Sep 13, 2007

Overheard at the grocery store.

The other day I was grocery shopping and I overheard a middle age woman comment to a young mother with a large family "you know what causes that, right?" I should have said something, I felt bad for the mom who seemed taken aback by the comment. I did not understand why the older woman felt like sticking her nose into the mother's business.

All 5 of the young children were healthy, clean, well mannered and the mom, though still being frugal about it, made her purchases with cash, not WIC or a state issued food assistance card. I don't think the mom had these children because she was too stupid for birth control, they seemed naturally spaced, the youngest child contently nursed from his mother's breast while being worn in the sling... Oh my, nursing in PUBLIC?? What would the older woman say if she noticed that??

This got me thinking to inappropriate comments I have received, specifically referring to my three sons. I can't tell you how many times I am asked if I plan on trying for a girl... when did boys become the consultation prize? Did G-d put a child into my womb and say "Sorry, you did not win the prize this time, but take what is behind door number two so you won't be sent home empty handed". My usual response is that if we decide to have another it will be to have another baby, not play Russian roulette and only want one specific gender. The most offensive was when I was pregnant, the cashier asked if I knew the gender of the baby (as she is scanning 100% blue clothes, blankets, etc) and when she heard it was another boy she looked at my other two sons and said "Are you guys sad you are having a brother? I mean sisters are so much better, wouldn't you rather have a sister?" Yeah, because *I* was the one who chose their genders, but come on! My oldest son was hoping for a brother, but my middle son was licking his wounds from being wrong on his guess and at the time was hoping for a sister. Anyways, I digress.

When did society think that the store was an appropriate place to lecture someone about reproduction? Obviously the young mom had read page one of a parenting book if she knew her kids needed to eat. I know people who are not that sophisticated. Also, it is not like this mom was at the drive through window with grubby kids screaming for a soda pop and fried chicken nuggets. If the store was the place to lecture parents on birth control, wouldn't you think Planned Parenthood would have rented a pagoda at the front of the store? Maybe the wife could look over to her husband and say "honey, can you go pick up paper towels, and while you are on isle 7 get that vasectomy we have been wanting?"

To the woman at the grocery store.. please save your breath, find another medium for your cause. Volunteer at the woman's shelter, help families in crisis, send an article into the newspaper about the importance of reducing your carbon footprint, or help raise money for a family who has an ailing family member and needs money to pay for cancer treatment. I don't believe you said what you did out of malice, but it was in bad taste and only served to annoy the mother and other patrons in the store. Cut the mother some slack, her 5 kids were so much better than a lot of families I see with only one child. If you want to see some bad kids, go shop at Walmart, you will be running for the pharmacy section and popping headache medicine faster than you can say "wear a condom".

To everyone else, think twice before you make "harmless" comments to mothers, our hearts are fragile from countless sleepless nights, an infinite number of kissed boo-boos and "I love you's". We have to deal with our children's tears of disappointment when they don't get what they want, lose their best friend, break up with their first crush, and get teased by the neighborhood bully.

Now playing: John Mayer - Dreaming with a Broken Heart
via FoxyTunes


M said...

Boy this could not be more straight on. How many times I wished for others to keep their "harmless" comments to themselves.

Natasha said...


Have are you today? I hope wonderful!! It's Friday! I know I am way too excited.

But girl, I totally know what you mean about the ridiculous comments people make to new mothers. It burns me up we people poke their noses where they should be sometimes. I remember when my little on was an infant and I was shopping at my local grocery store looking for pampers mind you and a older lady approached me and said that I should feed my baby this particular formula and that I should buy this other brand. I was like I am not shopping for formula I actually nurse my child. And she was like oh and went on a tangent how formula is better than breast milk... I was like thanks, but on thanks for the info. You gotta love it.

I would have had to say something to that women, but you were probably right to hold your tongue and not say anything.

I hope that you have a great week and I will chat later. I am going shopping!!