So, there I was in the middle of Target dragging my 2 year old to the register screaming while my 4 year old sang beep bop boo at the top of her lungs and I realized, i just don’t give a flying monkey anymore. No really. Judge away.
Ok, let me start at the beginning. . .
I walked into Target with a simple mission. Exchange toddler viking’s shoes and try to find manilla paper. [In case you live under a rock or haven’t brought a tiny crotch troll into the world yet its almost school season. ]
Seems simple right?
About three seconds into this nightmare my youngest, baby jack jack, starts trying to push all the buttons on the ATM while I’m talking to the nice customer service man. He looks at us with those judgy eyes thinking, “oh great not another mother who can’t control her kids.” At least that’s what my anxiety tells me. So I finally catch the little gremlin and attempt to walk towards the shoe section while my 2 year screams that she doesn’t want to hold my hand, “I’m a big girl!”
Mentally roll my eyes and sigh.
I grab her hand anyways, cause you know baby snatchers lurk on every shoe aisle corner, and proceed to find the correct shoe size for toddler viking(my 4 year old, duh keep up.) Decide to walk through the baby section to the school supplies. Now this is where things get tricky and melt down 2 begins. Baby Jack jack now wants to play with toys instead of going to the farthest corner of the store where they keep anything of actual importance during holidays or school season so you have to walk past a bunch of crap you don’t need, but feel compelled to buy. Like that pineapple Jojo Siwa bow that was on sale for 3.98. I mean come on, what a steal!
She flails a few times goes limp on the way pretends she’s spaghetti and can’t walk. You know the usual. I try to shake off all of the building tension and repeat myself as calmly as possible. “Please stop, if you want to continue walking you will hold my hand or I will find a buggy to put you in.” Resist the urge to spank my tiny tyrant for fear of becoming the abusive crazy mother who can’t control my kids. All the while my anxiety takes over and makes me boil.
Literally boil from the inside out. It starts to feel hot and humid. That’s when I realize I’m sweating and finding it hard to see straight. I find myself mentally pep talking myself and telling my inner whining to bitch up and finish what you need to do and get out.
Fight of flight kicks in and I give up finding manilla paper after searching every aisle in that deep dark money pit corner. I begin making my way to the checkout lanes and settle on the self checkout because less staring and people to talk to. Baby Jack Jack decides walking is for normies and plummets her 32lb body to the shiny fluorescent lit linoleum floor. Instead of thinking clearly I just drag her the last few feet. Probably not what most people do, however I say fuck it and then plop her in front of my next endeavor. All the while toddler Viking is still in her happy annoying place of song and dance.
I fight the urge to beg and plead with my children to be good, consider bribing them with snacks, then decide not to reward bad behavior. When someone dressed in red approaches from beside me.
“Did you find everything you needed today ma’am?”
I resist the urge to respond and smile with a nod. Breathe Deborah Breathe! My vision starts to clear a bit as I swipe my card. Seeing the “Card Approved Remove Card” sign releases small endorphins from retail therapy and I begin to feel slightly better.
I turn to see my children playing with magazines trying to enjoy the sight of them laughing together and playing. Because they won’t always be so happy and care free. Anxiety sinks in to alert me that I’m taking up too much space someone obviously needs this self check spot.
And we leave.
Sometimes I let my anxiety rule my day, maybe even my week. However I am always trying to remember to breathe and let my children be children. They will never be this small again. Its hard when you think everyone is judging you. When your brain lies to you and makes you think or assume everyone is starring. I may be one of few women who deal with this, but some how I know its okay. Always find someone you can talk to when you have moments like this. Pretending like nothing happened is never the way to deal with an episode. Remember you’re not alone in this and keep on trucking along. Your little one(s) will thank you.
The most important thing to me is to make sure I don’t lose it again around them. Its been a very long time since I had one of these experiences. What with my first child starting pre-k the stress is high! Just remember to breathe.