I wrote this letter to Target the other night after the worst trip with my boys yet.
I love you. I really do. But sadly our relationship isn’t working out for me anymore. I promise it’s not you. It’s me. But I just can’t do this anymore. Trips to see you suck the living life out of me.
Maybe someday, we could try things again. But for now. Just remember me.
And forgive me for that lipstick I imagined smearing on the cereal boxes. I was angry when I did that. I didn’t mean that.
The Girl Who Used To Love You
I’ve been a mom for 6.5 years now. And I’d say at this point, I’ve adapted to the “normal” miserable parenting stuff. You know, the unfun stuff we all do to get to enjoy the fun stuff of parenting.
- Sleepless nights with a newborn (or toddler, preschooler or gradeschooler if we’re referring to the children I birthed form my womb)
- Tantrums with overtired kids
- Daily partaking in morning, noon and evening conversations with picky eaters as to why they must eat more than goldfish, animal crackers and cheerios for their meals
- Thirty-minute long intense negotiations with a completely unreasonable toddler as to why wearing their pajamas, swimsuit and snowboots to school may not be the best choice
But despite my adaption to all of this, there is still nothing that ever prepares me for the experience of going to Target with my three kids. It gets me every time.
Every. dang. time. I tell you.
The morning before I go, I begin mentally preparing for the event like its’s a marathon. You know pushups. Light jogging. Carb-loading. And I have to because I know it’s something so much greater than a race I’m preparing for. I’m preparing to willingly walk into a torture chamber disguised by cute necklaces and awesome home decor and thousands of other things I’d love to slowly peruse through but never have time to. Yes, you heard me right. I compared sweet little TARGET to a torture chamber. But just think about it.
The “RED” sign perfectly symbolizing the blood, sweat and tears I’m getting ready to lose. The word “TARGET” symbolizing the invisible sign I have on my back indicating I’m the sucker falling for IT all again. And you might be wondering what the IT is that I’m not-so-warmly referring to. And I will tell you.
IT is the game of lies Target feeds to me…THAT I LOSE EVERY TIME.
- You can shop with three kids and enjoy yourself.
- You can multitask with grocery shopping and getting a new shirt.
- Popcorn can buy you an extra 30 minutes in the store.
- Buy that caramel macchiato because you can enjoy it.
- This spacious cart will keep the kids happy.
Here’s a look into how the game normally goes for me…
I walk in the door with a smile on my face. “Oh, I love my boyfriend’s carts. (We will refer to Target as my boyfriend …soon to be ex-boyfriend from this point on.) He always has the best carts for kids. Let me strap the kids in. And buy them some popcorn.
While I’m at it, why not a coffee for me? It will be so relaxing to sip on my coffee while I shop. My boyfriend is so sweet to offer me the option of coffee. Isn’t he?” I think to myself but then while waiting for my super relaxing coffee. The fussing starts…
“Mom, he kicked me….Mom, he took my popcorn.”
“Share, boys. Be kind. We’re only going to be here like 20 minutes.”
(Just to clarify, if you send me in to buy a pack of gum, I could not do that in even 20 minutes. But I lie to myself anyway.) So, it starts. “Okay, focus. We’re here to get groceries, a soccer ball, and shoes for the baby. I CAN DO THIS. THEY CAN BEHAVE. I CAN ENJOY MY DATE.”
“Boys, eat your popcorn. This will be quick.” Then my boyfriend shows me his newest section of cute tank tops and shorts. So I stop and browse. For a quick minute. Meanwhile. Popcorn starts flying.
“Boys, do I need to take that away?” I’m holding two shirts in my hand, while pushing the cart with my hip and balancing/sipping the sweet coffee my boyfriend got me. “This is a fun date.” I try and lie to myself. “Who needs to try on a shirt anyway?” I head to the next section then quickly remember I need baby soap. I get the soap then I find myself strangely distracted looking at baby socks of all super necessary and important things.
The boys start asking to get out. “Okay, fellas.” I try to muster up my sweet mommy voice. “I just need to find the right size for your brother. Wait, why am I buying baby socks?” I ask myself. “Because my boyfriend always carries the cutest baby socks. That’s why.” I crazily converse within my inner self.
“Ooops, mommy.” We spilled your coffee.”
“Oh, awesome. On the shirt I
was thinking about am now buying.”
So we head to the sporting section for a soccer ball and pass all the toys. Suddenly, all the boys start asking to get out. Please can we look at toys. Please. Please. Please. Pretttttty Puuuuhhhhlease!!!”
