I took all three kids to the grocery store today after school, which is something I haven't done much yet. I'm so immune to noise that I thought it was going okay. The older boys were riding in the car thing the store provides (hooked onto the cart). The baby was in the sling. They were getting a little amped up; they hadn't seen each other all day. Anyway, while checking out, a young man with "special needs" was bagging our groceries. Coo made BooBoo (2 year old) squeal really, really loud. The poor bagging man jumped and grabed his face! I couldn't believe it. I realized I was "that woman" with the loud, out of control kids. Since they don't fight and scream in the store, I didn't really see it that way. Suddenly, I was hyper-aware and irritated. CooCoo tried to hug me from behind and I said, "stop it!." When I got the kids loaded into the van, the baby screamed the whole way home! Screamed! By the time we got in and got the groceries unloaded, I was a mess. I barked at the kids to leave me alone and give me a minute. I took the baby into my room, stripped off my jeans and put on something cooler. Then I sat down to nurse. By the time he was done nursing, I was so sad that I lost my fuse. Both the boys had left me alone, and they were quietly watching tv. I hugged them both and told them thank you so much for giving mommy a break. I told them I was irritated by the noise and the baby crying, and I needed to be alone to calm down.
I think we can all learn a lesson from times like these. First, my kids weren't being bad at the store, and I shouldn't have let what I thought was someone else's opinion influence me. Second, and more importantly, my children learn from these situations that everyone gets crabby sometimes and needs a "time out." And when your time out is over, it's the right thing to do to apologize to the person you were mean to. To see your mother humble herself and say "I'm sorry" is a hell of a lot more effective than for her to always yell for you to do it. Nobody is perfect.