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Friday, September 23, 2011

My First Public "Mom Moment"

Since Emily was born I have slowly developed an acute fear of leaving the house.  Breastfeeding will do that to you.  Its stressful planning to leave around feedings and naps enough, but throw in the difficulty of what to do if she needs to be feed (more like demands to be fed) when I am in public, like a supermarket, and the anxiety such a situation provokes is enough to make me want to stay in the comfort of my home where I can nurse in peace.  

But, I am not the type of person who can just be happy in the cocoon of my home for days and weeks on end.  I go a little stir crazy so I have been taking baby steps in trying to become comfortable outside the home as a breastfeeding mom with a newborn.  

The other day we made our first step at being in public for longer than an hour stretch.  We went to the grocery store!  And it was at the store that I totally had my first moment of motherhood in all its public glory....

Shopping had gone really well.  I knew the aisles of the supermarket and made a list so packing my cart full of food was a relatively quick feat.  To that point the only difficult part was seeing over the baby carrier as it was perched in the cart, but then we got in line to pay for our groceries.  
I laid out everything on the conveyor belt after a wonderful employee ushered us to a line that only had one other person in it.  No waiting, how awesome!  Just as it was our turn to have our items rung up the cashier switched out with an older lady.  She was wearing a ton of make-up from a different decade and clearly forgot to wear her bra that morning.  As soon as she punched in and picked up the first item to scan Emily began to stir.

..of course.

I watched the woman scanning my items.  She was moving at the speed of an AARP commercial and I tried to gather patience as my child began doing to tell tale sleepy squirm that meant she was on the precipice of a 'feed me now' meltdown.  The cashier was oblivious of my efforts to sooth Emily and continued to slowly scan each item.  Flattening out packages before bagging them and seemingly investigating each item before placing them in the bag.  It didn't take long before I began to unravel.
The baby is about to cry.

I told her point blank three separate times as Emily began making squeaks and half cries.  Fussiness, the one step before a full blown wail.  The cashier actually moved slower and stared at me blankly.  Just then Emily began to cry, loudly, and my fears of a public meltdown was coming to fruition.  

Could you move any slower?!  

I exclaimed as the woman just held a jar of peanut butter in her hand and stared at me, not scanning anything.  Shawn, who clearly wins when it comes to patience, told me to just take her outside to the car and nurse her while he finished paying.  So, with a carrier full of fussy baby I walked out of the store.  As soon as we were in the confines of the car she was quite and content.  

Once I left and Shawn was paying for the groceries the cashier asked "What was her problem?" to Shawn.  He eyeballed her for a second before lighting into her how slow and inconsiderate she was.  The woman just stared blankly at him.  

While it wasn't a horrible, world ending, meltdown and I am sure that I'm in for bigger ones in the future I think getting the first public one out of the way is a big milestone.  And just to add to it when we got home and were putting the groceries away we found our bread items smushed thanks to her bagging them with big boxes of pasta. 


T Lee said...

aggravation!! i'm the type to call the store manager and discuss why they have antiques working at the registers and who is gonna bring me unsmushed bread....teehee!!

Natalie@Queen of Whirled said...

The best thing you can do is practice walking and feeding. I can't tell you how many times I shopped with one hand on the stroller and the other holding a nursing baby under a nursing cover. Don't worry, it gets easier!

Jessica @ One Shiny Star said...

If you do your grocery shopping when your husband isn't working this might be a good time for some daddy daughter bonding while YOU do the grocery shopping. The only other way I've managed to grocery shop on my own is to feed her before going into the store, and then use a baby carrier so she sleeps better/longer. I just have this carrier:

It's from Target, and it is incredibly easy to use when you are by yourself. I have a mobi too - but I can't put it on with out it touching the floor (ew! if I'm out and about).

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

You did fine! Going to the car to sit in peace and nurse your baby was the best thing to do. I've even set my cart aside and told the cashier I'd be back. Just wait until you have a toddler throwing a fit or a temper tantrum about something when you're in a public place. Urgh. Many a time in my child rearing days I had to leave a location like a store or a restaurant becuase a toddler was misbehaving. The first time you tell your child, if he doesn't stop his behavior you will have to leave and then really do it, your problem becomes almost non existent. It's all about the follow through. You're a firefighter and a nurse too. Raising a baby will be a breeze for you, you just need a little practice. Happy Fall!

Dianne said...

Oh, I'm so glad Shawn was with you! For a minute, I thought you and the baby were by yourselves on this expedition. Shame on that clerk for being so thoughtless and inconsiderate! Clearly, she's in the wrong occupation. I rememember the first time as a young mother that I took two "babies" to the grocery story was a toddler and the other was 15 & 1/2 months older! The expedition didn't last long...I left the cart with a few items and headed home. Things did get better after that and I, eventually, successfully bought groceries with both in tow. Hang in there!

Nolie said...

OMG! As if she had the nerve to say that to him.

Anonymous said...

I can certainly appreciate that the cashier probably shouldn't have said anything to your husband. However, I don't believe his lighting into her about how slow and inconsiderate she was to be appropriate either. It's probably been eons since she remembered the stirrings of a soon-to-be fussy baby. I don't think she was going slow on purpose nor to provoke anything and I certainly would not say anything to her boss that might get her fired. She's probably working at her age because she has to and in this economy it would be impossible for her to find another position.

You are both younger and more resilient and with your backgrounds probably know that you just have to 'consider the source' in some cases. Your husband was probably 'primed' to react because of your discomfort and fear of having a screaming child in public.'ll be responding and reacting to many more potential and actual meltdowns in the future. Comes with being a parent in a public forum. Wait till you start getting the eyerolls and feel like you have to defend yourself or quickly scurry away because not everyone thinks your child is 'adorable'. I know from whence I speak. You know the saying 'children should be seen and not heard'? In our culture (within the U.S.), there is not the patience or understanding as within other cultures, i.e., European, Latin American, etc. You just deal the best you can with as little overlap into other people's 'space' as can be managed. IMHO.

Mel said...

Er! But you at least got the first moment out of the way. And thank goodness Shawn was there. I always tell myself that everyone around me is staring because they are just glad it isn't their kid this time. Whether it's true or not, it makes me feel better. And just be grateful your "mom moment" would earn you best mother of the year, not worst!

Joslinda said...

The "First" anything with a newborn is hard. Not to say balancing your "normal" activities with her is anything but "Normal". It does get easier. It does get better. Hats off to your sweety for handling the bill and bringing out the groceries. It is such an pleasure to hear about "active" men/fathers. With that said; take a deep breath.. make out your list next time {as you already did} and try to plan the shopping right after the baby has eaten and been changed. You could always hand the list to your sweety {if he isn't a shopper ~ hope for the best}, or leave Emily with him while you shop. That might make your nerves rattle a little bit {leaving her for the first time} but getting out alone is another step you will be facing.

ain't for city gals said...

This must have been why my mother (of nine kids) always said "I don't need anything that bad to take a baby shopping"...

Anonymous said...

I do not think that your comments regarding the cashier were humorous. I also do not think that being rude to her was setting an example to your daughter. As a mother of three, I can relate to the issues of an irritable baby. I am a retired RN and you will learn that patience will be your greatest virtue. I hope you enjoy all of the special moments with your beautiful baby.


Jacki said...

Oh my. It makes no sense to me that she didn't clue in at any point to the fact your baby was crying and you were in a hurry! I would have been irritated, too.

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