“Okay,” I give in. “But just for a quick moment while I clean up the coffee.” But within the five seconds it takes them to get out, the baby runs in front of someone’s cart and almost gets clipped. As I’m apologizing to the woman who nearly killed my baby with her shopping cart, I then scoop him up and begin to strap him back in. He starts screaming. And doesn’t stop.
Yay. for. Me.
I feel a little sweat start to drip down my neck. I notice my heart rate is elevated. I’d like to say “my boyfriend” is giving me butterflies in my stomach. But not the good kind. The kind where I wish I could hop on one of those butterflies and fly out of the store. But I know the only exit I’m making out of this store is with kicking and screaming. Possibly by me. :)
I tell the other boys to forget about looking at toys. They start whining. I am dragging one by the hand out of the aisle. I notice many eyes on us. And suddenly. I find myself wanting to yell out things like, “If you’re enjoying the show so much. It’s only $5 a ticket.” Suddenly, I feel abandoned by my boyfriend. Where has he gone? This no longer feels like a date. It just feels so, so, so freaking hot.
I make it to the grocery section and head straight to the freezers so I can stick my head inside one for a minute. As I pull my head out, I notice my son has peed his pants. I don’t care. I just want to get in my sexy mini van at this point.
The baby is still squealing so I open a box of cookies and start shoving some down his throat. I think they are the processed kind with lots of GMOS. I am filling up with guilt for feeding him something so unhealthy as I am filling up his mouth with their morsels. But I’m so elated that everything is quiet, I let my big boys eat one too.
Suddenly, my date seems to be going well again. I almost can hear romantic music playing. I’m actually gathering my groceries peacefully and quickly as my children are shoving down sugar with absolutely NO effects. Praise God. It’s a miracle. Because normally sugar makes them act like total terrors. I think to myself, “Why was I freaking out back there? This date is going great! Ooooh. Makeup. I’m out of concealer. I might as well grab that on my way out.” The sick twisted game starts again.
Cue boy sugar freak out session in 3, 2, 1…
I’m looking at lipsticks as the boys start wrestling in the aisle and as I turn to stop them, the baby grabs a bottle of concealer in a glass container and throws it on the ground. Makeup all over the place. If only it were red to symbolize the red blood I have pumping through my veins thanks to adrenaline.
Cue mommy meltdown in 3, 2, 1…
We start rushing to the checkout. “Where are all the checkers? Why do they have all these machines if they only have 5 of them manned?!” Just then, I see one worker walking down the aisle and I tell them about the mess on Aisle 2. I’m tempted to say, “But why don’t you check me out first? Do you see my son’s wet pants? Yes, that’s pee!!” But I don’t.
Instead. I look for the closest register open to us. And of course there’s 6 people ahead of me looking all nice and relaxed as if they are enjoying their TARGET date. And the slowest checker ever! I don’t know why, but I suddenly find myself annoyed at all the people standing in line in front of me. They are all just watching us. Smiling at the boys. Watching the baby unbuckle himself time and time again from the cart while the other two practice karate.
“Hey, here’s a genius idea. Why don’t you let us ahead of you since it looks like you all are relaxing and I’m clearly NOT!” As I find myself trying to stop my rude thoughts, I suddenly feel like I’m so hot I could be standing in the pits of hell. I have sweat under my arms. I want out of this store! I then begin envision taking the lipstick in my cart and writing “SOS!!!!!!” on the cereal boxes at the end of the aisle hoping someone will help me get out of that store!
And just like a heartbroken high school girl left at prom while her boyfriend goes off with someone else, I’m left pathetically feeling that way too. “Oh, boyfriend. Where are you? I feel so all alone.”
Metaphorically speaking because I’m totally not alone. In fact, the boys must have noticed the target on my back because they are using it to tickle me repeatedly.Which would be cute if I wasn’t trying to strap down a pig back into the grocery cart. A super loud squealy one.
I would continue about having to use two forms of payment because one card was demagnetized, but I will not. I will just say that when I got out of there, I felt like I had just escaped prison and I still had no soccer ball or baby shoes and a shirt that didn’t fit with a coffee stain. It was at that moment, I realized, I’m done with these lies. No longer will I do this. No longer will I fall for your games.
So, again, I say, dear Target. Good bye. I’m 31 years old. I have no time for your games. Your awesome home decor, your yummy sandwiches, your cute flip flops. They just don’t appeal to me anymore.
I will not be back next week. I will not be back next week. I will not be back next week. Wait, did you get those coral pillows in for your spring collection? The ones that would match my living room so perfectly? If so, just disregard this letter and see you at 10 on Tuesday. You’ll know it’s me by my shirt. It has a big red Target on my back.
The Biggest Sucker of them All
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