I'm not a confrontational person at all, unless it has to do with my kids ... or Husker football. But aside from that, I'm a people-pleaser, consider myself fairly friendly and do my best not to make enemies. However, last week there were two places that I seemed to be the target of other moms' irritation, once I got behind the wheel of my vehicle and also at the big box grocery store. I don't know what it was, maybe I had a bullseye drawn on my forehead, but just the sight of my truck or the movement of my grocery cart, seemed to annoy some other moms.
It started in the dropoff lane at school earlier in the week. Usually, the line seems to flow pretty smoothly, with parents pulling over, giving quick hugs goodbye and out the door the kid goes. Never lasts more than a few seconds and parents are respectful of other parents, not dilly dallying in line, following the unwritten rules of school drop off.
However, a mom pulled in front of me in the dropoff lane and put it in park, trapping me and several other parents behind her. Her child then proceeded to get out, but instead of trotting off to a fun-filled day of education, they decided to open all the doors of the vehicle, change jackets a couple times, rearrange their backpack, and then have a sit down chat with mom about our nation's economy (I'm just guessing by the amount of time they spent chatting).
The unfortunate part for me was, my big fat truck was blocking the view of the moms behind me, so they were mad at me, thinking I was the one parked and causing the backup. I could see them in my rear view mirror, starting to squirm, wondering why I wouldn't move.
I desperately wanted to yell out the window, "IT'S NOT MY FAULT. It's the lady in front of me!" But all I could do was watch the minutes fly by on my dashboard clock and work to calm my antsy kids who were freaking that they were gonna be late to school. So without even trying, I managed to irritate all the moms behind me, as well as the mom parked in front of me when I felt I had no other option but to honk at her, all before 7:45 in the morning. That wasn't how I planned to start my day.
Then a few days later, I was at the big box grocery store ... again, a place that I seem to end up every other day for reasons unbeknownst to me. I always think I've bought everything we'll need for two weeks, but every week I'm wrong and back I go. I've learned over the years to find any way I can to go grocery store alone, kid-free and never ever, if I can help it, go between the hours of 3:30 and 6 p.m., or on Saturday afternoons. Well, the only time I could go last Thursday was right after school. I only had my 4-year-old with me, so I wasn't too worried about the trip. However, as usual after school, the store was packed and every checkout line was stacked two or three carts deep.
As I was pushing along, scanning the length of the checkout area, hoping to find the shortest line, and making sure my 4-year-old held onto the side of the cart, I caught a glimpse of someone beside me.
I glanced over and there was a mom with two little kids pushing her cart right alongside of me, like a horse race, giving me the evil eye as she also scanned for the shortest line. Apparently I was in a race that I didn't sign up for.
I gave the woman a confused look and was thinking, "Are you serious? You're racing me for the shortest checkout line?" After she gave me the third and final "I'm gonna beat you" stare, I rolled my eyes, stopped my cart and said under my breath, "Knock yourself out, lady." Little did she know that I would have never purposely raced anyone and would have gladly let a mom with two little ones and a full cart go first.
However, for some reason, I was her target that day and the fight was on in her mind. I was just an innocent participant.
I left the store shaking my head, wondering why I kept falling into these situations where I unintentionally ticked off these moms, then headed off to pick up my middle daughter from her after-school activity. If I thought the grocery cart race was enough for the day, I was wrong.
As I drove in front of the school, I saw one parking space left in the front. I was about to approach the open spot when another mom with a truck full of kids, coming the opposite direction, looked me dead in the eye and then whipped a totally illegal U-turn in the middle of the street, right in front of my bumper, stealing MY spot right out from underneath me!
Seriously?! What the heck was happening here? Last time I checked, the Christmas shopping craziness is still pretty far off, but I was certainly feeling that "me-first" or "it's all about me and my kids" attitude really starting to rear its ugly head.
Maybe the cooler temperatures, the longer dark hours -- I don't know, but for some crazy reason, I seemed to be the target for some other mom's frustrations.
So I guess I apologize for even driving and attempting to drop off my kids or -- heaven forbid -- park in the last open stall. And, I'm so sorry for needing groceries and actually going to the store to buy them.
I'll work on staying out of everyone's way and maybe this week will go a little better.