Maybe you’ve been stuck inside for a few days and need a change of scenery. Maybe you’re out of an essential household item: toilet paper, coffee, Lindt truffles and aren’t thinking straight as a result. Or maybe you have older children that can actually verbalize their needs (“Mom, can I please get new pants. My friends think I’ve started wearing lady’s capris.”) and today is the only day free to buy them what they need.
Whatever the reason, you’re facing the possibility of loading up the van with a gaggle of children, at least one bag of supplies (diapers, wipes, sippy cups, hip flask, etc.) and you’re still in yesterday’s clothes…or is it the outfit from two days ago?…. never mind… You can do this!
Five tips to surviving Target with a barrel of monkeys.
1. Leave right after everyone has eaten something. I don’t care what it is, so long as there is food in their stomachs. Then announce you’re not buying any. food. at the cafe or to snack on, unless that’s your favorite brand of hell. Maybe it’s Lent and you’re feeling in need of a good mortification, then fine, otherwise the more gorged the better.
2. Maybe you’re out of food at home and that’s why you’re heading to Target. Okay then. Maybe you need that cafe visit carrot to dangle in front of your kids, lest they never leave the Lego aisle. Fine. Just be sure to loudly announce your intentions as you walk through the store so everyone else will know to clear out for the crazy lady from the day care and you’ll have no trouble snagging a table or seven for your well-rounded meal of popcorn, pretzels, slushies and a bag of apple slices someone will promptly dump on the floor.
3. If your older children want to bring money to buy themselves something, just accept that it’s going to suck and be a total waste of their money. Take a deep breath and just smile when they take the only $3 they have and blow it on plastic junk from the dollar bins because “I have to buy something! Yes! I REALLY want this!!!”
4. If you’re not going to buy their good behavior with a toy, pretend like, you’ll totally remember to get them this exact Barbie dress / action figure with oversized hands for their birthday…in eight months. Take a picture to act like you share a special bond with said child over this hideous piece of imported garbage. “Oh no, I wouldn’t want to forget this for the world!!”
5. You’re not going to enjoy yourself. Even if you pick up a Rubbermaid trashcan, drag it to the Starbucks counter and order the barista, with just a hint of madness in your voice, to “Fill it to the top with (your favorite calorie boost) and damn right I want whipped cream.” I mean, I do that anyway because then I’m numb to the cashiers chatter about saving 5% and whatever she mentioned about Teddy driving out the door into the parking lot. Know that when you get home, the rest of your day is shot so be sure to pick up some frozen pizzas. But, rest assured, this trip to Target will remain in the children’s memory much longer than any other special day trip you may plan for them (zoo, historic reenactment homestead, family reunion).
Grandparent or adult who cares: “Hey kids, what did you do last week?”
ANY child of mine: “Oh, uh, nothing…I guess.”
Me: “Wait, don’t you remember we went to the Wetlands Nature Center? And learned about ecosystems? Remember how fun and education it was????”
Same favorite child: “Oh yeah. But OH! We also went to Target and I bought a new Lego minifigure with the last of my money and even though I already had it, it’s cool. Plus Mama bought us all juice boxes. We were also going to have apple slices, but Teddy dumped them on the floor so we ate cookies instead!”
I’m currently in the midst of a Target hangover. The regret, the sickness, feeling guilt about all the over-indulgence. Ugh. So much better when I indulge in Target alone. No one to rub in the fact that I agreed to spend way too much money on a pair of pajamas with Minions on them.
So anyway, don’t forget these tips next time you need to shop and remember this old saying, “Beer before liquor, never be sicker. Liquor before Target and everyone has a good time.” #bullseye