I've wanted to write this post for a while. I am reminded of it every time I shove a shopping cart into a concrete diamond island in the middle of the parking lot instead of returning it to the cart return. Being the A+ type that I am, and a recovering smitic (that's smug critic put together), I would always return my cart to the cart return. Sometimes-- if I had the time and I was feeling incredibly superior-- I would walk it all the way to the front of the store. Before children, I was (and still am to a changed degree) fairly certain that most people were watching me and that if I behaved well enough, I could rack up some metaphysical gold stars on my record for doing such noble actions as returning carts, staying off the grass and driving the speed limit. In my world, it's a form of justice to make sure that I am honoring the unspoken code of social conscientiousness (and seething or staring down those who don't seem to know there is such a code at all). Regardless, I would make sure that little cart could not become a nuisance to any driver or car by pushing it to its rightful home. Then, I had a child; and as most things do when a child arrives...it changed. The difficulty in carrying the child, in the car seat with a diaper bag to the cart return and trying mercilessly to pry a cart from the others cannot be described, other than to say that it increases when you have two more in tow. So, I am changed. I no longer walk my cart to the return, but will often leave it in the bushes, dashed up on a curb or out of car's reach in an aisle to save some poor mama who is coming after me. What a delight it is to have a cart, singular and available when I am loading my children into it. And who has the desire to leave her children in the parked and running car so that a cart might be returned to the stall? Me, no longer. So for all those Lauren's of the past wondering why, for heaven's sake, can't she take a few more steps to propagate justice in the world by returning the darn cart, I can only hope things change for you too.