Thursday, January 26, 2012

Old Ladies In Grocery Stores

I read this post by a close friend the other day, and I love it.

48 comments :

  1. I was one of the ones who really enjoyed the first viral article :). I still relate to it more than the one by your friend, but it just proves to me that there is no one right way to do the job of mothering and at the end of the day we all have the common thread of loving our children, no matter how we may look at it! And the old ladies in the grocery stores are still cute to me, even though I often count down the hours til bedtime! :)

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  3. I read both articles and I agree with both of them. I remember crying at church once when an older lady told me to " enjoy this time because it would be the best time in my life". I went home, called my mom, and she said something I'll never forget..." Every stage in life is the best time of your life, even when your house is empty and you are older". She said " I raised nine children for 38 years of my life and now that you are all gone I am still loving my life and this different phase I am in now." That conversation brings me hope.

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  4. I am the old lady in the grocery store. I could have written my name on the comment written above by Angeleah. It is so true. Every stage can be the best stage. Mostly we trade physical tiredness for mental and emotional tiredness, but, they are all hard. And they can all be good.

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  5. School is delayed today and all are asleep,I am up and surfing the blogs, after reading these posts I know just what I want to do. I'm going back into my bed where my 5 year old is sleeping after wetting his bed and I'm going to hold him and listen to his breating and thank God for this moment, because in a few hours I will be washing sheets making breakfast and starting another day. Thank you for the reminder to enjoy every moment.

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  6. yes, yes, a million times yes!

    (read your sheet post and it made me cry. thanks!)

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  7. Read the first article. Read the article you and she mentioned. She said it beautifully. I have two, now 18 and 22, and yes, I am now the one telling all my friends at the ripe old age of 43...enjoy them, it goes by all too quickly! I am not the old grocery store/church lady, just a mom who's been there, been in their shoes (yes, with a screaming child throwing a tantrum in Target, while the other's gone missing). I always found it quite reassuring when "older" woman (moms) would talk with me...it made me realize, I could do it too!
    Oh, and as for that mountain, I am praying I never reach the top with my kids...they will always need me for something (I need my parents to this day)...no, the top is not something I hope to reach anytime soon...struggles, challenges and ALL!!!

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  8. i am the only one i know who didn't love that first viral article! i should have known that we would be of like mind since i agree with so much of what you say. i, too appreciate the ladies who stop and remind me since I need the reminders, especially on the challenging days. Thanks, Sarah!

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  9. I may be in the minority, but I do relate to the viral article from Huffington more than your friends take on motherhood. For me parenting is a huge challenge and not always that much fun. I wouldn't trade it for anything, but there are time I'd like to run off with the circus! lol

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  10. Sarah I totally agree with you. The viral article was unsettling to me. That attitude sounded exhausting to me. But I also recognize that all of her children are young and so I validate her feelings. One day when her older kids are slipping away like ours I think she'll see it more clearly. I didn't when my first few were younger.

    And I love and want to be one of those little old ladies in the grocery store.

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  11. Love your friend's post, but I still give two thumbs up to the Huff post because on "those" days, sometimes I think *what is wrong with me* that I'm not loving every single second of this? I love the sweet old ladies in the grocery stores too, but sometimes I think they forget. About the exhaustion, the worry, the frustration, the dropping off an picking up, the sleep deprivation, the throwing up, the laundry, the job of feeding and clothing and grocery shopping for 7. I know when my mom (she has 7 kids) often comments when she's watching 3 grandchildren for more than 2 days: WOW. I forget how much this takes. It doesn't mean she doesn't love them to pieces and that motherhood isn't sacred, it just means that the hardest things bring the greatest rewards. And they are worth every second, good or bad.

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  12. I didn't like the Huffington Post article either...

