One recent Wednesday was a little/lot exhausting. It involved appointments in insanely-busy, far away hospitals and errand-running with my mother-in-law and such.
And then there was that moment when I had to drive an electric cart through the grocery store.
My mother-in-law had an electric scooter-cart-thingy, but it randomly and suddenly died as soon as we got to the meat section. In that store, the meat section is the farthest possible distance from the entrance where the other electric scooters are kept.
I walked back to the front of the store to get another scooter for her, but the girl who assisted me couldn’t leave her station. She called for help, but none was coming any time soon.
She said I needed to take the electric scooter back to my mother-in-law. This was fine, except I quickly learned you can’t walk those things anywhere. They don’t even work unless someone is sitting on the seat.
A nice safety mechanism, but kind of embarrassing for able-bodied me.
When I picked up the kids from school that afternoon, I told them the story and we all laughed about me scooting through the store. All my kids commented that they had always wanted to ride one of them.
I took the teachable moment to explain that we don’t ride them because that might mean someone who needed one (like their grandmother) wouldn’t even be able to shop that day because none were available.
I reminded my kids how, when they were little, I wouldn’t let them use the multi-kid shopping carts at Target if I only had one child with me. I KNEW how life/sanity-saving those special carts are, and I also knew how
difficult almost-impossible it was to shop when there were none available and I had three small children with me.
I always explained to them that even though those carts were fun, we needed to save them for the families who needed them. Who couldn’t function without them.
And one of my boys, in a moment of mama-heart-swelling-sweetness, looked stricken. His face showed the guilt he felt over only considering his own happiness (back when he was four!) over someone else’s true need.
Cue another teachable moment: “You don’t need to feel guilty! Kids aren’t going to naturally think through things like that. That’s the parent’s job. Mamas are the ones who have to make the un-fun decisions.”
Teachable moment for me, I mean.
Running the dishwasher isn’t fun. Teaching my kids to clean isn’t fun. Scrubbing toilets is about as far as one can possibly get from fun.
But that’s my job. I’m the Mama, and I make the unFun decisions.