This is what happened. I took my boys (4yo and 1yo) to the supermarket – very brave, I know. 4yo was superb, sitting in the trolley the whole time, rarely saying a word. 1yo was on foot, trotting backwards and forwards pointing his quirky little 1-finger point, waving, talking and charming. I grabbed them hot chicken winglets on the way in, dissapointed when I opened the box to find bright orange crumbed nuggets. Colours, additives, a big experience for any 1yo. Anyway he ate them up and got more and more excited and enthusiastic about running away from me.
I soon had a trolley full of nappy boxes, tinned tomatoes, pasta and seafood, and both boys were out on floor to walk. Payment done, supermarket visit successful! I visited the gourmet green grocer for our healthy whole food and the boys were pretty over it by now, both on foot and exploring in different directions. A lady in queue scoffed and waved her finger at my 4yo, who was walking laps of one aisle, singing to himself, and my 1yo in my arms wiggling and trying to get free. This is what she said:
“I don’t know why you young women don’t use harnesses these days. Back in my day all children were tied to their parents and they stayed with their parents at all times. None of this unruly, wild behaviour you see everywhere now.
She left and the check out assistant told me that the woman was a doctor.
Ok, so there are a million come-backs I’m now coming up with. I wouldn’t have called her an older lady before, but now she has put the idea in my head with all this ‘In my day’ talk. Let’s see, ‘in your day grocery shopping wasn’t so stimulating for children – with bright lights, toys, flashing LCD Screen advertisements, music, trolleys and escalators etc’, and, ‘in your day fresh hot food wasn’t tarnished with additives, colours, flavours like they are now, which we know is directly related to ADHD and behavioral issues,’ and, ‘Really? It’s a normal developmental phase for a 1yo to explore his environment through movement and touching, as you would know’, but I settled with…
“I can tell you where to stick it…”
No just kidding. I brushed her with a random reply, a laugh and with my cheeks a bit rosy, of course – as most of us do.
It’s a default reaction for all of us, when criticised, to start thinking and let the thoughts snowball. I went off to the car with my thoughts running over what she said. My physical reaction was to rummage through bags and grab sweet food to binge on. I felt tempted to snap at my 1yo for continuing to wriggle and scream, resisting that action knowing it was my rattled nerves driving the urge.
Unruly, wild behaviour.
And then I caught myself.
I have been taught how to recognise the ‘indicating’ physical symptoms of emotional issues that needs to be dealt with. I knew, then and there, that I was responding and dealing in the typical way I usually do and there must be something beneath the surface. Blushing and laughing – check. Binge eating sweets – check. Feeling frustrated with kids – check. Stuck in my own head and consumed in thought about all my possible come-backs – check. Grimace on my face – check. In a hurry to escape – check, check. Ok girl, it’s time to break this down.
In spiritual counseling we learn that if something somebody has said gets a reaction from you, it’s because it either:
(A) is something you feel is true and yet you aren’t acknowledging
(B) is something you would probably say or do yourself
So I had my two options to explore. I realised in this case, it was probably a bit of (A) and (B). So then the question – why would I be sensitive to this sort of thing, do I judge other parents and classify their kids as wild or unruly, and look at mine with this judgement, too? Well that’s a hard one – I guess I might in certain circumstances beneath the surface. So then the question – whose standards am I judging myself and others against? Are they my standards or something I was taught? And you probably already know the answer to this – I am judging myself according to high standards carried over from my own childhood experiences. Not necessarily my own personal standards.
After this it’s easy to move forward. I know I’m being hard on myself, and others, because I’m afraid of not being good enough or reaching a standard. That ‘old woman’ showed me what I need to let go of. A lot of the time instances like mine today, which are a really good reason to go and find a friend and have a whine or a vent on Facebook or blog, are the exact opportunities we need to become a happier and peaceful person.
Because we create our realities, and I brought that woman into my life today. Maybe I can wish for her, that one day, she will figure out why she has the need to criticise a younger mum and her beautiful children in the grocery store. But I’m pretty happy with what she has reminded me of today.
If you notice yourself repeatedly re-living incidents like this and having a whine, vent with friends, or you notice yourself often making ‘conversation about another person’ and you want to find peace and love yourself and everyone around you (believe me, it can be done), then you might like this website and everything there is to read.
Because once we deal with underlying emotional insecurities, they are no longer necessary in our lives and incidents like this, and people like this, just dissapear. It might seem more obvious to just ‘get over it and forget it’ – however repeating emotional insecurities can eventually change our physical body and result in ‘diagnosable’ conditions.
Healing and preventing future dis-ease is as simple as listening to your thoughts now.
I’ll leave you with advice by my inner wiser persona, specially given to me for this topic:
We can ask ourselves, “what has been said to us that was so bad? And what was so bad about that?” Then get deep into that feeling of what is so bad, let it be felt, and nurture the inner-child. – Joanna Haley
As in my case, sometimes you just end up laughing! I mean, what is wild and unruly anyway?
“You are enough, and you are loved. You deserve to let this go.” – Joanna Haley
Day by day we aim to repair our bodies and have trust, faith and optimism for the future. You can join me as I walk to wellness in the private facebook group Joanna Haley Homestead (Journey to Wellness)
Joanna Haley, Author