    To every season in life we should be glad :o)

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  13. Thank you so much for this post. Many of my friends linked to the other article (carpe diem) and I was starting to feel strange for not enjoying it. It's not that I didn't understand her point, but I developed that icky feeling in my gut (the one you get when you read or hear something that just does not sit right with you). And then I just read your sheet post (HELLO TEARS!) and your friend's post and I feel a million times better. So, thank you for that. Children are meant to be embraced, enjoyed, appreciated - and yes, motherhood is often hard. But who needs reminding of that? Thank you again for reminding me of the more important parts of my job.

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  14. Sarah,
    Your blog is a breath of fresh air to me. One of the few blogs that celebrates motherhood. There are lots of blogs about motherhood, but few celebrate it the way you do. I know that it's not easy and I don't think you're pretending it is, but you're not constantly whining about how hard it is. I appreciate that.

    I have four kids...three at home this year. It IS hard, but you know what? The more I tell myself that it's hard and countdown to bedtime, the harder it is. I allow myself to say it's hard at times, but I challenge myself more now to find the beauty in the simple days with my kids.

    My oldest is almost 10 and he has passed the halfway point of being a kid at home...that thought saddens me. Did I carpe diem? I sure hope so. I love when my kids go to bed just as much as every other mom, but I also love the quiet afternoons having blanket picnics on the family room floor because it's too cold outside. I think we should whine less and celebrate more and we'd all be a lot happier.

    Lastly, I love the old ladies at the store and I don't think they've forgotten. Also, I appreciate them saying "enjoy this stage" because it's sure a lot nicer than the other comment I get which is "You sure have your hands full" (i.e. your kids are terrors).

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  15. I've turned to your blog over the past few years for advice on potty training, breast feeding, for encouragement and most offen reassurance that you've made it through with five kids and a smile; I can make it through with two kids! But let me tell you, mine are still young and man, I'm Sooo tired some days. The article from Momestery/huff post is just a tired mama being honest. She is clearly a loving mom who is trying to find some humor and common threads in motherhood. I'm a bit surprised you'd publicly say it doesn't sit right with you. One of her other entries talks about being kind and supportive of other moms, since we all have a lot on our plates.

    In my opinion, you can love your kids to the moon and back and acknowledge that not every moment is perfect and still love life. I think you have the benefit of not being physically exhausted from the baby and toddler stage.

    I say bring on the grocery store ladies but I certainly understood where the other blogger was coming from. Honesty is refreshing.

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  16. The first article didn't set well with me either, and I kept wondering what was wrong with me when all my friends were clearly loving it? I'm glad to know I'm not the only one!

    Parenting is a JOY and a privilege and yes, it's difficult at times (hello 18 month old who just learned to climb onto the top bunk!) but I want to one day be able to look back and say I didn't just "survive the climb" but I embraced my role as mother and nurturer.

    Her article reminded me of my favorite article of yours: http://www.memoriesoncloverlane.com/2009/04/tiring-talk.html

    Thanks for your encouragement, Sarah!

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  17. I am loving that there are opinions from both sides in your comments. I really liked the first article because, like one reader above, I walk around every single day feeling like there is something terribly wrong with me. I do not love every second off parenting. I often count down the minutes until bedtime. I usually feel as if I am failing because I refuse to accept the modern way of parenting with constant activities, nonstop kid music in the car, and scheduled play dates. At the same time, for readers thinking "how could she possibly think that way about her children"....I LOVE being a mom and wouldn't change a thing. I KNOW I am doing a great job. I UNDERSTAND that there will come a day when I miss the constant noise and hustle of all these kids. Then again, my oldest starts kindergarten in the fall and I am thrilled for him and know for a fact that I will not shed a single tear. I am not sad for myself that they are aging, but happy for them that they are starting their journeys for themselves. He is so excited to go and I will not turn that into a sadness for myself. I love the grocery store ladies just the same and appreciate the reminders they give me. Proof that there is more that one way to be an awesome parent is priceless and something that will make my day a little brighter today :)

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  18. I feel like it is a "both, and" situation too. I take the old ladies in the store to heart and at times it hits me so hard that I break down weeping in the car afterwards, humbled and encouraged to enjoy more of the "moments". But much of the time it is nitty gritty, hard work that doesn't feel terribly enjoyable on the surface, but is gratifying and satisfying on a deeper level, if you just look closely. What you are doing as a mother is meaningful whether it feels like it or not at any given moment.

