Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I Don't Want to Go to There (with my kids)

shopping with kids
Looks fun...for them.
I've learned a lot over the past three and a half years of motherhood, such as not to take life too seriously, that having a Mom tribe matters, and that there are certain places I just will not go with my kids. 

The DMV.  This bastion of bureaucratic waste is bad enough when you're an adult, but add two kids  into the mix and the experience of renewing your drivers license might be more painful than natural birth.  As if the hours-long wait times weren't bad enough, add in the people talking to themselves, the guy with the TB cough, and the questionable brown stain on the floor, and you've got a recipe for some real heart-to-heart talks with your toddlers about why you've failed at life chosen to live in a diverse urban environment.  Be sure to bring the iPad, coloring books, and a pantry full of snacks, because it's possible you'll be there until your kid's next birthday.  Plan to take a bath in sanitizer once you get home, because that place is a petri dish of nasty.

The Grocery.  I've reached the point in my life where I consider a trip to the grocery alone to be a pleasurable experience.  Until you have children you will not understand what a luxury it is to leisurely stroll the aisles reading ingredient labels and comparing prices.  I've never run an actual marathon, but I suspect that it's not much different than taking a trip to the local supermarket with my children.  First of all, you're pushing a cart filled with 50 pounds of toddler and groceries, but you're also running as fast as possible up and down the aisles throwing anything resembling a health food into your cart.  It's very possible your toddler might lose an eye from a badly aimed box of Cheddar Bunnies, but the only thing that matters is getting your groceries before your kids launch into their simultaneous tantrums.  You'd love to read labels and plan gourmet meals but the only thing you've got time for is buying the same 20 things you buy every week and that you know your kids will eat: white food, cucumbers, and wine, lots of wine (for Mom, obvs.)

Target.  I love Target.  What I don't love is taking my children with me to Target.  If you think it's hard to spend less than $100 when shopping alone at the mecca of affordable lifestyle brands, then you better make sure you have plenty of room on your credit cards if you're planning to shop with your offspring in tow.  You know why?  Because your kid will find something he wants down every single aisle of that store.  From pj's to pompoms, Target carries it all and I guarantee that your child will want a piece of the action.  Clothes, toys, shoes, home decor, candy... it's just a massive tantrum waiting to happen, and you have two choices: risk the ire of all the other Target shoppers while your kid writhes in anger on the floor of the Barbie aisle, or go against all of your parenting instincts and give in to their demands, thereby setting you back in the neighborhood of $400 dollars.  You have to ask yourself, what's more important to me in this moment: my sanity or being able to afford my rent?

The mall.  I hate clothing shopping under the best of circumstances, but I especially hate taking my children with me for this most loathsome of outings.  I find it impossible to decide whether a piece of clothing looks good on me when one of my children is pulling on me and I'm attempting to dodge the other one's sticky fingers.  The attention span of a toddler - somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.5 minutes - is not exactly conducive to making well thought out decisions about which apparel pieces best round out your wardrobe.  Save yourself the hassle and just order a Bungalow or Stitch Fix box.

Work.  If you're a working parent you've had it happen: your babysitter cancels or your kid is too sick to go to school on the day that you have a work thing you cannot miss.  I'm lucky in that my work revolves around kids and Moms, but that doesn't mean that every work event is kid friendly.  I've had to take my kids to stuff that was decidedly not for kids, and it sucked.  It's hard to feel professional when you're trying to carry on a serious conversation with a colleague and your kid runs up and screams "I need to poop!" or when you're following your children around trying to keep them from breaking anything.  I've never felt a bigger sense of relief than when I've managed to survive a work event with my kids without leaving a wave of destruction in our wake.

Basically, I never leave my house and my children are probably going to have lingering psychological issues about the fact that I never take them anywhere.  I figure that a lifetime of therapy for them is far better than my ending up in the psych ward from too many Target trips gone wrong.  Anyway, I like to think that the reason that Al Gore invented the internet was so that Moms could shop online.

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