate there loads of times after!

  29. Gem says:

    Whenever I see another mum with their tantruming child I always go over and tell them that my child has done the same thing that day or the day before etc and tell her she’s doing a great job. Recently one of those mums stopped me at school and told me how grateful she was on that day that I spoke to her as she was feeling really awful. I wish the lady who was shooting daggers at me in the swimming pool the other day when my 22 month old was screaming at the top of his lungs had done the same for me.

    • Suzanne says:

      Whilst I am not one of those women who tut about a child who is crying or screaming, I do have to say that you chose to have a child and Im pretty sure you knew them that they would take up most if not all of your time certainly in the early years.

      • Alice says:

        I don’t think people do know what it’s going to be like to have a child, until they have had the child, parents have no idea what it’s going to be like until they’re in the thick of it. Every child is different, they all have individual personalities, perhaps particular/special needs, and each stage is different. You are learning every day as the child develops, grows, learns and changes with you. It’s a pretty black and white response to this blog to say, ‘you chose to have a child’. What does that mean? You should erode your feelings and personality, and not be allowed to feel tired and make mistakes, so we should all act like some glorious Robot Mummy until they turn eighteen? I’m glad my mother wasn’t like that, I’d have developed no personality at all.

      • Gem says:

        One of the things other parents don’t tell you is how hard it is being a parent (and being an adoptive parent even more so). It’s a club that you don’t find out the small print until you join. It doesn’t mean that you’re a uncaring or unloving parent if you find it hard. Children generally don’t observe the social boundaries that most adults have learned to observe so, for a parent, it can feel overwhelming when your child has a massive tantrum in public for example. Other adults glaring and generally heaping their disapproval on you can increase your feelings of frustration and isolation as you seek to restore order. I’m quite thick skinned as it turns out. I manage tantrums in public with little embarrassment and have used timeout in the shops at times but it is hard especially if I’m tired or have other worries or am short of time. Parenting is the hardest job I’ve ever had. It surprises me daily how relentless children can be. I have one child who is emotionally delayed currently who doesn’t always act age appropriately and another who is embracing the terrible two’s. Yes I chose to be a parent but I would hope that society would support all it’s citizens with kindness and cut parents a bit of slack and not stare down at us from a lofty place of condemnation. Most parents are grateful if, at the end of the day. Their parenting that day hasn’t led to their child needing therapy as an adult!

    • DaisyBaby says:

      I was just about to comment with something like this!

      Whilst it’s a bit idyllic, wouldn’t it be such a day-maker if instead of tutting or giving filthy looks to mothers who are a little overwhelmed at that current moment, someone actually came up to you and asked if there was anything they could do to help? Grab some of their shopping and speed up their trip, or maybe try and cheer up the child if they’re generally quite good at that?

      Even outside of just troublesome children, we as a culture have very few instances where we feel compelled to rush to someone’s aid, instead turning them into something to blame. Part of that is the sometimes-fair perception we have to strangers, but I think next time any of us see a parent meltdown in a shop, might be cool to see if there’s a way to help or, as you did, reassure.

  30. Amy Jones says:

    To all the people saying to do shopping online I ask, why should we have to? My boys are 3 and 2 and although shopping can (and most of the time is) a tough experience it is teaching my children the right type of behaviour in public. If all mothers sat at their computer screens instead of taking them out into the world, what kind of future generations are we going to have. If somebody wants to shoot me a look because my son is shouting that he wants something he has seen, then I’ll shoot one right back and tell them to do their shopping inline in the future. I’m busy teaching my kids not to grow up like you.

  31. BelindaG says:

    I do give a pat on the arm and say something comforting if I can. Once I was told to “fuck off” although usually I think it’s the right thing to do and I have been thanked profusely. It does get better and it does go very very fast. I was also followed round a supermarket once by an old lady (bag actually) who clucked and tutted and eventually said “do you think that baby’s got something wrong with it” (my daughter cried all the time unless I was holding her until she was about 3). I don’t know how this came out or where I found the inner gall from but I just looked her in the eye and said “no I think she’s fine I’m just the terrible parent you obviously think I am”. I can still see her slack jaw hanging now.

    I don’t mind crying children in the supermarket but if it’s so hard why do it, just why when nowadays you can get it delivered or go at midnight once your partner, if you have one, is home? Why put yourselves through sheer agony when you could be at the park?

    At risk of sounding like a miserable old gimmer though, why do mums nowadays think it’s acceptable to let their children scoot and cycle round the supermarket? I have arthritis now (at 53) and it frightens the wits out of me – if I end up on the deck I could be off work for six weeks. If I had let mine do that (and they are only 16 and 19 now) the manager would have asked us to leave the shop.

    Oh, and I always turned it into a bit of an outing and sometimes we had McDonalds first, when Asda were politically incorrect enough to have a McDonalds, fed them grapes afterwards and let them have a ride on Thomas or whatever it was (think it was Thomas) afterwards. Worked like a dream with mine although I’ve a bigger age gap than some and I didn’t have to take two at once very often so I’ve never had it as tough as some of you.

  32. Hannah says:

    I was trying to buy school uniform with my two the other day, they are 9 and 6 and I’m heavily pregnant, I literally had to pull them off each other and stop them crawling and chasing each other around m and s. They do and should know better and I told them so, but sometimes even older kids misbehave because they are bored or just because they can! When I see a young family in the supermarket in the situation you describe I usually try to say something nice or reassuring, something like we’ve all been there, or it gets better honestly. Some days are harder than others, but generally it gets easier.

