Blessed are they that dwell in thy house:
they will be still praising thee. Selah. ~Psalm 84:4
Today I was that mom. You know the one that gets the looks. The one people are thinking has lost control. I thought it would be a good idea to take the girls out to the store today because there were a few things I needed, nothing pressing but getting out of the house would do us all some good. I expected them to be well-behaved because my children, typically, are good in public and when the trip involves the dollar store my chances of well-behaved children is even better because there is always a special treat involved when we go to the dollar store. Thinking in my head, "I got this", was my first mistake. Arrogantly thinking I would have perfectly obedient children was my second.
From the moment we left the house my 4-year-old was non-stop asking for things. From her brothers notebook she found in the truck to a mint to what she could have at the Dollar Store. The more I reminded her to stop asking for things the more she asked. When I left the house, I had looked out the window and saw the sun shining. It never occurred to me to check the temperature because yesterday it was a balmy 50, so sunshine obviously meant today would be balmy too. It wasn't. It was 28 and very windy. As we get to the store and are walking across the parking lot (because "I got this" so I don't need to contain the babies in the double stroller) my sweet girls are in their spring jackets with no hats because remember, in my mind it was supposed to be 50 degrees today, screeching that it's cold. My 2-year-old who has a deep, booming voice is yelling, "Tessie cold, mommy!" over and over and over. As I'm not paying attention to where we are stepping because I'm too busy trying to persuade the onlookers with my radiant smile that "I got this", the 2-year-old and 4-year-old step in a huge puddle of water. When we get inside. I put the 1-year-old in the cart, strap her in and she starts sucking her thumb, holding her taggie and looking like a little angel. This gives me hope.
I had decided that having Tess sit in the basket of the extra small cart and burying her with all my dollar store treasures was a better idea than using the double stroller and trying to fit everything in the undercarriage. As we start walking around the 4-year-old proceeds to touch everything pink and ask if we can buy it. What the 2-year-old hears when I say no is yes so she stands up and tries to put said items in the cart. By aisle two the amount of times I had said "sit down" and "stop asking me to buy things" was discouraging. When we got to the toiletries section I stocked up on toothpaste and toothbrushes as I always do and then fixated on a shampoo that caught my eye. I never buy shampoo for myself at the dollar store because one of the things I like to treat myself to is really good shampoo. This one though, looked salon quality and said it was comparable to Paul Mitchell's tea tree shampoo. Even though I knew this was a gimmick to get me to buy it and even though I knew that it would likely leak everywhere because the cap did not close securely I still convinced myself it was a good idea to put it in the cart...with my 2-year-old...who was having obedience issues. When I came out of my daydream of having found salon quality shampoo at the DOLLAR STORE, I realized that the whole time my 4-year-old had been rearranging the nail polish display WHILE the girl working there was actually stocking nail polish. I didn't just get a look. I got a dirty look.
I knew at that point I should probably just cut my trip short but I managed to convince myself that this wasn't going as badly as I thought and that "I got this". So on we went. The 4-year-old continued to ask me to buy her all the pink things she saw...and a couple purple ones too, the 2 year-old continued to stand up, which at this point was a big deal because each time she stood up all the items I was placing on her was falling under her and when she'd sit back down she would sit on all the stuff....like bottles of shampoo. The next thing I know I have a 2-year-old who has tea-tree smelling shampoo all over her jeans, hands and just about everything else in the cart. Of course I had thought to bring wet wipes with me but because "I got this", I had decided not to bother because I would only be gone about an hour. I had nothing to wipe this shampoo up with so I had to grab a dish towel (why not a roll of paper towel? I.Do.Not.Know.) and start wiping up the toddler and wiping up the items in the cart. The 4-year-old is not happy because not only does she have to hold the bottle of shampoo for me the rest of the trip, the towel I choose to wipe stuff up with (and now have to buy) was not pink. All the while my angel of a 1-year-old...well she remained angelic, which I am sure is the only reason I got anyone to smile at us at all.
This is when I decided that it was time to head to the cash and go home. As we start unloading the items off of the 2-year-old I noticed my 4-year-old frantically grabbing things from the cart and giving them to the cashier herself. I should have thought something of that but at this point I had no capacity for foresight. I just told myself, "she's such an eager helper". I managed to get through the awkward explanation to the cashier about why I had already used the dish towel I had not yet paid for gracefully and shortly we were on our way back to the truck. The girls did screech the whole walk across the parking lot that it was "too cold mommy" because my prediction of a 50 degree day was still not being realized. It remained 28 degrees. A quick stop to my favorite coffee shop and we were driving home.
On the CD that was playing in the truck the song, "Be Still my Soul" came on. The first line says, "Be still my soul, the Lord is on your side, bear patiently the cross of grief or pain. Leave to thy God to order and provide;" And I began crying. I had gone into this trip thinking "I got this". I had gone into this trip with a sense of pride that my girls would be little angels as we walked around the store. What I should have done before we left, and what I usually do, is pray and ask God to help me. I had forgotten to include God in our day and the results spoke very loudly to me today...even louder than my 2-year-olds booming voice. Whenever we start thinking, "I got this", we need to take a step back and remember that it is only because of God that we can do anything, and ask for His help! While this song was playing God used it to show me that even though this trip didn't go the way I had planned it to go it was okay because he was going to use some of the things that happened to show me what I need to be more diligent about as a mom but still realize that no child is ever going to do everything perfectly. Even though we teach them to obey that doesn't guarantee they will ALWAYS obey. I don't always obey so how can I put the expectation of perfect obedience onto my children? I need to just do my job of "mom" the best way I can with God's help and trust HIM to provide the results. This trip to the store also taught me that I need to be more compassionate to other moms I meet in the store who may be dealing with an unruly child. Instead of assuming she's not doing her job as a mom I need to be giving her a warm smile that sends her the message of , "I understand" and say a silent prayer for her. If the moment allows maybe even offer her a word of encouragement.
Safe at home, tears all dried up and with a refreshed spirit after meeting with God on my ride home, I began to unload the items we had purchased. My once full bottle of tea tree shampoo was now half a bottle and I realized that my "eager" helper was not so much an eager little helper but rather a deceptive little helper as I found a few items that made their way into our home I had not approved of. Oh well, I guess we can always put to use art supplies and coloring books. I realized I had forgotten the two things I actually went to the dollar store for but hey, who needs soap? As I looked around I got a very clear sense that no, I don't "got this" but I do know who does and I am so thankful that HE is always there to "order and provide".