    It is really a difference of perspective, hearing the women who have passed through this stage and looking back. They forget the difficulties and remember the sweetness, wishing they had treasured more of the preciousness at the time. And so I take it to heart, don't get upset about it, and know that one day I will probably look back and say the same thing to some young mom in the store.

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  19. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Because of this, I was able to figure out A, why I "amened" to the first article and B, why my reaction didn't sit well for the past few weeks since I read the original article.
    I just HAD to blog about it this morning as my thoughts were FRESH!

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  20. So good to know I wasn't the only mom in the world for whom that other "viral" article didn't sit well. I understood the point she was trying to make....but didn't like the way she made it, I guess! I am not annoyed by the "ladies"....because they are right.

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  21. Oh, I am SO glad I'm not the only one that did not like that first article. It made me itchy even reading it.

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  22. Thank you! The first article left me with an uncomfortable feeling as well, and your friend articulated so well, why. As she said, those feelings are alll real, but not the ones I want validated!

    The emphasis should be on the gift of mothering- even though it is hard. We don't need to be reminded that parenting is hard, anything worth doing is hard. This gig is fleeting- we need to embrace all of it.


    I think society too often, in an attempt to reassure mothers that their work has value, encourages the whining and bemoaning of the "hard", instead of accepting that everyone's job is hard. Whether it is out of the home or in the home, work is work, and parenting is definitely work. It just happens to be the one with the best benefits! Thank you for sharing this link!

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  23. Once again...we are SUCH kindred spirits. I distinctly remember a phone call with my mom after having my first.

    Before...with the after-work crowd...the grocery store had been such a chore.

    But shopping in the morning...with sweet old ladies slowing down the pace of life and stopping me on every aisle to ooo and aah over my sweet baby. I was SO happy. I called my mom and said. Already this baby has changed my life. I love morning grocery shopping!!!

    I would actually plan to go on Wednesdays...senior day...because those sweet seniors touched my heart so much!

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  24. Honestly, I think the viral post appeals a lot more to moms who have children that are all still under 10. Those of us who have older kids (as well as, toddlers and babies, too!) have begun to see "the other side", and are more able to understand where these old ladies are coming from.
    It's an interesting perspective to still be struggling with the 2 yr old temper tantrums and midnight feedings, but also be able to see that one of those "babies" is preparing to set out on his own life in 18 months.
    Yes, when you're in the pits of dealing with "only littles" it seems like you're slogging through and that you'll never be able to climb out; I distinctly remember that when my oldest three kids were all 5 and under. Now, that I have (almost!) 7 kids ranging in age from 16.5 yrs to soon-to-be-born, it's much easier for me to see how those seemingly-endless and pointless "seasons" are yielding much fruit now and that they really DID fly by! It makes is so much easier for me to enjoy even the hard moments with the littles right now.
    I really related much better to this post written by Simcha Fisher: http://simchafisher.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/to-the-mother-with-only-one-child/

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  26. I agreed with the original post, just like I agree with nearly every word you write here at Clover Lane. Sometimes it's the day you're having and how you laugh and vent and inwardly roll your eyes ... And luckily for those days, it's your Mother's heart that pulls you through. This is one more reason that the blogosphere is so special. A multitude of opinions and viewpoints! Sometimes you look for the validation. Other days you seek a NEW way of looking at something. Cheers! xo

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  27. I read the first article when it was making the rounds a few weeks ago and began reading her blog daily. I find that I can relate to her somewhat about feeling that life is at times overwhelming. They way she talks about losing perspective and falling apart is something I struggle with. But I also find the blog to be very depressing and sad. After I finish I always come right here to Clover Lane because the posts on here lift my spirits out of the funk that start settling in.

