I did a post similar to this already, but because unsolicited advice is thrown at me in a continual stream--and because just the other day I wanted to explode with some more "Eff Offs," and Just Jennifer created a new meme at just the perfect time--I'm going to vent. Again.
So here is my first installment of Fantasy Eff Off Friday. Got something you need to vent about, someone you want to lash out? Go link up!
If you're an avid follower of my blog, you probably know I hate Walmart. With a passion. I'm grateful for the convenience, but there's just something about being there that makes me agitated and on-edge. Beyond the vast spaciousness or the confusion that comes because they've moved something to a different aisle yet again, or even beyond the fact that the items I need always seem to be out of stock or off the shelves.
Or even beyond the fact that I ask Sam if he needs to go potty when we first get there, and every time he says no. And--every time--thirty minutes into it, he decides he does have to go...soooo bad. Now that I have my cart full of merchandise. And no merchandise is allowed in the restrooms. And I can't send him in alone. Or leave my cart with the other kids outside the restroom alone.
Even beyond that.
I turn into Momzilla as I'm pushing that cart down the aisle, trying with all my willpower not to ram into old women in motorized carts, slow people, or just those people who love to block the aisle in general. I. Just. Want. To. Get. Out of there. I'm alone with all three kids. And that says it all. Josh opening the shampoo and squirting it all over himself, the cart, and inside my diaper bag when I'm not looking: that says it all.
Oh, great. Another trip to the bathroom. Where I ask the lady employee giving me the evil eye to watch my cart, since I can't take it into the bathroom with me. She looks overwhelmed just from looking at my kids, and can hardly nod. I take that as a yes and leave her alone with my stuff. Trusting she's not some thief, since my wallet is in there, too.
So, if you see me at Walmart, with a red face, a sweat-gleamed brow, and steam coming from my ears, it's probably best just to keep walking. Keep your mouth shut, try to ignore my bad parenting, and whatever you do, do not make eye contact.
I ask myself, why does it seem like the unsolicited advice always occurs at Walmart? And why do I keep going to such a monopolized mall when I hate it so much?
Oh yeah. The convenience. They're cheap, and usually have everything. The less stops I have to make and the less times I have to drag my kids out of the car, the better. So you win, Walmart. Again. As always.
And Wednesday was particularly bad. We'd just gotten done spending an hour at the ER so they could followup on Josh's stitches--an hour of waiting, just so they could take a gander and tell me everything looked fine. It was just me and my kids, and when it's just me and my kids in settings such as doctors or hospitals, they love to make me miserable.
Even beyond the way they do at Walmart.
This time, they all decided to cry at the same time. Sam kept pulling back the curtain to the space next to us, where some sickly woman waited. He also had to yell and run around, since he knew it was a place he shouldn't.
Then there was Josh. When he wasn't crying from being back in that place, he was also pulling back the curtain, swinging on it, and dancing in it. And I tried to control them, people, I really did. But when I have the joyous background noise of Luke's screams, I have to weigh my priorities. Preserve everyone's hearing, or hold down my kids?
I picked preserve everyone's hearing. Especially because I heard the woman next to me tell the doctor she had a migraine. And when I decide to feed Luke, my kids know my hands are tied. And they become even more out-of-control.
Sometimes I just wish I had six arms. And that's what I wanted to say to all the silent watchers. That and, "No, I'm not a single parent. I just feel like it sometimes."
And, "Yes, I did have to bring them all."
Needless to say, all I got were either looks of pity or looks of chastisement.
And then to top it off, I had to lug all three kids to the car afterward during a massive monsoon. Massive.
Oh, and we were parked as far away from the entrance as we could be. By the time we got to the car, we were completely soaked through, Josh was crying (he hates water), and Luke was screaming. I guess there was one good thing though. Sam was laughing, since he loves getting wet.
That was when we ventured to Walmart. Stupid, you might say? Why not wait until someone is with you, you ask?
In our situation, it doesn't matter if all the kids are crying, it's raining, or I'm tired. If we are in town, we have to take advantage of Walmart. We have to knock down the shopping list, since we don't have the convenience of living close to civilization. We take advantage while we are there, before we venture 1.5 hours home.
We waited in the car for a bit, until the rain slowed, and when we finally got out, I put the baby, in the car seat, at the top of the cart, Josh in the main part of the cart, and Sam walking next to us (thought I wish he wasn't, since he runs up and down the aisles and gets into everything). Oh, and the diaper bag is in there with Josh, too, getting ransacked.
So, where do I fit the hoards of groceries I have to get?
My only option--unless I let Josh walk, too, which I try to avoid, since he wreaks more havoc than Sam, and I wouldn't be able to accomplish a single thing in that store--is to have Josh stand by the diaper bag in the cart and hold on tight.
And now that I'm typing this, I'm thinking that maybe I should get a leash. Hmm...good idea. Kinda wish I would have thought of it sooner.
Anyway, when the groceries start piling up, I did just that: made him stand. And that's when the looks of judgment come. And the comments. All from old people who haven't had kids in probably fifty years.
"Sit down, young man!" an old man told him, as though he was his guardian and I wasn't standing right there. As though I'm some dense breeding machine who isn't fit for parenting. "That is dangerous! There are hundreds of deaths each year by kids who've fallen out of shopping carts!"
And even more irritating was how stern his voice was, like Josh was being horribly naughty.
I. Swear. To. Hell. I will punch you.
Instead I glared, fuming inside. I stayed silent as he sent me his reproaching eyes and I sent him the eyes of a defiant daughter in return, and then he eventually passed.
Seriously, where does he come off?
Next, another old man, glaring at my rowdy kids in passing, jeers, "How many more are you gonna pop out?"
I laugh politely, not trying to hide the edge coming through, and move my feet faster, desiring to be outside those Walmart doors even more desperately now. Especially because I noticed Josh was tearing holes in all the boxes of pasta I just put in the basket.
Next, I'm standing there, comparing two products and trying to determine the best value with the coupons I spent too much time searching for, and the kids are taking advantage of my loss of attention. Because if I had my attention on them 100% of the time, there's no way I'd be able to shop. And they know that.
By this point, Josh is out of the cart because there is simply no room for him, and both he and Sam are racing down the aisle and knocking things down. I stop what I'm doing and sternly snap, "STOP running. NOW!"
An older couple passes, and the woman says under her breath to her Marlon-Brando-in-his-older-years-looking husband, "You hear that? You hear her?"
Really, woman? I will chuck this carton of eggs at your head.
Lastly, not even a minute later, I have the kids herded at the basket, my eyes still comparing products, and the kids decide to start crying, "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!..."
"Kids!" I yell. "Stop! For just one second!" I feel like Chris Farley as the bus driver on Billy Madison.
"Aw," the old lady next to me says, sending her mushy grandmother-like stare at my boys, "They just want your attention, Mommy. They're not misbehaving, they're just telling you they love you. Nothing wrong with that."
And there you have it: the WORST comment of that day. I felt my eyes twitching as my heart raced, and I clenched my fist in an attempt to keep myself in check. Before I could kick her in the throat, I stormed off, forgetting the eggs I needed in the process.
Because apparently I'm a self-absorbed mom who pays no attention to my attention-starving children.
Lady, you had NO idea what my kids were putting me through that day. In fact, you do not know my kids at all, or the way they misbehave vs. the way they show affection.
To all of you who felt it was your place to judge me on yet another stressful, hair-pulling trip into town on Wednesday, I say....
Sigh. There. I said it.
Maybe next time I will actually get the guts to say it to their faces.
Probably not. Which means I will continue to use my blog as my venting platform.