  33. Alice says:

    One more thing, I am convinced it’s the strip lighting in these shops that upsets them, the guys that design these places either have no idea or are secretly wanting to cause mayhem! And shopping online sucks, you always end up getting old tired fruit delivered and next day out of date bread. Take the kids to the shops and make some noise! You only live once!

  34. Joanne Crosthwaite says:

    I had one ‘incident’ in particular when my eldest son was about 3 and my daughter about 18mth. He insisted on walking around Morrisons whilst she sat in the trolly seat. He proceeded to have a paddy and threw himself on the floor, she was also screaming, but I had a full trolly and needed the shopping (so dumping and fleeing the scene was out). I therefore continued my walk to the checkout with him clinging to my ankle as I dragged him along the supermarket floor with each laboured step I took. Yes I had lots of shocked looks, a few tuts, but I just shrugged my shoulders and thought ‘sod em’. I would love to have seen them dealing. I now have 3 little ‘darlings’, aged 8, 6 & 4. Shopping is still a nightmare and wrangling them is not easy. 3 hours uniform shopping in Asda the other day with all 3 will not go down as my favourite day ever! Just hang on in there and to all those condescending do-gooders, take your heads out of your bums and see that we mums (and dads) are doing the best we can. If you haven’t got anything nice to say, keep your opinions to yourselves.

  35. Kath says:

    When I was newly married, I saw a child, (around the age of 6) being really cheeky and answering her mum back. I thought to myself, “wow, when I have children they WON’T be allowed to do that!”………………………………. Since having my own, I remember my reaction to that poor mum each time I’m seeing the same reaction from others. Have you noticed it’s always people who don’t have any children with them that react? Probably people who are lucky enough to have their own children cared for by someone else.
    I worked in a supermarket on a till, and one day a parent of a child with special needs came through the next till to mine, making a lot of noise. The customer behind said, “people shouldn’t be allowed to bring children like ‘that’ shopping”. The teller, (a friend of mine) replied, “You have had to cope with that child for five minutes, that mum has to live 24 hours a day with the situation knowing it won’t change”. The couple went very quiet and red faced, I think we need to be prepared to confront complainers too.

  36. lisa says:

    Being a mother of 3 grown up children myself I can and do sympathise.However I also work in a supermarket if you think its fine to let children scream and think to hell with anyone else please spare a thought for the workers.They may be on the shop floor for up to 8 hours a day .You may have 1 or 2 screaming toddlers we have to listen to them all day and we try not to be judgemental

  37. Strontium says:

    Not all people are so judgemental.

    I remember my 2 year old having the mother of all paddies near the checkout of our local Tesco, with my young baby in the seat. I can’t remember what he was throwing the paddy about but I can remember that I was tired and at my wit’s end and must have looked it. The checkout operator bagged my groceries for me while I struggled with the screaming angry octopus that was my two year old then I tried to put the child in the child seat to get out to the car. No dice. Ever tried to put a cat in a box to get it to the vets? Same deal. From all of the people getting angry at my lack of parenting skills as the line built up behind us, one older lady quietly slipped out and asked “Where’s your car?” She then steered my trolley out to the car and as I manhandled the still-screaming child into his car seat she put her hand on my shoulder and said “It’s hard sometimes isn’t it. I think you’re doing really well.” Cue me bursting into tears. It gave me enough of a boost to keep me going at a tough time though.

    That was seven years ago and I am still grateful to that woman!

    Oh, and my toddler calmed down as soon as he was in the car and the seatbelt on. Typical, hey?

  38. flame says:

    A retired (white hair and bearded) friend of mine has simply the best tactic to dealing with gremlin toddlers in shops, he approaches said mother and toddler and pretends he is santa -it has never failed! I have used this countless times when i spot a lookalike in a shop, best distraction technique ever!

  39. Annette says:

    I hate grocery shopping so I empathize with small children who hate it too! I told my son that the sooner it’s over the sooner we can have fun. To that end we would pretend to be on a windsurfer and careen around the aisles with him squealing in delight! Don’t give a thought to what anyone else thinks!

  40. Quertel says:

    The five no’s sound like a good idea – I’m going to go and pick mine.
    All I want to say is that I agree with all of this – but also that even mums can be judgmental.
    And I know I used to be.
    I had the perfect daughter – an angel child (using the terminology of the baby whisperer).
    Then I had the opposite….
    Um.
    I never knew what a tantrum was. Now I do.
    Structures and strategies aside, some kids are more challenging than others – notwithstanding the obvious point that they all have their moments.
    I have seriously been SCARED by my second child. And of course there are plenty of parent-child dynamic reminders about that. Getting it back into perspective is a whole interesting thing.
    When I take my little one shopping she is either angelic or demonic, depending on how tired or bored she is. On the rare occasion we go to a clothes shop she invariably does a Houdini – she escapes her buggy and runs in wild full-on-throttle glee around the rails, hiding here, hiding there, grabbing here, grabbing there, and I have to request help to find her. Last time she was in the men’s changing rooms at Next.
    After that I decided that I would keep her on reins if we go, or tighten the pushchair straps so tightly that she is unable to do her wriggling trick. I tend to give her a biscuit and then forget, and get loads of strange glances and then I realise it is smeared everywhere….
    I have definitely fallen into the trap of bending over too far for my children – but I think this is a societal shift.
    What we may have lost in discipline hopefully we might have improved the connection we have.
    But I do think I am going to try to make my boundaries really clear because then it makes everyone’s life easier.
    Good luck everyone! I am paying through the nose for Tesco (spit spit) until next week when my little one starts nursery and I can hit Aldi again!!!!
    xxx

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