So yesterday's blog post reminded me of a funny parenting story I have. Although not at all funny at that exact moment a year ago, it was still a pivotal turning point in motherhood for me.
At the time, I was 7 months pregnant with my third baby. The glorious thing about already having a son and a daughter was the fact that I got to sit back and enjoy this pregnancy with no pressure to buy a lot of things or stock up on clothes. The only item that we were adamant about buying, new, was an infant car seat. We had purchased our daughter's, brand new, about 6 years prior, so it was time for a new one. The nervous nelly momma in me did all of my research and finally settled on the one I wanted, however, I wanted to see it in person, first, before purchasing it on-line and Target (surprise, surprise) had one in stock that I wanted to go take a look at.
So one sunny, Sunday morning, I had the bright idea to pack up my kiddos and head to Target to check out this car seat. Our closest Target was about 15 minutes from our old house so I utilized those 15 minutes doing what any other pregnant mother with two older kids would do, we went over the rules for Target and the behavior I expected of them. I mean, I legit spent every second of that car ride drilling them with threats. You know the ones I'm talking about...
* If you want to walk, stay close to the cart. If you run off, you'll be in the cart quicker than a flash of lightning.
* We're going in for one thing and one thing only.
* If anyone throws a fit, you my non-napping children, will be taking a nap when we get home. End of story.
I parked the car and turned off the engine...ready...set...crap, what have I gotten myself into...aaaaaand GO!
The kids were absolute angels...while walking into the store. We all held hands, singing and skipping in together...ok, there was no singing or skipping but you get the point. We grabbed a cart at the front and continued our way past The Dollar Spot. No sooner had we passed the Target Treasure Chest of all-things-worth-a-dollar than both of my lovely little darlings darted off in opposite directions: one into the women's bathing suits and the other into women's intimates. I plastered a smile on my face, took a deep breath, and muttered under my breath, "You've got to be kidding me." I gave my daughter a look from hell. Luckily with her, one look, and she knows I mean business, so she high-tailed it back to the cart at record speed. My son, on the other hand, is the most fearless child I know. Losing us in the store was the least of his worries. I chased that kid down the best I could with my swollen, pregnant belly, huffing and puffing and purple in the face, still gritting my teeth and smiling away at passersby. "I got this everybody, no need to offer help of any kind and certainly no need to panic," I thought to myself.
Once I wrangled his strong, 3 year old tush into the cart, I heaved a huge sigh of relief and sped to the baby section as fast as humanly possible. We were nearing meltdown mode, I could feel it and at this point that's all it would've taken to make me completely lose my you-know-what. "5 minutes...5 minutes...just 5 minutes to check this car seat out and get the hell out of here," I kept telling myself.
Upon our arrival to the car seat aisle, my son announced, at the top of his lungs, "MOMMY! I NEED TO POOP!" Good....Lord...Almighty...are you kidding me?!?! We've been in the store for under 5 minutes!!!!! Another huge breath...in...out...just breathe. "Mommy is almost done and we'll stop at the potty on our way out," I calmly replied through gritted teeth. "BUT I NEED TO POOP REALLLLLLY BAAAAAAD, MOM!" Done...done...just done, throwing my hands in the air. What was I even thinking trying to do this by myself?! I start high-tailing it back towards the front where the bathrooms are located and I get my son out of the cart so I can return the red, plastic cage-of-safety. No sooner had his feet hit the ground then he was off running...again! With my heart racing and tears stinging my eyes, I chased that kid down for the final time that day and carried him, kicking and screaming in the football hold, out to the van. Oh the looks of pity coming from those passing us by, on their way into Target, looking all smug and excited for their new purchases. They made me want to spit fire. "Look away! Just keep on walking and mind your own business!" I sneered at each and every one of them, under my breath, as I marched myself and my crew to the privacy and quiet of our minivan. I hit the sliding door button, placed my children inside, climbed in myself, and shut the door behind us. For the following three minutes I had the best cry of my life while my children bawled along with me. I was embarrassed, exhausted, and defeated, because I didn't even get what I came for.
When the last tear was shed, I took a final deep, cleansing breath (oh my prenatal yoga instructor would've been so proud of me), climbed into the driver's seat, and said to my children, "When you choose to behave that way in the store, you go home." I then turned MY music up, held my head up high, and drove home singing the Pretenders' "I'll Stand By You" at the top of my lungs with the quiet, sniffling of my children coming from the backseat.
The moral of this story is that I, along with many of you I'm sure, are guilty of empty threats. But this time, my friends, I stood my ground. My children and their awful behavior were not going to win! Did I get what I needed from Target that day? No. I ended up blindly ordering the car seat on-line knowing I could return it if I didn't like it, but that's not the point. The point is...my children have NEVER acted like that in Target again. That's right...I won fair and square...high five y'all! All hail the strong moms who have finally had enough and have put their foot down for good! Amen!