We All Have “That Kid” So Help a Fellow Mama Out!

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“That kid.” The one melting down in a store because he didn’t get a toy he wanted or the candy she saw. Or just because you went down the wrong aisle in the store. Or the one losing it in a restaurant because you said chairs are for sitting, not standing. Here’s another ABQ Moms Blog post about those tantrums.

Before having kids, I naively thought I would never have that kid.

I thought I would be the mom who taught her kids how to “behave” in public. That mom whose kid was losing it just didn’t have it together.

I have that kid

Boy oh boy was I wrong.

We have dealt with our share of meltdowns out in public, but this last week I experienced the biggest one yet all by myself.

It started with the baby not sleeping well the previous night. Mama was tired. Then he just wasn’t able to fall asleep at nap time. The car always does it for him, so I decided I would take the boys to Target because we also needed to get a few things. By a few things, I mean a birthday present for my husband’s 30th birthday that was three days away– insert good wife award here (sarcasm).

We got to the store and my three year old instantly asked for a toy in the dollar spot. Now, there are many times where I would oblige and get him the $3 toy to keep him happy through the store. But his asking for and expecting something every time we go to a store had gotten a little out of hand lately. I wanted to try to nip this expectation in the bud.

So I said no. And the complaining began. Every aisle we went down, he asked for it or for something else he saw. He really started to lose it when he saw a Paw Patrol coloring book that I also refused to buy. I even started to cave here and offered him new crayons, but those were not good enough. He wanted that book at all costs. And I wasn’t caving on that.

Enter screaming three year old.

I tried to check out quickly and the meltdown just got worse. The cashier even tried to give him stickers, and he wanted nothing to do with it. I forgot to mention he was sitting in the seat of the cart and I had the baby strapped to me. When we started to leave, he stood up in the cart, screaming his head off. All I could think was, “How am I going to get out of this store and into the car?”

I picked him up because I couldn’t have him standing in the cart and risk him falling out. But now I was carrying a baby and a melting down toddler. I officially had “that kid.”

Here’s where the story gets good.

The cashier offered to help me out to my car. She asked another employee to take over so she could help. As I turned to take her up on the offer, another mom in line gave me a thumbs up and said, “You’re doing great” (or something like that). Then a sweet mama with her baby in a stroller came up and said she was leaving and would walk me to the car.

She pulled the cart while I carried the boys. She told me she’d been in my shoes. And she stood there with me while I tried to reason with my toddler. She held the baby while I tried to get the toddler into the car. And when the toddler stopped crying to start to pee his pants in his car seat, she helped me get them both back into the cart to go back into the store to use the bathroom. She made sure I was okay before leaving and told me it was okay if I got into the car a cried because, again, she’d been in my shoes before.

She didn’t have to help me. I’m sure she probably had plenty of her own things going on. But she stopped to help. And it meant so much. I physically needed the help, but knowing we aren’t alone can almost mean so much more.

All of our kids are different and unique, but in many ways all the same. We all love them more than life itself, but they all have their bad days (as do we!). So next time you are out and see a melting down child, help that mama out. Give her a hand. Help her out of the store. Maybe talk the toddler off the ledge. Even if all you can do is offer a smile and tell her she’s doing a great job, do it.

Create community and spread kindness.

And to the cashier in Target, the mom who gave me the thumbs up, and the mom who walked me to my car that day– thank you.


Originally published November 2019.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.

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