How I ended up leaving my grocery cart at the check-out.

It has now been over a week since this particular event happened in my life, and I can tell it without feeling anxiety.

It started when crossing the border took twice as long as I expected, which is normally okay, but this time, I had two hungry (okay three including me) babies waiting for breakfast in the country of our births. It was long, miserable, and full of tears from the two kiddos. When we finally crossed the border and had breakfast, we headed to the grocery store to do our bi-weekly shopping.

Bi-weekly shopping means an hour, at least.  Jack doesn't like the grocery store very much, but if we get one of those carts with the car on the front, we can usually get through without any drama. I looked around and saw one, Jack climbed in, and when I tried to push it, the rear two wheels didn't work. I couldn't see another one, and I decided it would be worth it to lift and push the cart around so that my precious three year old would be happy. Thomas was somewhat content to sit in the kid seat in the front. This was going to be great. Both kids were happy, I was getting everything I needed, and life was good. Then we passed the one hour mark and my two babies (okay again, three) were ready to go. I was carrying Thomas; Jack was helping me push the cart that I still had to lift. Done. We were all done. We walked up to the check-out, and guess what? No regular check-out lines were open. Nope. None. There were self check-out lines, and a 15 items or less line with a few people in it. Since one of my (many) pet-peeves is when people with a cart full of bi-weekly shopping stands in a 15 item or less line. I hesitantly make my way to the self check out, knowing that I was going to have to hold Thomas, enter in all the codes for my produce and bag my own groceries. Does anyone else feel drained just reading that sentence? That is exactly how I felt. I began the chore of emptying my extremely full cart. At this point Jack discovered the bagging area, and thought it would be fun to climb on and help me.

"Unexpected item in bagging area."

"Jack, get down from there, and come help me."

This is when I started to work on the produce. Red peppers, in case you were wondering. I entered the code, the amount of peppers, and put it in my bag. "Place item in bagging area," the check-out voice told me. I had already placed the red pepper in the bag, but the scale in the bagging area did not know that. The voice asked me, in a mocking tone, if I wanted to skip bagging, sure. Skip the bagging.

"Unexpected item in bagging area."

Oh great, now the voice has recognized my red peppers, but I have opted not to bag. I took the red peppers out.

"Item taken from bagging area."

I put them back in.

"Unexpected item in bagging area."

Okay, you have to be kidding me. I look around for some help. I see my three year old looking at the candy, but no store employees.

I lost it.

"This is ridiculous." I have cried, half yelled.

"Jack, let's go. Right now!"

The tears are streaming down my face, and I take Jack, Thomas and head to the exit. As I am leaving, I look back, and there is an employee standing in front of my check out line, looking in my direction with the most curious look.

We went to the car. I cried. I was crying in frustration from the self check-out, and the frustration that I knew that I would have to come back to the store (obviously, not this particular store, I am pretty sure I will never go back there) to do my shopping.

Crazy right? Yes, I would say so. I realize that many of you are uncomfortable, because crazy people make people uncomfortable. As a warning- you aren't going to like this next part very much.

I am now seeing someone about all of my problems. Yes I am. The feelings of isolation both from being a stay at home mom and living in another country where I don't speak the language have all come to a boiling point. I need to talk to someone. I need "tools in my toolbox" so that I know how to deal with all the stresses in my life, and so I don't take them out on other people, or walk away from my life. It is hard. Life is hard, and I am not dealing with it well. If I end up on your door step, you can know that I didn’t use my tools. If I keep blogging, then things are on the up and up.

Don’t think that everything is bad. It isn’t. There are really good days, filled with fun and laughter. There are days that I am happy, and life is good.

I realize that maybe some people think that I need to be medicated and put in a padded room somewhere, and maybe you are right, but I am trying to avoid that, and this is one of the steps I am taking.


Z. Marie said...

How awesome of you to announce you're getting help. I think too often people try to hide such things, and what good does that do anyone? You're definitely not the first Foreign Service spouse I've known who made the decision to reach out.

Anja said...

oohh man, I hate going to the grocery store, why didn't someone open another check out line, my pet peeve! Sorry it turned into such a mess, that's NEVER fun!

Bfiles said...

of course you don't need to be in a padded room! Maybe you will need some medication, but there is nothing wrong w that. You are staying at home w 2 kids, which is isolating in and of itself, and you are doing it in a foreign country where you don't speak the language very well. Give yourself a break! I'm so glad you are getting the help you need. This is a challenging life for anyone, and I think SAHP can really struggle.

PS I'm the daughter of two shrinks and I wish more people were open to seeking therapy- it is tremendously helpful!

big hug.

I'll Take Mine... said...

I feel for you. Staying at home can be very isolating. I have stayed home for nearly 10 years with my kids (in the US, speaking English) and I have had many times when I felt like pulling my hair out. Plus toddlers are not people you can reason with. It is exhausting. You are doing the right thing by talking to someone. I hope you are also getting time away from those little ones. As much as you love them, and we all know you do!!, you need time away to clear your head, to think and to be you, independent of them. Sending hugs and strength and prayers and all that you need to be strong and healthy.
And you are not crazy.

Rebekah said...

I HATE SELF CHECK OUT! I think it's a cop out so stores can pay less employees. I would have TOTALLY left the cart. Along with a big note explaining why and why I'd NEVER shop there again! Okay, I probably wouldn't have left a note, but I would have left the cart. And good for you for going to a counselor.

Jen said...

Don't feel bad about getting help! There are so many stressful aspects of this lifestyle and it doesn't hurt to get a bit of assistance now and again.

Zoe is completely correct, you are not the first and you won't be the last. Sending good thoughts your way!

Just US said...

Self check-outs are technology gone wrong :) They are so dang frustrating!

Seeing someone is awesome! You will feel so much better and it is so comforting to know how to use the tools you need. Keep it up! It was one of the best decisions I made :)

Emily said...

Em, good for you to recognize it was time to seek help. Your boys need a happy Mommy to raise them. Life is really rough...someone just mentioned there is no reasoning with toddlers. I totally agree! Sometimes I let mine get what he wants because I just don't feel like fighting. I feel like I have to choose my battles every day with him.
I've noticed a lot of changes in myself since I've been home with my boys the last couple of months.
Hey, I know it can be really tough to talk sometimes when kids are constantly nipping at your heels, but I still want to catch up with you! I know that little card you sent is around somewhere, but maybe it'd be easier if you called me sometime?

Bryn said...

Been there, done that!! You are an incredible mom and you'll make it through this rough patch! Just keep breathing.

Lisonbee said...

awwwww.............I would have left Jack! :o) Sometimes just the wind blowing wrong triggers a break down for me, yours was totally valid!

Jessica said...

There is absolutely no shame in that at all.

Grocery shopping is undoubtedly one of the most stressful regular chores we have to do. We don't need that one last thing to go wrong and it always does. You are wonderful! Take it one day at a time, or if thats too long...one hour at a time. I have felt that "barely hanging on" feeling many times.

Brooke S. said...

You sweet girl. Life abroad isn't easy and with kids I imagine things are only compounded! Just know that people out here care about you and are rooting for you! Shoot me an email if you ever need to vent or just not feel so alone :)

Donna said...

HATE self checkout, and yet I keep getting sucked into it. I always think it will be faster, but I always end up arguing with that computer voice: "I already put it in the bagging area! Leave me alone." Probably I look like a loon.

Jill said...

Oh what a stressful, stressful day. I agree with the sentiments from everyone else... getting help is the best thing you could do - and admit! I've used it in the past and am so glad I did!