Today I was that mom – the one letting her kids watch a movie while grocery shopping. I confess to previously saying, “I’ll never let my kids do that,” but today a successful shopping trip meant more to me than being perceived as a perfect parent.
I had a lot left to accomplish at home and didn’t want to exhaust myself by discipling and entertaining toddlers while shopping. With hope of a quiet stroll through the store, I handed Carter the iPad, explained my expectations, and walked inside.
But only a couple minutes in, Pierce decided he was done watching. After a failed attempt to coax him back to The Polar Express (cause Christmas movies are always in season), I switched to plan B.
“Ok, come up over here Pierce,” I said, guiding him to the front of the cart.
“These are beans.” I handed him a can.
“Beans!” he repeated.
“This is corn.” His hand extended and grasped.
For the remainder of the trip, I was that mom – the annoying, taking too long to get down the aisle, teaching her kid the name of every item in the cart, mom. Pierce happily complied, naming items and stacking them in the basket.
With my strong willed toddler occupied and quiet, my little one had the rare opportunity to savor my undivided attention (like big brother once enjoyed). Pierce got to count sweet potatoes, practice saying “jalapenos,” and sing songs without big brother talking over him. Carter is continually improving in his ability to let Pierce share the limelight, but the struggle is real.
This trip, Carter didn’t make a peep.
The dichotomy of my parenting styles this morning is what made my shopping trip successful. Being the mom I swore I would never become is what enabled me to be the kind of mom I always envisioned.
Of course I have other ways to keep Carter occupied, and there will be sanctimommies who have a bag of tricks to entertain even the toughest toddler without an iPad. But today, rather than being the perfect mom, I was just the mom I needed to be.