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  28. Thank you! I understood the gist of the HuffPo article, but it didn't set well. I am sooo thankful I took the advice of the older ladies who admonished me to "hold those babies". The advice I got from young mothers was to "put that baby in his seat so you can get something done." Perhaps those silly young mothers will grow into wise old grandmothers. But one blessing I've had from encounters with older ladies is seeing them transported to the time in their life they wish they could have again, to hold their little ones. Me and my brood became the link for those dear ladies to enjoy their little ones again and a link for me to see what's to come. It is in essence the circle of life all in one brief encounter at the grocery store. And oh how wonderful to have a chance to bless that lady's heart for just a few moments rather than mentally scorn her for reminiscing. I think the HuffPo author really missed the mark...that it's not all about her.

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  29. THANK you for sharing this. I loved what she had to say!

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  30. Loved this, it expressed my feelings much more than the HuffPo author did. Yes parenting is difficult and hard. I say it's the hardest joy I've ever earned, but it's the joyful moments that get us through the long journey (although my oldest is turning 13 soon, it's not all that long!)

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  31. I feel like I could relate more to the Huffington article as a younger mom. I think as I press forward into the "older mom" category, not that I've arrived by any sense of the imagination, but I see myself as not that far away in years from the little old lady at the grocery store. And I am able to cherish moments more in the midst of chaos than I could before.

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  32. Thank you, Sarah, for sending your many sweet and gracious readers in my direction!

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  33. I adore your writing and I loved the huffpo piece, your friends blog and the sheets post you wrote a while back. Having said that, now I'm going to have to nitpick for just a minute... I never seem to run into the same sweet old ladies as you. The old ladies that ever seem talk to me in the grocery store either hunted me down while I was hugely pregnant and hauling my squirmy toddler through the grocery store parking lot in January in order to scold me for not putting him in a hat(Because he HATED hats and it would be the worst 30 seconds of your life trying to make that kid wear a hat for the brief trek from the car to the grocery store door, that's why!) , pick at me for not making him keep his shoes on or the tell me (now that I am no longer hugely pregnant but a mother of two wild boys 20 months apart) that I sure have my "Hands Full" (I reply "Not as full as my heart" but sometimes I have to say it through gritted teeth. ). I much prefer the old ladies who smile and wave as we roll by in the red wagon or the ones that tell me about their little boys. Or the ones that said "My children were close in age too. It was hard at first but totally worth it."

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  34. Thanks I needed this reminder. Personally, I love all the old ladies for reminding me to enjoy every moment--it helps me keep things in perspective.

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  35. I don't think that the original viral post was at all trying to paint a bad picture of parenting. It's something we can all relate to as we are all not perfect and have our moments as mothers where we do look forward to naps or bedtime to get a break, and I don't necessarily think that is a bad thing. She also mentions how you also have those moments of pure gratefulness that while children may be go crazy while at the grocery store you are still able to provide for them and what a wonderful feeling that is. Also to be surrounded by love all the time. Sometimes I think blogs (mine included) love to paint a perfect picture of family life. To be honest, life isn't always like that. We have our moments and that's what they are moments, and there is nothing wrong with that. Just because we get frustrated or countdown to bedtime some days, doesn't mean we don't love our children. Comparing parenting to Mt. Everest is not a bad thing. Being a parent is the hardest job we can take on and it throws us many challenges. It can be tough at times too. But like climbing Mt. Everest it can be the most rewarding thing we experience. There is nothing wrong with having our moments as mothers and I think that is what she was trying to express rather than people always saying how wonderful things are, no one, no family on earth is perfect and some of us need to stop pretending that we are.

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  36. I loved this post... and I love the sweet old ladies, too. They so often make my day and help me feel confident in the path I have chosen as a mother.

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  37. I completely second kara_a_cullen's comment. I love your blog, Sarah; I have to say it is my favorite. I loved the article in the Huffington Post, too, because even though I really do cherish these years, they can be trying. I'll still be that old lady someday, and I don't think Glennon Melton meant any disdain toward them.

