This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and RESCUE blogging program.
I haven’t had too many issues with the kids, now that my husband is deployed and it’s just me. I thought I’d have a lot more than I do, but we’re managing quite fantastically at home. I have a few tough, stressful days here and there, particularly ones where I’m trying to remind my teens that, while their phones are fun devices, they are not the sole center of their universe. It’s tough to have to repeat myself several times.
I struggle to remember what it was like being a teenager. I’m sure I had my priorities a bit jacked as a kid, too, but I remember my mom’s “cleaning Saturdays” very well. I used to take pride in shining our family bathroom up like a new penny those Saturdays, or taking the Pledge and dusting my moms shelves and coffee table. It’s brought me right back to being a kid, making my table gleam with polish.
Heck, that’s how I feel about this house during this deployment. I’ve shined this entire house up like a pretty penny, just as I did all those years ago for my mother, and I’ve worked hard to keep it clean. I’m so ridiculously proud of it, too. The kids have been (mostly) doing their best to help me keep it nice, too, so I thought we’d celebrate our last official day of Spring Break celebrating how wonderful we’ve been doing.
I decided to take the kids to Walmart to pick out some plants (flowers, herbs, and vegetables), have a cook-out, and get some ice cream shakes from our favorite spot. They were so excited at the store at first, things were so great, plants were chosen here and here, our cart was brimming, kids were smiling, we all couldn’t wait to get home! But, I had promised the boys we’d replace their Beyblade stadium that didn’t make the move, so our trip to Walmart wasn’t over yet. As soon as we left the garden center and entered the store to go to the toy aisle as promised, all hell seemingly broke loose.
Firstly, Walmart didn’t sell their fertilizer in the garden section, it was found in an aisle close to the garden section, but in the store. I had the kids wait outside while I went in and got it (because, right by the garden section door was the fish area, where I’d encountered “trouble” before, I just wanted to walk by it, not get stuck peeling kids away from it). My teen daughter, who was having trouble figuring out the proper technique for pushing a cart (y’know, NOT following you so close as to NOT hit you in the back of the heel) then stopped following movement altogether and stood forever away, having me have to chase her down to put stuff in the cart. And by stuff I mean, heavy bags of Ironite, planting soil, and fertilizer that weighed eleventy-kajillion pounds. Forever away was borderline torture.
Then, when we do finally cross the threshold into the store, my eight-year-old calls EVERYONE’S ATTENTION over to the fish. Y’know, the very last thing I wanted. There was no peeling my three-year-old away from them at that point, and barely any maneuvering happening with the heavy cart of fertilizer and plants. Ten minutes later, we finally wrangled the baby away (literally, kicking and screaming) so we could make our way to the back of the store towards the toy aisle. This wasn’t shaping up too well, I’m sure you can surmise.
We passed the home section on our way, and it reminded me that I had to pick up citric acid for some homemade cleaning products using essential oils. Instead of a quick grab, I spent most of that time begging the kids to stop touching everything in the home department – mugs, plates, cups. My teenagers were otherwise entertained – staring off into space, listening to music on their headphones – completely unhelpful.
Then, we arrived. The long-feared, eagerly-awaited toy aisle. The God-forsaken toy aisle I didn’t even want to go to, but I’d made a promise, and I meant to keep it. Except, it seemed, they no longer sold Beyblades there, nor their stadiums, which made this a wasted trip to the Toy Aisle of Torture. That didn’t stop my eight-year-old from wanting and showing me everything there was to be shown. Super M was sulking, wanting the beyblades, but then he decided he’d wanted a $5 cheap Barrel of Monkeys instead (no!). Teen meanders to the movie area begging for me to spend all kinds of money on the collection of Fast and Furious movies (which, I wanted to see them all, too, but still, it was just ONE more request for ONE more thing I wasn’t already there for). Baby Sis was sulking because she couldn’t have a crappy plastic tea set, Baby V freaking because she wants this or that, my other teen repeatedly yelling out loud to everyone in the store her baby sister’s name to get her to come, but not really DOING anything physically to help, other than make even more of a spectacle.
And when my teen finally does help, god forbid it interrupted his music or phone time, he barked at the kids, angrily, instead of trying to calm the situation.
So, there I am, cart full, trying to maneuver this Gigantor Cart of Doom™ filled with soil and $&^# out of other people’s way, because the kids are in the way, I’m in the way, baby wailing, teens uncooperative, kids shoving cheap toys in my face, and all I want to do is LEAVE THE TOY AREA FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, PLEASE STOP!
But the damage was done, even though I pacified the baby with a hula hoop, to which Baby Sis gets one, Baby Dude gets one, that was the end all be all END to the trip right there, because now it was about hula hooping in the aisles, dragging the hoops, flinging the hoop, and Baby V upset she can’t hula like the other kids because they could NOT just simply HOLD THE FREAKING HOOPS IN THEIR HANDS, she storms off, pouting and screaming and throws the biggest temper tantrum as we’re about to check out.
Nope, put it back, kids. Forget the toys and the celebration we were going to have, kids, you just earned a one-way ticket to GROUNDEDVILLE! I reached in my purse for my Unicorns and Rainbows homeopathic stress remedies, but found someone had been playing in my bottle of RESCUE, and now I needed to replace it. Gah!
I walked so fast to the pharmacy area, I almost lost a couple of pouty kids on the way. I picked up that beloved yellow boxed bottle and found the nearest parent who worked at Walmart. I didn’t want to ask some pimply-faced teen who didn’t understand my plight, no, I found a Walmart-shirted employee with the recognizable bags under their eyes, gray hair tucked away, with that look of skirting death a few times in their eyes. “Ma’am..” my voice cracked and my eyes became moist, “would you mind it terribly if I opened this RESCUE spray up RIGHT FREAKING HERE AND NOW and use it before I check out?!”
We gave each other that “look” of sympathy. We’d both been there, and she nodded with her invisible fist bump stare. She knew. Thank you, Walmart employee of awesome, thank you.
“How are you today, ma’am?” The checkout gal asked.
“I’ve been better,” I mutter under my breath, barely able to maintain composure, while sliding the open box to her first. “I… had to open this, a Walmart employee over there said it was alright…” I trailed off, stifling a sniffle.
She touched my hand instead of grabbing the box. “I understand, honey. It’s okay..”
Do you encounter crazy parental situations like mine where you could use a little RESCUE, too?
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This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and RESCUE #StressLess2BMyBest blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here, as well as the crazy trips to Walmart, are my own.