I am blogging right now through tears of anger. As you know, we have a child in our home that is in foster care. He is just 6 months old and we are having a blast, but something happened tonight that makes me so mad.
As a child in foster care, he qualifies for WIC. "WIC provides certain nutritious foods for growing families, information on healthy eating, help for breastfeeding moms and babies and referrals to health care". I have never used WIC before and I have had to learn the ropes one month at a time. This is the first month that I got baby food and cereal for the baby, every other month has been formula only. Like I said, it takes some learning to figure it all out.
Tonight, I got the appropriate foods and formula for the vouchers I had. Got in line and put the food in order with the vouchers on top of the piles. The way the program is, because I got formula, baby food AND cereal, it took 6 separate transactions to get it all.
Albertson's was really slow tonight (bonus) and everything was going great. A lady and her 4 kids got in line behind me and I warned her that mine was going to take a few minutes and she might want to go to a different line. She told me it would be fine. She loaded her stuff on the belt and THEN saw what I was buying with the vouchers on top. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that I was using WIC.
The checker was so sweet. She remembered me from past trips to the store. Also, when you use WIC, your name is on the vouchers. HOPE CLYDE isn't a hard name to remember, I guess. She was chatting and asking how the baby was and that's when I noticed it..... the lady behind me was rolling her eyes at me. In shock, I kept looking her way. She stood with her arms folded, hip cocked to the side and staring me up and down. Occasionally, she would close her eyes, breathe in deep and when she would open her nasty, little eyes, they would roll to the back of her head. As this went on, I was feeling like an absolute idiot for using WIC. The checker even noticed and twice, mouthed to me, "don't worry about it". Thank goodness I had a seasoned checker that got me out of there in a hurry.
Loading my car, I couldn't stop thinking about that lady. The things I would say to her, just running through my head. I got in my Tahoe and started to pull out of the parking lot when the little princess came waltzing out of the store. Her eyes met mine and she looked at my car. Not needing a translator to read her lips, she said, "OH MY HECK!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?". I guess the car I drive isn't what she would imagine to be WIC recipient worthy.
I don't know if it was good or bad that I was on my way out of the parking lot and there was a car driving behind me, because I wanted to turn around and let her know how wrong her assumptions were. I know my mouth and I know it would have been NOT NICE. I kept driving.
The feelings of humiliation and anger took over and I couldn't control my tears. Calling my mom and my sister made me feel much better. But, the bottom line is, be careful who you judge. You never know what THEIR situation is. If she had known that I was a foster parent with a 6 month old baby in my home, would her attitude have been different?
This isn't the first time I have felt this way, but usually, I can give people the bird and tell them to kiss my butt. When Tyler was a baby, he was on oxygen for the first 11 months of his life. Well, we had to park in the handicap stalls to get him AND his oxygen out of the car at the same time. I got a lot of dirty looks then, also. *A 20-something woman parking in the handicap stall with her baby!?!* Yea, not the first time it's been this way. But I really hope to use this experience as a learning tool for others.
Don't judge a mama until you've pushed a cart full of WIC items through the store... isn't that how that famous quote goes? You get the idea!!!!
So, let's all be a little more kind. You never know what people are going through. It made me think of family members and close friends that are on WIC right now because they qualify financially. Do THEY face this regularly? It made me sick to my stomach to think of how THEY feel. I hope my loved ones don't face this discrimination.
Anyhow, just another experience to learn from in this whole process, right? Be careful who you judge.
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