You Need to Hear This :: You’re Doing a Great Job


“Jeez, hasn’t she ever heard of Shipt?”

I looked down, stung, as my four-year-old wailed about not getting the toy she wanted. My two-year-old screamed because her older sister kicked her. Then the baby, who had ripped open a box of mini muffins, chucked one of said muffins, narrowly missing the older lady behind us in line (who was clearly not amused).

The person who uttered the sentence suggesting I should consider a grocery delivery service was a man in his mid-40’s, in front of us in the checkout line at Target.

We Can Do This, Right?

Of course, taking all three of my girls to the store wasn’t ideal. But we were clear out of survival tools like milk and cereal bars, as well as Advil for me. I honestly couldn’t wait two hours for those items to be delivered to my house. (And, yes, I have a Shipt membership). Not to mention, it was a Saturday afternoon, and we had been cooped up in the house for hours. I needed fresh air. I needed to get out. And the girls did, too. So I gave myself a pep talk and loaded everyone into the minivan, confident that we could do this.

For the most part, it was a successful trip. They were a little fussy, sure. They whined when they had to sit in a regular cart (all the race car carts were taken), and they pointed at a billion toys they wanted. My kids knocked down merchandise and yelled that they wanted to walk (NOT happening). BUT . . . they also smiled at the Target dog, talked about pretty things they saw, and asked questions about foods they didn’t recognize.

Just One More Lap

Perhaps I was a little ambitious by extending the trip a little longer, simply because I selfishly didn’t want to go home yet. So I tried to do another lap, and that was the beginning of the downfall.

By the time we arrived in the checkout line, I knew this was a bad idea. I should have used my Shipt membership. I felt totally incapable of taking my three girls under age five to Target on a Saturday. I felt like a failure.

Then, as if to pour salt in an open wound, the guy in front of us in line noticed my situation. He also apparently determined I should have stayed home, as he told the checkout girl.

At that point, I gave up trying to calm my kids down. I stopped pleading with my older two to stop crying. I ignored the baby, who was alternating between stuffing muffins in her mouth and throwing them across the store. I looked away from my fellow shoppers who were shooting concerned, yet irritated, glances in my direction.

“Fine,” I thought. “I give up.”

Thankfully the other guy had retrieved his items and left by this point. As I approached the cashier and watched her ring up my Advil, milk, cereal bars, and an empty muffin box, I actually received a compliment. Normally I hear things like, “Wow, you’ve got your hands full!” Thank you, yes, I do.

You Got This

This time, though, the cashier looked at me and said, “Mama, you need to hear this. You’re doing a great job.”

That was it. Nothing earth-shattering. Just a simple, “Good job, girl. You got this.”

I gave her a half-smile and took my receipt. The girls had calmed down a little at this point.

Sometimes we just need a little pick-me-up, right? We need someone–ANYONE–to tell us that even though we feel like we’re failing, that we’re doing fine. Raising little kids is tough, and everyone needs a pat on the back every once in awhile.

So, if you see me in Target with three crazy kids and I look like I’m at the end of the rope, give me a high five. Or some chocolate. And I promise, I’ll do the same for you.

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A North Carolina native, Jennifer has called Colorado Springs, CO, Lynchburg, VA, New Orleans, LA, and Charleston, SC home since graduating from Elon University in 2003. She has spent time as a journalist, event planner, and sports information director. Now, the Hoover resident is a full-time sales & marketing professional for an outdoor furniture company and an independent rep for Zyia Active. Of all the hats Jennifer wears, her most important roles are as a wife, mother, daughter, and sister. She has been married to her husband Mike since 2011, and together they have three daughters ages 5, 4 and 2, and a sweet eight-year-old beagle, Cooper.