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Quieting my inner mom voice

Moms have so many jobs it’s useless to list them. I find I just keep doing the next thing and never really stop being a mom. I do try. I went to work, without my kiddos of course. No one calls me mom at work but my mom brain is still running. I don’t even need to get a text from a teen to know I need to pick something up on the way home.

This week it was a sweater for picture day. It was in the back of my mind to do for a month but other, louder tasks pushed it away. The traffic on the highway was at a crawl when I noticed the Old Navy just beyond the exit.

“Ah I can grab a sweater and be out of there in no time.” I laughed to myself. “Looking at this commuter snarl, I’ll probably won’t even lose my spot in the flow.”

I felt like this was a total mom win. Why not get something done while sitting in traffic, right? I hit my signal and headed for the exit ramp. I almost waved goodbye to my fellow travelers stuck on the road.

Pulling into the parking lot I nabbed a space out front. Whoot! This was a great plan and there was a Giant in the same shopping center. Dinner was practically done. I felt like celebrating.

I ran into the Old Navy like a sprinter on the last leg of a marathon. The finish line was in sight. There, neatly folded at 30 percent off, was a display of sweaters. I quick called home to ask the teen what color he would prefer. With the soft green sweater in my hand I marched to the checkout.

There were only four people in line ahead of me and it looked like four cashiers. Sweet! That’s when it all came to a crashing halt.

The woman in front of me informed me that she hadn’t moved in line at all. She had ran in for…you got it…a shirt for her daughter’s picture day. We were two moms thrown together on a kamikaze mission, shopping for picture day. Get in, get the shirt, get out.

That was right about when two cashiers left for their break. One of the ones still at the counter was folding clothes and talking to one of the guys who worked the floor. That left one…one cashier between two moms and picture day outfits.

The line behind us started to grow and grumbling began. Flirty Freda decided she’d better open and took the first person in line. My fellow mom and I felt our hopes rise. When Freda finished with that customer she turned off her light and went back to talking.

I couldn’t help it. My inner mom voice was screaming. The mom in front of me started complaining louder. I tried to quiet my inner mom but that mom thing just took over.

“Excuse me young lady, do you not see that there are seven people waiting in line? I think you need to talk later and help us get out of here. It’s not fair to let your co-worker do everything.”

I heard the words. They were in a firm, controlled voice. The cashier didn’t even blink. She nodded and turned on her light and went back to work. Floor boy scampered away. The words were effective. They weren’t angry, they were authoritative. It was the voice I used with my children. Oh good grief! I just used my mom voice with a cashier in Old Navy!

Suddenly I was getting pats on the back. The other women in the line were all nodding approvingly. The poor girl who was expected to do all the work thanked me. Even Freda apologized (floor boy just hid behind a display, like any boy who knows he’s distracting a girl at the wrong time).

Hmm, so being clear about what needs to be done, not grumbling, but stating it clearly works. No one is angry. No harm, no foul and we all got out of the store in about 5 minutes. Maybe we don’t need to quiet those mom voices. Everyone needs a mom to help us keep moving every once in awhile.

Next time I might try it in traffic.