While watching my groceries being delivered, it hit me. I’ve got a bad case of “supermarket envy.” I would give absolutely anything to be the mom who gets to go to the grocery store…Alone. I’d happily commit to pushing a shopping cart with one bum wheel, if it meant I had twenty minutes of peace in the produce section. I would have no issue waiting in line at the deli department, if it meant I had an extra ten minutes to myself to watch crazy cat videos on YouTube. The prospect of being stuck in line behind some crazy coupon lady sounds absolutely thrilling if it meant I got a little adult conversation! Clearly, I need to get out more.
When you’re a blind mom of an infant and a toddler, grocery store runs just aren’t in the cards. I’m stuck using a home delivery service, which allows me to shop, but forces me to over buy. Twice a month I place a fairly large order to make sure I get everything I need to feed my family of four. My husband’s work schedule is so chaotic, I can’t rely on him if I forget something. The result is an overstocked pantry and a freezer bursting at the seams.
A lot of people in the disabled community frown upon those of us who say we “can’t” do something. Our disabilities complicate our lives and there is an underlying tone by many that we need to soldier on, no matter what! If we admit defeat, we’re weak. Well, I’m calling bullshit on that one, folks! I probably have more fortitude and strength than most sighted people. If I say I “can’t” do something, you can bet your bottom dollar I have a damned good reason for it. So before any fellow blind parents decide to send me pictures of themselves with their children strapped to their backs in some mountaineering papoose-like contraption, hear me out.
My kids are 3 and 1. My 3 year old weighs 38 pounds. My one year old weighs 28 pounds. They both wear the same size diaper and are in youth size clothing (no, not toddler, youth). I am 5’3 and aside from being legally blind, I have had other health complications as a result of having had cancer. There is no way in hell, I could strap these two massive babies to my back and carry them the 14 blocks I would need to walk to get to the bus. Let alone, get the two of them on the bus and carry groceries home. I told you I was blind. I never claimed to be superwoman.
For those of you wondering,“Why doesn’t she just take car service, Uber, or an accessibility vehicle?” Well, I am sure there are plenty of moms who do. However, I simply don’t believe that is a safe option given there are no car seats. Children the age of my girls should not be in a vehicle without a car seat. Period. That’s not just my opinion; it’s also the opinion of the American Academy of Pediatrics. If, by some miracle, I did find a business willing to let me install my car seats into their vehicle, what do I do with them while I shop? Do I throw the car seats and the kids in the cart? Where would the groceries go? Are you catching my drift here?
When my husband came home today I was busily putting away my massive order. I had piles of pasta, sauce, meat, and my kid’s snacks to organize. As soon as he saw the piles of food on the kitchen table, he got that smirk on his face. Think you got enough?” Maybe I was tired. Maybe I just was having an off day. But in that moment, I wanted to slap the shit out of him. My husband is a wonderful man, but he doesn’t have a clue what it’s like to be stuck in the house when you need something and have no way of getting it.
If he needs something, he can easily jump in the car and go to whatever store his heart desires. He has that ability and that freedom. And because my husband is the parent that drives, he’s always the one who gets the break. By the time it would take me to dress my girls, pack a diaper bag and get them in their car seats he could be back from his travels. And honestly, in that respect, I resent him.
He doesn’t get how annoying it is to go somewhere, even when someone offers to take you, and be rushed to complete your shopping tasks. As a mom, I constantly feel like I’m in a perpetual state of “rushing.” If I’m not rushing to tend to my kids, I’m rushing in and out of a store, because I’m too worried about inconveniencing the person who brought me there in the first place. Do you know how stressful that is?
And when I go into my basement and my shelves are stocked like the apocalypse is imminent, I have to say there are times, like today, where I throw myself a bit of a pity party. It sucks to have to shop like this. But you know what sucks even worse? When your fussy toddler makes that one request for “curly” pasta and you don’t have any! Then for the next twenty minutes, your resort to whatever trickery you can come up with to convince them to eat what you do have. C’mon honey, the elbow macaroni is kind of curly, right? That SUCKS! Trust, me, I’ve been there.
I wish people in the sighted world knew how hard it is for people in my situation to ask for help. Even the people we are married to. People take so many things for granted. Like getting in your car, going to the store, and buying what you need because you know if you forget something, you can just stop back tomorrow.
The next time you’re in line complaining about how slow the cashier is ringing as you flip through that National Enquirer, think of me. You see, I envy you. I envy your supermarket freedom.
Pictured: A fully stocked basement shelving unit with various canned goods.