So, let’s say you have three kids. And, you never really go anywhere because: THREE KIDS. Staying home is infinitely easier since your kids seemingly lose all control when you release them amongst the general public. Also, there was that one incident at Target that one time when your kids started LICKING THE CART and everyone stared because you weren’t using your indoor voice anymore. Thus, running errands without any of your kids is preferred. Or, maybe take just one of them. The oldest one that can help carry stuff. So, let’s say that, with rare exception, one parent stays at home with a couple of the kids while the other parent goes out and runs all of the errands.
Then, one day, your husband tells you that he needs pants. New work pants. Nice pants. Pants that require a trip to a fancy department store. And, you know your husband can’t handle that by himself. He’s not a fancy department store kind of guy. In fact, you’re not even sure he knows how to get to the fancy department store since it’s not located directly off of a bike path. In summary, he needs you there to Consult on the Pants. So, you have no other choice but to take your three kids + your husband to the fancy department store. If given the option, you’d rather stay at home and clean all of the grout between your kitchen floor tiles with a toothbrush but you don’t have that option because: PANTS.
The next day, you wake up and realize it’s Sunday and it’s the last day of the weekend and the last opportunity to go shopping before the week begins. Basically, it’s Pants Day. So, you lie in bed and try to psych yourself up to go to the fancy department store with your three kids. But, the more you think about it, the more you start to feel kind of confident. After all, the little one is two now and she walks fully upright so that’s not so bad. And, the oldest one likes to push the stroller so that’s helpful. The middle one is trouble so you’ll have to be extra vigilant that you don’t lose him but otherwise, you think to yourself, we can do this? We can do this!
To continue the positive vibe, you go all Coach Taylor on your kids at the breakfast table, getting everyone EXCITED! to go shopping! at the fancy department store! You remember to cover all the important leaving the house rules like, “don’t run away,” and “nobody poop anywhere but the bathroom.” Your kids, however, are skeptical because they don’t recognize this store of which you speak. Mainly, because it isn’t called Target.
Knowing that executing a whole family shopping excursion takes precision, you set yourself up for success by making sure nap time is a complete disaster. The middle one refuses to sleep at all and the youngest one sleeps too long which ensures that two of your three kids will be a hot mess/ticking time bomb by the time you even walk out the door. Assuming you can even get out the door because you have to repeat your request that everyone put on their shoes and turn their shirts right side out approximately two thousand twenty-three times before any of your three kids even appear to be taking your request under consideration.
But, let’s say, you made it out the door! Good for you! You’re on your way! And, only one of your kids is throwing a temper tantrum because their seat belt is too tight.
You arrive at the fancy department store and you set out to find the fancy pants and your kids are kind of excited because there is an escalator. Like, they’re kind of losing their minds over the escalator. Then, your husband casually mentions to you that maybe your three kids should get out more.
Finally! You have found the pants section and you start searching in vain for the right size of the pants that your husband needs in the right color but you both have to pause every four seconds because your middle kid is doing that thing that kids do where they hide in the middle of the clothing racks. And, for a split terrifying second you think they’re missing so you have a heart attack and die right there in the men’s fine suiting section. So, your kid is doing that over and over and over again and so you keep dying and that’s really stressful. And, you really wish those racks didn’t exist. Like, it could just be a big square room – no racks in the middle – with the walls lined with pants in the exact size and color you need so you wouldn’t have to keep losing your kid. But, that would probably be impractical for the store but you’re the customer so you think you’re supposed to always be right.
Then, magically, the pants appear in the right size and the right color and your husband declares them the perfect fit so you pay for the pants and then everyone asks for more rides on the escalator so you have to do that.
And, you feel on top of the world because Mission Accomplished. So, you agree to walk around the mall with your three kids + husband and the kids are excited because the mall is two levels and there are escalators! absolutely! everywhere!
Then, in dramatic double-take fashion, your three kids spot the ride-on train that the mall operates. It’s chugging along, going in circles, tooting it’s little horn, demanding that exasperated parents, just like yourself, purchase tickets. Quickly, the little golf cart train usurps the escalator in the must-ride department so your husband heads off to Figure It All Out. Only, the train has already begun on its last ride of the day so tickets can no longer be procured. This is the worst news in the history of news to your three kids. They all start giving you the side-eye because they missed the last ride of the day by about five minutes which is the exact length of time they had to stand outside Pottery Barn while you browsed inside. So, once again, everything is your fault and your three kids all look like this:
But, then! Then! You find a big fountain with water and you give your kids all of the money destined for the train tickets so they could throw it at something else just as useful.
And, everyone starts to smile again and so you get bold and even a little bit reckless and suggest to your husband that you take them into Crate & Barrel. And then, your three kids do not break a thing in Crate & Barrel and you are able to buy those cute dish towels you saw in the catalogue and you are sort of sad that cute dish towels are an Important Thing to you now and question what that says about your life but, NEVERTHELESS, you are beaming with pride and almost dangerously giddy so your husband suggests that you maybe, possibly, just might be able to go out to dinner. You wonder if you’re pressing your luck. You know that a shopping to dinner out transition is one of the most difficult parenting levels to achieve but you proceed with optimism because how bad could it end?
And, lo, it ended badly.