Musings from the supermarket battleground……

It’s funny where the mind goes on what should be a fairly routine trip to the supermarket. Unfortunately, with two children under the age of three, there is no such as a ‘routine’ trip, or a straightforward task. Every task has to be planned with military style precision in order to avoid a toddler standing in a puddle of wee as she didn’t think to tell mummy she needed the toilet. Whilst mummy is busy breastfeeding a screaming baby and so cannot easily clean up the puddle of wee without exposing herself to the general public. True story. 

1. Why is the only trolley that doesn’t have a coffee cup holder the one which is designed to carry both an infant and a toddler side by side? Surely if a survey was conducted, the people who would need coffee the most would be people using a trolley that holds two pre school-aged children?

2. And on a similar note, why are the aforementioned trolleys the least accessible of all? How exactly is a mother with a baby bag on her shoulder, a toddler holding her hand and a baby strapped to her front supposed to climb over half a flower display and move several other trolleys in order to access the one trolley in the whole place that allows her to do actually do a shop?

3. The fleeting but unmistakable look of solidarity that passes between mothers  wrangling toddlers and babies as we pass each other in the aisles. A look that manages to say, ‘I know where you are coming from, I’ve got your back, sista,’ without actually opening our mouths at all. A look that equates to an understanding usually only achieved through friendships spanning decades.

4. The few angels we have encountered who stop to distract baby girl when she is screaming so loudly I feel sure we are about to be asked to leave, or offer to help me get my children to the car when we are trying dash between the rain drops without a coat amidst a torrential downpour, or stop to tell my big girl what a great big sister she is to hold her baby sister’s hand all the way around the supermarket. You know who you are, angels, please don’t stop restoring my faith in humanity.


Mummy guilt, sleep deprivation and the Buddha.

‘The Tibetans don’t even have a word for guilt – only ‘remorse’ and this is different. Whereas guilt plays out as a mindless and repetitive attack on our worth as a person, remorse is simply a clear acknowledgement that we have made a mistake, taking full responsibility without taking it quite so personally, (Sarah Napthali, Buddhism for Parents on the Go.)’

Motherhood sometimes feels like a thankless task. But the Buddhist advise shows that this is actually a creation of our own minds, rather than a true reflection of our relationship with our children or our ability as a mother. Show me a person who hasn’t made mistakes and I will show you a liar. It is what we do with this mistakes that matters. Errors in judgement, mistakes, things we wish we could do differently – however we word them, there is a litany of things we might do differently if we weren’t sleep deprived, harassed by an inquisitive toddler and generally running on empty.

I would love to have endless patience. My patience levels have certainly improved since having children through necessity, although it is much easier to practise patience, mindful parenting and calmness on days when everything is going well.