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  38. I couldn't agree more! When I read the first viral article I completely disagreed with it. I am a mom of 3 very young kids/babies and I just didn't like what that author had to say. I couldn't figure out why everyone else seemed to love it, lol! Love your friend's post. Love it!

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  39. Wow, Sarah--I wrote about that article today! I guess at least the author got a lot of us to thinking, huh? I appreciate what she was trying to say, I think, and yet it didn't quite sit well with me, either. I'll go read your friend's post! :)

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  40. I very much resonated with the Huffington Post article. I'd love for her to do a follow-up, addressing some of the criticisms she's received. I also appreciate your perspective, and the comments left here. May each Mom be encouraged by the rest of us in the same boat.

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  41. Meanwhile, heard nothing of the huf post, so thanks for sharing it. I absolutely love the old ladies at church! Not because I need the reminder, because honestly I say at least three times a week, I cannot believe how quickly the time is flying by... but because I love how they remember so fondly when their children were little and how much that is held dear in their hearts. Sure motherhood is hard, and I have cried rivers about if I am failing, will I ever get through postpartum, etc... but I just never got annoyed with others that remember motherhood as so much more (than hard!) and decide to share their wisdom me.

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  42. Your blog is one of my all time favorites, and I am so glad I stopped by to see this post.

    I can't tell you the number of friends of mine that LOVED the Carpe Diem post. I, on the other hand, found it to be incredibly sad.

    I too LOVE, LOVE, LOVE those sweet grandmothers. Partly because I know I'll blink a few times, and be one of those little old ladies myself. And that will mean my precious babies will be parents themselves...

    It just goes by so fast, and we only get ONE SHOT at this. Better enjoy it while we can.

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  43. I'm also in the BOTH camp. I can see both points of view and actually, I don't think they're necessarily opposites. In the HuffPo article, she talks at the end about the Caicos moments, the moments that take your breath away. And somehow to me it's not totally honest to pretend away the exhaustion and the days that I count the minutes till bedtime. On the other hand, I do love grocery store ladies. I don't get annoyed by them and am happy for the perspective reminders, which is also why I return here again and again. I need both. I need to know that I'm not alone when I feel exhausted and like I'm drowning in motherhood, and I also need to be reminded to lift my head up and see the big picture. BOTH.

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  44. Thanks for sharing this! I think us mothers are not one type or another type. I think us mothers can hold both the "Don't Carpe Diem" feelings and the "Sands Through the Hourglass" feelings in our hearts. I know I am straddling the long days phase of motherhood (my youngest is in preschool) with the "time moves so fast" phase with my school-aged kids.

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  45. Geez, I'm glad I'm not the only one that didn't feel right with that "don't carpe diem" article.

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  46. I've been thinking about the differences between these articles for 24 hours now. I believe it comes down to personal experience.
    For instance, my married life has had relationship difficulties over the years. One of my sisters has no concept of the sadness and anger I have gone through because her marriage doesn't have the personal problems mine has had. She can't change her understanding, I can't change my experience.
    All of us have our own experiences and that is why we need everybody in this world. We can't do without one of us. We all make the world go around for someone!

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  47. I loved the articles, all THREE of them (that includes yours). I also feel buoyed up & supported by the sweet strangers who stop to comment. I love it! (I've had mean comments from "old ladies" about being in a hurry to have all my kids, etc., so I really appreciate the kind validating words!)

    But I relate so much to the Huffington post article. I feel super wiped out & exhausted most days. I love her juxtaposition of chronos & kairos time. It was lovely. My life is more wonderful than I ever imagined, but sometimes in chronos time I feel like running screaming down the street. But those serendipitous kairos moments are beautiful little gifts.

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  48. Thank you for posting this. I love rereading your crazy sheet post and your friend's. I too read that other article about a week ago and it did not sit well with me either. I am a momma to littles right now 1 and 3 and I really don't want them to grow up. That doesn't mean that every day is perfect. There are days that are down right hard and crazy, but its when I am reminded that my children will grow up way to quick, it is easier to deal with those difficult times.

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