Monday, March 29, 2010

Adventures in Stuff Mart

I went to Costco this past Sunday with all the kids, against all inclination and better judgment. I like many things about  Costco: the grocery prices, the amazing yet cheap produce, the quality inexpensive meat, and the big boxes of staples such as cereal that are the perfect size for my lage-ish family. I don't like the "other side" of the store, but I just avoid it.

However, I dislike shopping there, especially on a weekend. I find the place crowded with shoppers, all trying to find the four things they regularly buy in bulk, with that "oh my goodness, WHERE are they hiding that product???" look in the eye. You know it, because it's been on all of our faces in a big box store. You're stuck in between sneering at the other shoppers and frantically staring in four direcitons at once.

I get frazzled in a crowded Costco. I fully admit it.

However, whenever I manage to make it through a shopping trip there, I start to see the funny side of everything on the ride home.

The thing that struck me as absolutely hilarious this week was this: my family got the certified look of death from at least six seniors this Sunday. There they were, with three items in their carts, giving me the stink-eye for shopping at Costco with my brood and a giant cart packed with food and two kids sitting in the top seats, happily pretending to be race car drivers.

Now, I get this look a lot when out with all the children in Victoria, no matter how well behaved they are. Some people seem to take offense to seeing and hearing kids in public. I find this sentiment highest among seniors in this retirement town, with yuppies a close second. As long as no one says something rude in front of my kids, my attitude is essentially "whatever." We all have the right to be out in public, and they have the right to be crotchety. It doesn't hurt us. We're too busy having fun!

But encountering this in a Costco had me laughing so hard in the van home I was hiccupping. Seriously, where else would you expect to see a pregnant woman and three children shopping for groceries? The local boutique organic mini-market? Even I think there should probably be a law requiring me to do at least half my shopping in a wholesale store, simply to avoid wasting packaging and hogging all the strawberries down at the local small grocery store.

Costco was created for women like me. I might not approve of the side of the store that sells all the nonsense, but cheap, high-quality bulk groceries? Sign me up! I'm glad other people go and buy bulk too, but if you go into Costco expecting people like me to be elsewhere, I have to wonder what your medication is (and if I can have some too.)

I will be glad when Hubby is home again from this short sail. When he's here, we tend to take turns and go with only one child in tow, and avoid shopping there during peak hours. It keeps me from being overwhelmed by the sheer size of the place, and the funny things that can happen.

I need to go there soon and shop for a new car seat, anyway.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

To the perfect pregnant ladies

Dear pregnant lady with the model limbs and basketball belly,

I am so pleased you are enjoying your first pregnancy, still wearing your favourite jeans cinched under your perfect belly with a Bella Band while eating salad and taking Pilates class. Good for you! How wonderful you can still work 50 hour weeks and have all that energy for jogging. How great you are gaining 20 perfect pounds. I am sincerely glad you enjoy being pregnant.

But sister, can we talk? You see, there's one little problem, one I don't even know if you can help solve, but in light of The Sisterhood of Pregnant Ladies, I hope you'll try.

You see, your glowing happiness is great -- but for some reason, people seem to take it not as the wonderful ideal, but as the pregnancy standard. They see you running five miles and they expect all of us to do it. They see you working overtime without being the least bit fatigued, and suppose that is normal. Heck, they see you keeping your old, pre-pregnancy routines even, and consider those of us who can't as somehow failing.

Some pregnant ladies experiencing these wonderful pregnancies also seem to fall into this trap. They are often the ones I overhear talking about how pregnancy isn't a medical condition, but a stage in life, and rolling thier eyes when discussing friends who needed medicine for morning sickness.

I know you're not like that, of course. That's why I'm calling for your assistance.

Many of us pregnant ladies are not like you. Some of us are unfortunate and are really sick -- that was me in my last pregnancy. But the rest of us, myself now included, are not seriously ill. What we are is exhausted, sore, overwhelmed and cranky. We used to handle stress wonderfully, but can't cope as well now that we're cooking a baby. We worry about what everyone is saying about our reduced superwoman abilities.
But most of all, we live in terror of being compared to you. Because there is no way we can survive that comparison without damage.

So, my fortunate friend, please continue to glow and jog and work and ride your bike and have an amazing pregnancy. You should sincerely enjoy and cherish this wonderful blessing.

But the next time someone points out the exhausted, bedraggled pregnant woman in the office or the restaurant and says, "You're pregnant, and you're not like that," please stand up for her. Point out every woman and every pregnancy is different, and while you wish every pregnant woman was as fortunate as you, that's not always the case.

Thanks. I can promise you, as the woman with the wonderful postpartum experiences, I will viciously stand up for you when your baby has colic, you have PPD, and someone points out you haven't washed your hair in a week. In fact, I'll even come over and lend you a hand.


The Tired Out Pregnant Lady