PUBLISHED: 4:26 PM on Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Don't feel sorry for moms who shop all alone

We moms know how to get away from it all.

Take last week, for example, when a 30-something woman shopper at the grocery store stood behind me in the checkout line and actually refused to go to an open check stand.

"I can help you over here, Ma'am," an eager clerk offered.

"No, thanks," she casually replied.

"You sure? There's no waiting on aisle five," she insisted.

This clerk was determined. She walked over and started to reach for the front end of the woman's cart. For a split second I thought the woman would whack the poor employee with a family-pack of Lucky Charms.

"I've got four kids at home," the woman shouted. "This is my time to be alone!"

The helpful clerk exhaled deeply in relief. She flashed an understanding smile that basically meant, "Moms know how to get away from it all."

The shopper confided in me - and everyone else within hearing distance - that this was her time to get away. To prove her point she slowly sipped her 16-ounce mocha, a clear sign she was alone; because every mom in the universe knows that, like it or not, whatever we eat or drink becomes fair game for sharing.

"When I take my kids shopping, I end up buying a lot of stuff I don't need," she said, while unconsciously rocking side to side - another tell-tale sign she had little ones.

She described the ol' you-distract-mom-by-whining-while-I-grab-stuff-and-put-it-in-the-cart trick her kids recently pulled on her.

No wonder she was shopping by herself. A guy holding a case of beer stood behind her and eyed her full cart.

"Go ahead, please," she offered.

"You sure?" he asked.

"Yep." She took another slow sip of her mocha.

We moms know how to get away from it all.

I knew how to get away from it all. I hid beneath our shady grape arbor after tucking in my toddlers for afternoon naptime - which, by the way, can be a mom's best friend. Until I heard little voices from behind.

"What are you doing, Mommy?" they asked.


They always looked sad, as if to say, "Poor Mommy - she's all alone. We'd better keep her company."

While we moms love our children, there are times when it feels good to get away. So the next time you're in the checkout line and a woman offers to let you go ahead of her, take my advice and just do it. Don't argue.

Because chances are, if she's slowly sipping on a 16-ounce mocha and rocking side to side without a child in her arms, it's a sure bet: She's a mom.

And we moms know how to get away from it all.

Judy Halone is a member of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.