Sometimes, I take my kids out in public and everything is awesome. They behave. I am calm. My parenting skills are astounding, and everyone remembers their manners. I feel like a superstar. Yesterday was not one of those days. Yesterday was the other kind of day.
Yesterday it was my turn to make the hour-long drive to the farm where my egg buying group gets their eggs. Did you know I had an egg-buying group? It’s something I stumbled on. The way it works is that there are seven of us, and we all get a certain number of eggs every two weeks. We buy enough eggs between us that we get a really good price on the eggs, which are free-range, organic and everything good. We take turns making the trip, so once every 14 weeks I have to go there, and the other weeks someone delivers eggs to my house, which is awesome.
Anyway, it was my week to go to the farm, and because it was Easter Monday, I had my kids with me. We set off in an easterly direction first thing, and I was totally patting myself on the back for getting everyone out of the house on time. They say pride goeth before a fall, so my smugness probably should have been a red flag, but I ignored it.
By the time that we reached the farm, my kids were bouncing off the walls in the back of the car. The weather was gorgeous and they wanted to run around. They chased the chickens while I loaded up the eggs and paid, but when it was time to get back in the car things turned. I was parked behind the farmer, blocking her in, and she had to leave. My kids weren’t coming when I called them. I had an unwelcome opportunity to engage in some challenging parenting in front of someone else. Not much fun.
Luckily, it didn’t take too long to get everyone buckled in, and we set off in the direction of home. My kids were still antsy, though, and there was a store in the area I’d been meaning to visit, so we decided to stop in to take a look around. When we got in the store, three-and-a-half-year-old Jacob took off. I kept an eye on him, and asked him to stay nearby, but I didn’t lay down the law too much because the store was empty and he was going to be sitting for a while. Things were mostly under control, but I didn’t freak out when he decided to take a little jog around the produce, with his sister not far behind.
Jacob announced that he loved the store, and things started to improve once we found some samples of handcrafted marshmallows. My kids at three each, and I looked the other way because I was choosing my cheese and they were being still and quiet. Then it was time to check out, and everything took a turn for the worse again.
Jacob didn’t want to leave the store. Jacob wanted more marshmallows. His big sister Hannah started yelling at him, in an effort to get him to stand still. It didn’t work, it only added to the volume level. Jacob wouldn’t hold my hand. Jacob wouldn’t stand beside me. As I tried to pay and wrangle two children, Jacob managed to knock over a large display basket full of baguettes in paper bags that were open on the end. All of that bread ended up on the floor, ruined, and unsaleable. And I hadn’t even managed to successfully pay yet.
Luckily, everyone was very nice about the fact that my child had ruined $30 worth of bread. They told me not to worry about it, and I managed to successfully finish my payment and take the walk of shame out of the store, while my preschooler loudly demanded to go back in and have more marshmallows. Because that’s what you do when you create chaos and drive your mother to tears – you ask for more marshmallows.
As I said, sometimes I take my kids out in public and everything is awesome. And sometimes we block someone in who wants to leave, eat more than our fair share of the treat samples, and leave the store in disarray as we walk out. Because that’s what being a parent is like.
Have you ever had to do the walk of shame with a child who has ruined a store, restaurant or other public place? I could use some commiseration!