Last weekend my husband woke up feeling sick, so even though it was a Sunday and I normally reserve this particular form of torture for Monday mornings, I decide to take both kids grocery shopping at a Super Target. It’s not the worlds best place to shop for food, but its the only place I know where you can bribe your child with a slushie, get yourself a latte, breastfeed in a dressing room and buy a cute lamp while you’re at it. It’s a one stop shop for someone like me who has anxiety attacks just thinking about running multiple errands in one day.
First things first; we must wear clothes. As my friend wisely tells her children, no one wants to see your penis. Getting my toddler dressed always involves a lot of threats hissed through clenched teeth while holding onto his little wrists with a mom-strength vice grip, and today is no exception.
Once the toddler is completely ready to go, he obviously has to use the potty (he is not potty trained). I play along (you never know?) and let him sit on his singing toilet (not a joke) until I realize its obviously just a stall tactic. Repeat dressing routine while trying not scream in anyones face.
It’s disgustingly hot outside, so I break a sweat immediately just wrangling both kids into their carseats. The baby screams for the entirety of the drive there.
We arrive at Target and everyone is relatively happy so I go to purchase the first bribe of the afternoon, one of those overpriced character juices that you have to secretly throw away so you don’t have to wash it. It’s not until the register that I realize with a sick, sinking feeling... I’ve left my wallet at home.
NO. PLEASE GOD, NO. Anything but this hell.
I slap a spooky, stoic smile on my face and quickly exit Target with a very confused and pissed off toddler and load everyone back up in their carseats in the horrible heat and humidity. I listen to them both scream as I drive back home, run inside to grab my wallet and drive all the way back to Target.
When we get there I realize both children are sound asleep. I decide not to wake them up and go through the Wendy’s drive-thru across the street since it is now 2:30 p.m and I have yet to eat a meal. I sit in the Wendy’s parking lot and momentarily get excited about eating in relative peace and solitude, but of course the baby immediately wakes up and wants to nurse. Commence nursing baby in the front seat while spilling salad dressing all over his head.
My toddler wakes up after an hour and is still devastated at the loss of his precious Tinkerbell juice. I strap the baby into his carseat again (which makes him scream) for the drive across the street to Target. We spend an hour grocery shopping with the baby in the front carrier, which makes me very sweaty. I load the car and the boys, drive home, unload the car and put away groceries all while the baby is screaming.
So from the time I decided to go to the grocery store, got myself and both children ready to go, shopped and put away the bags, SIX HOURS had passed. Six hours. That is not okay.
Despite it all, I still count that hellish shopping trip as a parenting win. Not only did I persevere and get the groceries we needed, but I kept my cool even though every fiber of my being wanted to scream “GOD DAMN IT!!!!!” while shaking my fists at the heavens in the Target Cafe.
Some days I fail miserably to lead by example, and that makes me feel like shit. But at least in that instance I showed my children how I would like THEM to react, instead of releasing the toddler we all have still living inside of us (but usually only let out when we are really drunk).
At the end of the day my toddler thanked me for taking him to Target because it was "so much fun." Although he didn't thank me for the overpriced Tinkerbell juice, because this isn't a fucking fairytale.