Mothering skills not hitting the Target.
June 18, 2014, 2:43 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

As I find myself driving my car, listening to the complete and utter shrieks of my three year old from the car seat behind me, I stop to wonder where did it all go wrong?

Not a grand, sweeping thought in which I question myself as a mother and an effective parent, but rather, where did this moment go wrong in which we were fine and now I am getting shoes thrown at the back of my head.

I know the answer. We all know the answer.


Mothers continue to have the same mistaken thought while driving home–let’s just hop into Target and see if we can find you some new shorts, some new toilet paper, all of these scented candles. Or is this just me?


We always enter Target on shaky ground. Tiny Human needs a shopping cart. Every time. It doesn’t matter if we are just in there to get tampons. WE NEED A SHOPPING CART. And not just any shopping cart. No.

We need that obnoxious cart with the red bench seat attached to the front. The one with zero turn control. THAT ONE.

I usually concede to the cart fiasco because it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, at the time. In that moment, I can’t come up with a good reason to destroy her life by saying “No, we are just walking to the aisle and then leaving”.

My tiny human, as a tiny human, has very little actual control over her life. She doesn’t get to make many choices. So, when I can, I let her make them.


My second mistake is always saying, “We can get this cart if you promise to be good.”  Of course my tiny human agrees to the terms.


She placates me for a while, I’ll give her that. We make it past the dollar section (where she usually picks up something she desperately needs, and I allow it because A DOLLAR), through the women’s clothing section where I decide for the 52nd time that cropped tops are just not for me anymore, we cast a glance towards the men’s section and then rethink it since we have the Cadillac of carts and really, he doesn’t need anything. And then we hit the toy section.

The toy section.

This is where the real manipulation begins.

She usually starts with finding the biggest, most expensive doll. She gasps in awe and tells me that it’s so beautiful.

Yes. Yes she is.

“But mommy. I don’t have one this beautiful.”

Of course you do. You have exactly 73 dolls on your bed. Lined up like little sentinels that are supposed to keep you safe at night.

“But I don’t have THIS DOLL RIGHT HERE.”

Well, no. But this doll is not for you right now. Maybe another time

The sad face descends. A single tear rolls down her cheek. She sadly agrees; puts the doll back on the shelf. Maybe she even gives it a sad little kiss to drive the point home.

Then, like a good girl, she climbs back onto her plastic throne on wheels and heaves a sigh.


Well, let’s see if we can find something else that we can maybe get today.

39 days later, we usually emerge from the Disney aisle, clutching something that costs less than $10. This particular day, it was Aurora dress up shoes that look exactly like her Rapunzel dress up shoes, except THESE ARE PINK.

She is victorious and happy and returns to her seat.

But then, there is a line at check out. She is suddenly starving. We have taken too long. The window of peace  has closed and hellfire is coming.

Taking the item out of her hands to scan it at the register results in shrieks and “No!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and we pay quickly and head out the door. Returning the cart to Cart Land pushes her over the edge of sanity. She throws herself onto the floor in the front of the store. A perfect stage for the world to see just how tragic her life is.

This usually results in me swallowing my rage and hoisting her, thrashing, under my arm like a football and maybe bowing a little bit as I exit the store with zero dignity.

And here we come to my fifth and final mistake:

Trying to put a screaming three year old in a car seat on a hot day.

Rational, reasonable, and probably much more mature mothers would allow their child to calm themselves.

However, I work 8 hours a day, it was 99 degrees outside, AND I HAD JUST BOUGHT HER A TOY.

Without divulging details, we will simply say that the tiny human was placed into her car seat and buckled appropriately. This resulted in actions that I can only imagine parallel what happens when you cage a kraken. I am fairly certain she crafted weapons back there to fire at me on the short drive from the store to our house.

I didn’t yell. I didn’t freak out. I didn’t cry.

Because I knew that if I started reacting, especially while driving, I would not stop reacting until maybe next week.

We made it home in several pieces (certainly not one piece), she was sent to bed immediately and I had a glass of cheap wine.

Oh, and I took those shoes back to the store.

Growing a human is hard work, and we make mistakes. Often times we make these mistakes KNOWING THAT WE ARE DOING IT.

And that’s okay.

I would rather be the mother with the screaming child, hauling her out of the store by her ankles, than the mother who is too afraid to enter the store with her child to begin with.