Warning: This post contains salty language and sock-abuse. It is impossible to tell the story without the dialogue. Turn back if you aren't up for it and come back tomorrow when my blog goes back to a mild PG rating.
When I hear women tell stories of severe post-partum depression, I have an aching sympathy and understanding of how frightening it is and how out of control it makes you feel. My own post-partum was very mild, but the impact of the shift in hormones was wildly evident to me and to those around me.
With my first child, I don't think I had post-partum as much as "IdontknowwhattheEFFi'mdoingitis", so my "depression" was more situational and panic related than an actual case of the blues. With my daughter, it was different. I had all the confidence in the world as a mom the second time around, so having a newborn was neither foreign nor scary. But for some strange reason, it also wasn't joyful.
I can remember feeling a very distinct crash after I delivered that seemed to stay with me. And when I got home from the hospital, I was not only sad and tired, I started to get that angsty, PMS feeling. You know, the one where you want to stab the mailman with a fork for bringing the wrong ratio of junk and real mail or sew the legs of your husband's pants closed because he forgot to put the wet wash in the dryer. It was like that, but amped up. So, let's just say that I was not one to be messed with and one clerk at Marshalls was about to find out the hard way.
It was two weeks into June and I had to get on the ball and shop for Father's Day gifts. I am a little obsessive about shopping for occasions as anyone that has ever gone Christmas shopping in July with me can attest. My husband desperately needed two things that year - socks, as the sock monster had managed to steal one from almost every pair and dress shoes for work. I figured that the sock shopping would be easy, I could head up to the shopping center nearest to my house where there were two stores that I could purchase men's socks from. My goal was to fill a big box with socks and thwart the sock monster through sheer volume.
I hit Marshalls because, as any mom shopping with small kids will tell you, the store that offers a shopping cart for me to store my children in, wins. My three year old son was uncharacteristically cranky that day and had been badgering me in the car about wanting Pokemon action figures. Knowing that with a one month old in a bucket and a three year old, my shopping time was limited at best. I tried to prepare him in advance that this was not a toy shopping trip and that we would go shopping for Pokemon figures at Toys R Us after daddy got home. We always tried to reason with him and he was good about it most of the time, but this was not one of those times.
I rolled into Marshalls with my daughter in the bottom of the cart in her bucket and my son sitting in the top part of the cart. My daughter was sleeping soundly and he seemed like he was finally settled over the Pokemon toy. I knew that time was of the essence, because if she woke up, our shopping would come to an abrupt end. With the focus and precision of a laser beam, I headed directly to men's socks, not realizing that it butts directly up against the toy section. As I rolled the cart slowly along the sock aisle, something shiny and Pokemon colored caught the boy's eye and he began to pester me to go to toys. I gently reminded him that we were here for daddy, Toys R Us later, blah, blah, blah. But he would have none of it and he started to cry. Nothing I said was going to deter him from airing his grievances as loudly as possible. And for you mother's out there, you know that it is both angst producing and completely mortifying when your child cries in a store. You feel like people are going to start lining up, like in the movie Airplane, to slap you in the face and then place a blue ribbon on your chest for "Bad Mother of the Year".
With the boy going off like a siren, I started wildly grabbing socks, any socks off the shelf. Picture of Santa on 'em? Don't care. Purple argyle Donny Osmond jobbies? He'll deal with it. My original target number was 20 pairs of black dress socks for the twenty work days in a month, but by the time I got to a rainbow colored pile of what looked like 14 pairs of clown socks, I figured I should just rush to the register and cut my losses.
Of course, Marshalls being Marshalls, was not going to let me out without waiting on an insufferably long line. I got in queue and hoped that there wouldn't be someone in front of me that wanted to haggle with the cashier about the price of an already deeply discounted blouse that got stepped on, therefore they should take an extra 20% off for the shoe print. As usual, the line moved at a snails pace and my son continued to scream and cry - "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah I need Peeeeeeeeeeeekachooooooooooooooooo." Both of my children have the lung power of Pavarotti, so his wail was glass shatteringly loud.
As expected, unpriced merchandise, people that felt the need to argue over something or another, coupon users and check writers were all holding up the line. By the time I was next in line, my son had been screaming for a solid 15 minutes. It was about this time that the cashier looked up at me from her register, dramatically covered both ears with her hands and said "Lady, please, control your child. . . ". Well, dear readers, it was at that very moment that learned what it meant to "see red". Some cashier bitch was going to tell me how to parent my child? I think not. What happened next is etched in my mind forever as the most out of control moment that I have ever experienced in a public place.
I stood there with my mouth agape for a second, staring her down like cheetah getting ready to pounce a gazelle. And what flew out of my mouth was an F bomb laden tirade like I had NEVER launched before - "FuuuuuuuuCK you!" I screamed. And with that, I picked up all fourteen pairs of socks and I hurled them in her direction, knocking over the price display on the register and raining down all over the counter. "Who the FUCK do you think you are telling ME what to do with my kid. You are out of your mother fucking mind to talk to me like that." And with that, I turned on my heel and motored out of the store, cursing a blue streak the entire way back to the car. "I'm never coming back to this piece of shit store. What kind of store employs a rude bitch like that? Haven't they ever heard of customer service?" . . .and so on.
When I got in the car I broke down and sobbed uncontrollably. Not because I pitched a pile of socks at a cashier and not because I was embarrased by what the other shoppers thought of my behavior. I sobbed because I had done all of that in front of my son. And when I finally settled down, I turned around and looked at him sitting in his carseat. I slowly and carefully explained to him that what I had done was wrong and that I was sorry that he saw it and that I would never do that again. He looked up at me with his big brown doe eyes and said "OK mommy. Can we go to Toys R Us and get a Pikachu?" In that moment, I knew that he was focused on his own desires and not my behavior. As a matter of fact, he kept screaming and crying for Pikachu through the entire episode and thankfully, little missy in the bucket never budged.
I backed the car out of the parking space and headed out toward the exit, but instead of turning left toward home, I turned right and headed to Toys R Us. Did I want to reward his tantrum? No. Did I want to celebrate the fact that he did not pay attention to mine? You bet your ass!
*Editor's Note: It is important to clarify that I had never before or ever since said as much as boo to anyone that waited on me for any reason. I avoid confrontation like the plague. However, when I've got my hormone balls on, look out.