FILED IN: Parenting

Flirtations in the meat aisle.

It was bound to happen – sooner rather than later, I suppose – when I swear, on all things sacred in the parenting world, “That is never going to happen to me,” and it does leaving me to wonder once again, “WTF?”

Have I actually turn into one of those mothers that I swore I would never become?!?

Have you seen me?

You know, the haggard looking woman – pushing a shopping cart filled to the brim with very little in nutrition and threatening to topple any minute – with a rather large crease running across her forehead that seems to swallow her face, right before your eyes, as she screams at her children like a blood-thirsty shrew.

And then you think, “What sane woman would even think to drag four children food shopping?”

[shrugs shoulders]

You know what?

[scratches head]

Some of us just can’t help it; some mothers feel this basic need to remind ourselves that we are perhaps capable of withstanding most any type of pain and torture, compared to what our children dish out, prompting others to head directly towards the birth control aisle.

Still believing that I am all that, and more.

See, there I am…over there…near the frozen foods…squeezing in between the two old ladies discussing next Tuesday’s trip to Atlantic City…glowering in all my PMS bloated…dark roots are showing…“You are on my last nerve!” screaming glory.

[squints before cringing]

Not exactly Mother of the Year material, am I?

I never used to be like this. In fact, I used to look forward to food shopping and I could stack my purchases in organized little piles in the carriage and had a shopping grid I would follow, every week – produce, beverages, canned food, dairy, meat, frozen foods and finally ending at the bread aisle – and I concentrated on finding every single blessed item that was on sale and not have any coupons left over or shoved into every empty crevice in my purse, pants, and jacket, whatever, and perhaps even catch the eye of good looking shopper, or two.

Yes, the grocery store was a great place to pick up men.

[blank stares]

Men desperate to get away from their wives, but – heh, who was I to judge?- their attention felt nice, just the same.

Now – feh! – I spend more time putting items back that would magically appear in the shopping cart my children swear they would, “…absolutely die” if they can’t, “…have this for breakfast tomorrow!” Not to mention climbing 3 flights of stairs to use the potty (4 times), then throwing things into the carriage all willy-nilly and begging, “Can we, please, get this stupid grocery shopping done and get the hell out of this store sometime today!?!”

Starting to sound familiar, yes?

So, how dare I look surprised, and perhaps even a little insulted, when I notice that other shoppers are staring at me, and not in the, “Man, she’s hot!” sort of way?

I could just imagine what they’re thinking, what I would have been thinking 13 or so years ago, “Hasn’t that poor woman discovered the birth control aisle, yet?”

But, we eventually manage to complete our shopping trip, because the cart just wouldn’t hold any more, and I usually manage to annoy my oldest daughter by now, because I didn’t have the guts to send her out into the parking lot to get another carriage.

I scan it – bag it – pay for it – and die a little at the end of each shopping trip.

“Mom, why were you flirting with all of the people shopping?”

A little taken aback by her question, I blinked in surprise and stumbled over my words a little.

“What makes you think I was flirting?”

She made that sort of “she-yah” sound and rolled her eyes.

“Come on, Mom…you were…like…winking at everybody!”
My turn.

“She-yah, right! I wasn’t winking at anybody! My contacts are drying up and sticking to everything expect my eyeballs, OKAY!?!”

[blinking with a vengeance]

Again with eye-rolling and, this time, she looked passed me and pointed at the old guy behind our shopping cart.

“Then, why has that old guy been following us since the meat aisle, Mom!?!”

Yep, if only you could have seen my face that day…looking at him…winking at me…and his shaky little wrinkled up hands wrapped tightly around a box of condoms.

I was truly leaving ‘em nearly dead in the aisles that day, my friend!

[This “WTF?” moment is brought to you by an imperfect parent with the highest respect for the makers of chocolates, fruity wines and latex-free condoms, worldwide!]

Happy Valentine’s Day!