It’s important to pay attention to cultural norms. It’s how one, especially if she’s new to the community, knows what is acceptable, encouraged and expected. Today was one of those learning experiences. 

Kroger, it appears, is for rookie moms. 
Not moms who are just new to momdom, but rather those moms who doubt their abilities. I say this because they looked at me like either I was an alien or that I had a large black mole on the end of my nose, of which I was unaware. Let’s start from the beginning. 
First, I was greeted in the parking lot by a mom of 2 young ones (driving a shiny white SUV. Inside she purchased a latte. I tried not to judge). As I pulled out Miss M she said, “I’ve got a question real quick: Is it really any harder with 3? They keep telling me it’s not, but I feel like I have my hands full with 2!”. 
To be honest, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to answer that question. I said, “Not really. But then again, we moved when this one was 2 weeks old. The grocery store is cake in comparison.” 
Then there was the old man by the carts who needed to know how old Lady C was. He was fascinated that such a youngin’ could make it to the grocery store. 
The kids were pretty well behaved, but then H Boy decided he wanted to walk. I told him he could when we got to the milk – and subsequently rerouted once I saw the milk was the next section – but since we forgot the paprika, it made for a long venture. As H got out of the car cart, Miss M decided she was done, so I had to put her at the top of the cart in the purse holder. While wearing Lady C. 
Which brought about Nice Lady who offered to help, after I had everyone situated. It was a nice offer, but we were ready to find the spice aisle (btw, Kroger – some spices aren’t for “baking”. It’d be to your shoppers’ advantage if you listed “spices” with “oil, baking goods”. You’re lucky I’m a Kroger Lifer and know my grocery groupings). 
En route to the checkout we stumbled upon Mom of One (a cute little girl, I must say. The daughter. Though the mom was cute in a way that made me want to smack her. Wearing real pants and a shirt that wasn’t a hoodie. She didn’t even have her hair in a ponytail. Ugh). She wanted to know where I got my carrier (Etsy) and we stood and chatted the ins and outs of bjorns and wraps until a nice old lady with a mini-cart (can I tell you how I long for those days?) needed through. 
Then Nice Lady reappeared (trying not to expose the fact that she had stalked me all the way to the checkout line, past the paprika and all) with an invitation to MOPS. Did you know it costs $60 to join? Crazy! But she offered me a year for free, and since I’m all about swag, I said “sure, I might be interested.” So she checked out behind me and fetched the invite freebie bag (I’m TOTALLY sure that they were equipped at the first meeting for an invite-a-friend contest. But I really do appreciate the invite) from her car while I unloaded 3 kids and the groceries. While the cart boy stood impatiently by awaiting the chance to return the car cart to the rightful place, as those things take up waaaay too much room in the cart return. I could tell I was clearly making him inefficient at his job by using the car cart. My bad
Lastly, a word about car carts. I only let my kids use one when all 3 are present as I feel like a CDL should be required to drive one. Not so much an end-cap friendly vehicle. And the kids will be warned that they have to ride the car the whole time or it’s simply not worth my energy. But when it comes to engineering of these things, a mom was clearly involved at Meijer where as some 50 year old man was the genius behind Kroger’s. At Meijer, the car is right under mom so you can have a clear idea of who really is picking on whom. Then, for ease of unloading, the basket is at the front. No leaning over either a car or kid in order to reach the goods. Having a toddler “help” compounds the problem. All while under the watchful eye of Nice Lady, who I’m sure will report to her evangelism board about her experience of helping and reaching out to the poor, suffering mom of 3 under 3 who didn’t realize that Kroger is perhaps not the place for children. 
And it’s a big however. 
I’ll be back. First, I think I could get a few gigs mom-coaching, if only in the arena of confidence boosting. 
But the bigger reason is that Kroger has a Starbucks. This is the Right Bauer of grocery shopping experiences. I mean, after all that, don’t I deserve a Pumpkin Spice Latte? 
Visit me elsewhere: