There I was pushing the shopping cart down the isle, working on borrowed time as my nine-month old slept in his carseat propped awkwardly in the large part of the cart, while my two-year-old was nearing the end of her patience as well as the banana she stole. Before I was a real mom, I was a perfect hypothetical mom. “I will never let my kids eat food they haven’t paid for,” I would say to myself when I would see a kid in a cart devouring a box of cookies while the mom pondered between the name brand or generic ketchup. Before I was a real mom I was also a perfect disciplinarian, “If my kid started demanding stuff while we were in the grocery store and then had a fit if i didn’t give it to her, I would scold her and leave the store immediately.”

As a real mom, there are days when I just completely throw in the towel. My kid will refuse to wear shoes, refuse to have her hair brushed and literally laugh at me if I threatened a time out, promise a sticker on her chart, take away her favorite toy or TV show or any of the other tactics all you-know -it-alls have said to do.

My first born is strong, smart, funny and cute, but she is not easy. Sure she is “easy” for those who see her once in a while, but for me she is not. However, I wouldn’t change her for anything the world.

But i digress…

So there I was with my feisty daughter and my sweet sleeping son, trying to squeeze a few more borrowed minutes when I looked down past the smeared rice cereal on the bosom of my shirt only to realize that my daughter’s flip flop was missing from her foot. “Where is your shoe?” i asked fully expecting the two-year-old to give adequate answer.

“It fell off outside,” she said as if I should have noticed years ago.

“Well, I guess we’ll look for it when we leave.”

BEEP, BEEP the alarm for my grocery shopping went off with no option of snooze…

“Nooooooo, I need my shoe nowwwwww!, go get it Mommy!!!” my alarm clock screamed.

I could have done a number of things in that moment but instead I rewarded her for her bad behavior and bribed her with a box of cookies in exchange for a few more minutes on the clock.

As I continued to check off my shopping list, which was written in crayon on an envelope, which has a bill in it that I was probably supposed to pay a week ago, I look up and I see another mom, who might as well have been another species. The yoga-spin-super-mom’s hair was in a silky straight ponytail, her clothes were clean and she looked good in them, like really good. Her daughter wore a $12.00 bow, a clean dress, matching buckle sandals and was sitting in one of those cart-covers, which good moms place in their shopping cart so their children don’t pick up any germs (I was given one, but I re-gifted it .)

Right down to her non-chipped nail polish and eye-lash extensions, this mom, by doing absolutely nothing, other than existing, was making me feel like I needed to go home and take a shower and shave.

I gave her a friendly smile. And then the Athleta Spokesmodel spoke.

“How old is he?” she asked with a Cinderella sparkle in her eye while showing off her straight white teeth.

“He is almost nine months and this one is two,”

“How fun to have two boys,” she said in her most angelic voice.

All of a sudden I did a quick scan of my front seat passenger and realized her Yoda shirt, jeans, one black flip flop and unbrushed hair, clearly equalled trucks and not barbies.

“She’s a girl,” I say with the same tone i would use when i ask to pass the butter.

“And I’m two and half, I’m bigger now,” my truck-loving daughter chimed in.

Without missing a beat, the organic-food-eating- mom, showed an appropriate amount of embarrassment and apologized for her gender mix-up.

Of course I responded with blaming myself for not having a bow in my daughter’s hair.

As me and my “boys” move on to the check out my alarm goes off and this time no amount of bribing or negotiating is accepted. Right on cue, my little dude starts screaming as my daughter remembers her shoe is still missing and that we must all stop what we are doing and get it now before her little head explodes.

I ignore it all, because frankly if i react I’ll probably go to jail.

“Do you need any help out?” the cashier practically yells as the bagger grabs a second cart for my overflowing groceries.

I wanted to say, “No it’s okay I am a super human person with a hidden extra limb that only comes out when i need to push two grocery carts.”

But instead i smiled politely and said, “sure that would be great.”

At this point my daughter has unbulkled herself from the cart and is climbing out and my baby boy’s face indicates he is being tourtured by his carseat.

Just then a miracle happens.

“There is my shoe mommy, right there, we found it!!”

She points at the ground with  shear joy and all of a sudden what had started  to feel like a slip down a dark rabbit hole, started to feel like Christmas morning.

“Good eye goose!!” I yell with joy, matching her enthusiasm.

All the way home we sing “we found the shoe, we found the shoe” over the sounds of our screaming baby.

And I decide then, that although matching outfits and buckle shoes and silky hair are nice, I wouldn’t change who I am for anything in the world.