Something Happened in the Supermarket Yesterday

Picture from another Friday morning shop last year.

Something happened in the supermarket yesterday.

I’d popped in after Monty and Betsy’s dance class to fill our empty fridge. It’s one of those slightly ill-advised times to be shopping; the children are tired after a long dance session and the clock is ticking ever closer to lunchtime. Yet we needed food if lunch was to be served so on we went.

Monty decided we should be buying spinach halfway down the cheese aisle so around we turned and to the vegetable aisle we returned. Then, in the moment that he spotted the spinach and raced forward to grab it, his boot caught on the floor tile and he pitch forward into the barrier on the corner of the stand.

I don’t need to tell you how he sobbed and begged to go to bed for you to imagine the scene. Quickly staff were around us asking if we needed first aid, how he fell and making him howl all the louder.

But this isn’t what happened in the supermarket yesterday. No, this is what came first.

When the sobbing was done, the forms were filled and the staff were gone, we still needed our spinach. We held hands, we chose spinach, we had a quiet chat about how he was feeling. And while this happened a lady shopping nearby approached us.

This isn’t anything out of the ordinary; people regularly stop to chat to the children and tell me how lovely they are or how much they love their clothes. But today it was me who was under the gaze of a fellow shopper.

She stopped me and told me how much she admired the way I spoke to my children. How she found it so rare that someone was treating their distressed child with respect and kindness that she felt the need to comment. “You’re doing a good job with them.” she said.

I blushed my way through a thank you and another person added their two pence worth; affirming these words. And on our way we went, filled up with the kindness in what had been said.

But this isn’t the point of my story.

As I went on with my shopping, bundled the children under their blankets in the car and drove home those words kept turning over in my head. It took me a while to pinpoint what it was that had me thinking about it.

Gradually it dawned on me that this was possibly the first time someone had stopped me to give me specific feedback on how I care for my children. Sure, I get complimented on their behaviour or appearance a good deal but I can’t remember another time someone was telling me that how I act was important.

That small act of noticing and caring enough to tell me about it was golden. And I’m telling you about it because wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all did it? Maybe even just once, took a moment to tell someone else they are doing a good job and that you appreciate it.

Something happened in the supermarket yesterday and I’m passing it on with love.

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  • Reply annie January 26, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Thats a lovely story, sometimes the world surprises us and it is wonderful when that happens. – Annie

  • Reply Super Kat (@thatkat) January 26, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Latest at Housewife: Something Happened in the Supermarket Yesterday…

  • Reply Rebekka McCarthy January 26, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    How lovely to read this. Makes me believe in life and people and goodness even more. So very important to appreciate and share and make the world a more thoughtful and humble place xx

  • Reply Tasha Goddard January 26, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Lovely. I remember an elderly lady stopping me as we got off the bus after a long journey, where Rosemary was sitting at the back (because she ran off when we got on!) while I sat at the front with baby Eleanor. I chatted on and off to Rosemary the whole journey and she sang and chatted and looked out the window. Rosemary was far from quiet, but she was fine and not shouting or running about or anything. When the lady stopped me and said ‘Excuse me…’ I honestly thought she was going to complain about Rosemary sitting away from me or being too noisy. Instead she said, ‘What a wonderful mum you are. It’s been a pleasure to share this journey with you and y our daughters.’ Oh gosh. I shed a few tears.

    It is nice when that happens, for sure.

  • Reply Pickled Weasel January 26, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    My mum has done that before, she saw a mum with a toddler who was having a tantrum in the middle of Wilkos. The little girl was lying on the floor screaming and attracting disapproving looks from other shoppers. The mum managed it all very calmly, and when it was over my mum patted her on the shoulder and said ‘Well done’.
    I’ve been on the other end as well – I was travelling from Manchester to London on a train full of business people with my 3 month old baby who wouldn’t go to sleep in my arms. After 30 minutes of intermittent howling I ended up putting the pram up singlehandedly in the middle of the carriage and rocking him to sleep. Feeling very harrassed I found a space at the end of the carriage where I could sit and park the pram. A chap in his late 50’s in a very nice suit smiled at me and said ‘You did a good job there.’ I nearly cried :)

  • Reply Eve January 26, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Kat, yet again another fabulous and moving post. I’m so sorry that poor Monty had a nasty accident but so pleased that such a lovely thing came from it. What a difference people can make in the world when they take the time to stop & express such a generous (and true) sentiment. No surprises to us fans that you handeled it with characteristic kindness & wisdom. I’m so glad you received some well deserved praise because you are an inspiring mother. What a gush fest! I shall try and follow this kind lady’s example and make a point of telling other parent’s what a great job I think they are doing and pass on the love.

  • Reply @EveAMG January 26, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    “@thatkat: Latest at Housewife: Something Happened in the Supermarket Yesterday….” my friend Kat’s post is inspiring.

  • Reply Lianne January 27, 2013 at 8:46 am

    oh Monty, oh Kat….i’m reading this early Sunday morning with a cup of tea, Pippa & Ike made B breakfast in bed so are upstairs…sad but oh so beautiful and heart warming story. Thanks for sharing! Happy Sunday! XLianne

  • Reply @ThePippaIkeShow January 27, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Read Kat’s wonderful heartwarming story, be kind to each other! via @thatkat

  • Reply Nip it in the bud January 27, 2013 at 11:35 am

    what a lovely read this is. I think we forget to pat ourselves on the back sometimes so it’s wonderful when a stranger affirms our efforts. We took our 1 year old out in the evening yesterday for the first time past bedtime and lots of people commented on what a calm and happy boy he was. When an elderly gentleman asked ‘Is he always like that or just on his best behaviour tonight?’ and I answered ‘yes, he’s a contented soul’, the gentleman added ”well then you’d better get on with making another one – the world needs more people like him”. The blush in my cheeks matched the glow in my heart when I looked at my sweet boy and allowed myself to think ”yep, we’re doing a good job” :o)

  • Reply bristolparentingcafe January 27, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    I love the writing in this post Kat. Sometimes it’s the smallest spontaneous gifts from strangers that really make us stop and think and realise that ‘WE’RE DOING OK!’

  • Reply Kelly January 28, 2013 at 11:41 am

    I love that this person took the time to say well done, and I love even more that you realised that the praise is directed at you.

    The comments on this post are lovely too, and when people have commented on how I have been with my children in the past I have usually been struck by the difference between what I think everyone else around is thinking (bad mother why is her child screaming like that) to what is actually said ‘you handled her crying so calmly and wonderfully’.

    We are our own harshest critics most of the time so it is lovely when someone points out what a good job we are doing.

  • Reply Carie January 29, 2013 at 8:10 am

    How lovely, not that Monty got a ding, but that someone took the trouble to praise you. It’s clearly well deserved but our inner monologue is frequently more critical than complimentary so it’s nice to have the good pointed out.

  • Reply madebymum January 29, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    How lovely to have some praise. We all need it, not just children!

  • Reply @CelebrateCanvas January 30, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Something Happened in the Supermarket Yesterday | Housewife Confidential via @thatkat

  • Reply Mariale February 3, 2013 at 12:55 am

    Gorgeous!! It is really great to receive compliments and more mums who love and care 24/7. Thank you for your words ;)

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