The Mothers I See

I work in retail customer service. Every day I witness countless moms interacting with their kids.

Want to know what I learned? There are SO MANY different kinds of moms. Some women fit into more than one of these categories. Personally, I identify with more than one of these, depending on the day. Sometimes, I am one type in the morning, and a different type in the afternoon!

Regardless of which of these moms you are, just know that I see you. And if you catch me staring a little too long, please know that it’s not because I’m judging you. It’s because I see you with your babies, and something in that moment got me all up in my mommy feels, and I’m just longing to be home with my babies instead of at work with yours. (no offense).

the yeller

Ahh… the yeller. This mom has a no nonsense attitude. She has high expectations, and her kids love to push her buttons. When her kids misbehave, she yells to make her point. She doesn’t care where she is, or who hears. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, because I too, am a yeller. And, like my kids, once the yelling is complete, good behavior is once again in our presence. I, personally, like the yeller. Her kids might be slightly annoying, but she puts a stop to it before I even have a chance to actually be annoyed.

the hover-er

I both like and dislike the hover-er. Ya know, the mom that has her ten year old sitting in the bottom of the cart, and her six year old crammed into the top of the cart along with her three year old because she doesn’t trust them to walk through the grocery store.

Sure, your kids don’t get on my nerves, but that’s because they never have the opportunity to do so.

I kind of feel bad for her kids though, because if they can’t walk through the grocery store, what other kinds of activities are they not allowed to do? What experiences are they missing out on? What kind of needy adults will they grow up to be?

the nurturer (the teacher)

I strive to be like the nurturer.

The mom that always speaks in a calm kind voice. Not only to her kids, but to everyone she talks to. The kind that makes you feel like a little kid when she speaks to you. Not in a bad way, but in a comforting way that only a truly maternal person can.

She uses every opportunity she can find as an opportunity to teach her kids something. Literally every single one.

They are naming fruits and vegetables. Identifying letters of the alphabet on labels. Counting. Naming colors, shapes, and textures.

the meany

She is the mom that says no. Alot. She finds herself repeating the same few phrases:

  • don’t touch that
  • put that back
  • we are not buying candy
  • no cookies today
  • no gum
  • stay by the cart

You get it.

the down right awful

She is mean. And I don’t mean she says no a lot, I mean that she is absolutely malicious and nasty toward her children. You might hear her tell her child to shut up. Or ask them if they are stupid. Or worse yet, tell them that they are stupid.

It’s almost like she enjoys making her kids cry.

Okay, maybe she doesn’t actually enjoy it, but she is really, really bad at controlling her anger and frustration.

It sounds unbelievable, but I have witnessed this type of behavior from a mother more times that anyone should.

I can’t help but feel so bad for her kids. Sometimes, it’s all I can do not to give her a piece of my mind, and to give her kids the hug that my mind tells me they desperately need.

the grandma

Not your average grandma. This grandma is clearly exhausted, because her grandkids spend more than the average time in her care.

She is the grandma who is raising her grandkids, because for whatever reason, her kids aren’t.

She is clearly stuck between a rock and a hard place — being the grandma she wants to be, and the mother her grandchildren need.

the empty nester

This one is easy. And she is easy to spot. She is the quiet older lady that is, like me, just observing. Just taking in all the interactions between mom and child going on around her. She has that twinkle in her eye that says she is reminiscing about the days that she used to grocery shop with her own children in toe.

the negligent

When I say negligent, I don’t mean she is literally neglecting her kids, but rather that she is pre-occupied. Usually chatting away on her phone, while her kids are running amuck through the store. She is almost as annoying as her kid that is bouncing the playground ball and squeaking all the dog toys.

Sometimes, I think her kids misbehave on purpose — to get her attention.

It drives me absolutely insane.

the newbie

She is one of my favorites. Also, one of the easiest to spot. She takes on a couple of different forms.

Occasionally, she is overly organized, and has way more bags than necessary for grocery shopping. She has her purse, usually oversized, stuffed to the brim with who knows what. She has her diaper bag, overflowing with a ridiculous amount of nonsense that she doesn’t actually need, but thinks she might. And then there’s usually a third bag. A tote bag of some sort. I have no idea what she keeps in here. Maybe it’s all the stuff that she couldn’t fit in the diaper bag, but that she couldn’t leave behind, because she just might need it.

If she isn’t overly prepared, then she is the exhausted new mom. The one who made the trip to the grocery store because there was some item that she absolutely had to have, like diapers, formula, wipes, or something along those lines. Or, she didn’t really need anything, other than some adult interaction. She usually looks like she just rolled out of bed. Seems rather frazzled. Usually, she decides half way through the trip that she would have rather stayed home, and can’t seem to get out of store fast enough.

She is my favorite. If I stare at you too long, frazzled newbie, please know that it isn’t out of judgement, or to make you uncomfortable. It’s because I used to be you. And I’m remembering the outings I had with my own newborns. I maybe even envy you a little bit, because I have a case of baby fever or something.

the expert

She is the mom that comes into the store on a mission. She doesn’t have time for lolly-gagging. She has a list, and she sticks to it. She meanders through the store with ease and purpose. Gracefully finishing her shopping trip before her toddler has a meltdown, and she manages to make it home before nap time.

I strongly believe that we should not judge other mothers. Not one of us is a “perfect mom”, therefore not one of us has the right to judge. And what’s right for one family might not be right for another. But, we are all human. Judging is human nature. We can’t help but judge each other. How you react is what is important. Just because I don’t agree with you, doesn’t give me the right to throw dirty looks your way, or mumble under my breath about how awful your child is behaving. Instead, try flashing a smile to that mom. Sure, you wouldn’t have reacted that way, but smile anyway, even though you want to stare. Smile because it isn’t your kid. Smile because that toddler being yelled at needs to see a friendly face. Smile to encourage and reassure. Reassure that mom that you know she is trying, and to encourage her to keep trying. ***