Last Saturday, I got the bright idea to take my two teens and tween to Target; my oldest ask for Cliff bars, my daughter has been saying she’d like a new pair of leggings, and my youngest has been saving for a watch and finally had enough money to buy one.
Not only did I have to get ingredients to make an appetizer for a party we were attending that evening, but also who am I to turn down a trip to Target with the people I love most in all the world?
This will be fun, I thought as we piled in the car and I started having visions of us sharing a popcorn and smiling our way down the aisles. Maybe I’d even dip my toe in the home goods section and see if there were any surprises.
Well, we all know love is blind especially loving daydreams of spending a joyful hour or so shopping with our kids. We somehow assume they will act happy and thankful. That is until everything comes crashing down in the middle of the cosmetic aisle where you are daring to take your time picking out a lip gloss. According to your kids this is pure torture. It doesn’t matter if they are four or fourteen; this is not allowed, Mama.
We managed to make it through the dollar spot okay, but things quickly went astray after that.
My son who insisted on pushing the cart kept hitting me with it as he was trying to get away from his older brother who only lasted five minutes in the happiest place on earth for moms before he wanted to leave.
He wasn’t quiet about it either. “Go get your Cliff bars, then look around,” I said. “We are going to be here a while and I’m not speeding out of here because you got what you wanted.” According to him, it’s much more fun to antagonize his little brother and complain in a store he said he wanted to go to than it is to do the actual shopping.
My daughter was trying to take advantage of my flustered self by asking for all the things.
I could feel the hotness moving down my face, and I cracked my knuckles as I reached for the cart and grabbed it away from my son.
“Knock it off!” I said, “All three of you are acting like brats.”
“All eyes are on us, Mom. Lower your voice. Shhhh,” said my son. His eyes shifted to the left, then the right. I’m certain he was making sure no one he knew was around because he knew my red face was a gateway to larger problems.
But that, “Shhh,” really put me ever the edge. How many times have I doled out a “Shhh,” only to be ignored. My son had just doused the fire with aerosol hairspray and I was going to blow.
First of all, I don’t care who is watching us. I’ve dragged all you guys out of a public place because you couldn’t listen to my ‘Shhhs,’ and have thrown epic tantrums in every grocery and home improvement store, and library within a 25-mile radius.
This is not bothering me that people are looking at us. What’s bothering me is I just got rammed with the cart in the back of heels 10 times because you guys couldn’t stop giving each other rides. You’re either complaining or asking for things, and then, THEN, when you saw the 11s appear between my eye brows because I was concentrating so damn hard to get it right at the self-checkout, you all thought it would be a good time to ask me 10 questions despite that fact I asked you to hold your questions until I was done.
I WASN’T DONE! So, since you couldn’t do one thing I asked in there, I can’t grant your request at the moment. I will not be quiet and I hope the whole world sees us.
People (including me at one time) think you only struggle in a store if you have young children, but that’s just not true. Older kids can be jerks in a store, too. They are just bigger, have better comebacks, and instead of crying, they are the ones telling you to be quiet because you are being too loud.
The thing they don’t realize is you’ve had years of taking them down and out in the middle of a public place. You’ve already been stared at, given the stink eye, and shamed for not being able to control your child. They don’t realize they’ve prepared you for this moment, and you have no sh*ts left to give at this point.
Getting after them in public by raising your voice at them through clenched teeth isn’t going to ruin your day in the least.
So, either my kids will never go shopping with me again, or they will behave the next time we all decide to take a random trip to Target (or any other store for that matter) together.
Either way is fine with me, I’m the one with the money and the louder voice.