The moment when you realise you’re the parent of wildlings is like tripping over and landing in a steaming pile of sh!t. It takes you by surprise, feels a little hot and gross, and leaves you embarrassed and wishing you crawl into a hole. That’s what it felt like for me a month ago anyway. Overall, I would say my kids are beautiful and well-rounded people, but to go anywhere in public with them at the moment is a nightmare.
I was ignorant in the past when I used to see kids running wild and the parents just sitting back watching the sh!t show unfold. Screaming, arguing, fighting over who gets a go on the swing first. ‘Why aren’t they stepping in?’, I’d question about the parent/s just sitting there.
It is only just now I have realised why they don’t step in – there is no point because they won’t listen anyway. And hey, maybe they do discipline their children most of the time and I just caught them on their off day. Who’s to judge? Not me anymore, because I have just realised that I am in fact now one of those parents. And it feels a little sh!t and somehow like I have failed in some way because I can’t seem to get my kids to listen to me when we’re out in public. Yes, kids are free-spirited and inquisitive and energetic. But just once in a while I would love it if they actually did what I said when we were out in civilization. Even if they only listened while we were out in public I could at least pretend that I was nailing this whole parenting gig. But no, that is not my reality dear friend.
Take for instance my recent shopping trip *cringe*. I walked in to Officeworks last week to get a packet of envelopes and was quickly bombarded with questions from my little tribe. “Can I get this?” (No. 1 said pointing at the stickers), while number 2 chimed in“Can we get this chalk? And I NEED more glue for school”. I turn around and witness my three and five-year-old running up and down the isles seeing how much crap can fall off the shelves as they do aeroplane arms.
After grabbing what I needed we then proceed to the counter with $80 worth of sh!t that we probably didn’t really need but apparently did because we’ve run out of play dough and sharpeners and glittery stickers, so my kids tell me. They got me in a moment of weakness as I was so desperate to make it out of the store without screaming or crying, or both. As I’m throwing (not joking either) the crap on the counter, my three year old (Jonathan) and five year old (Esme) are squealing over lollies.
Damn that man who came up with the whole idea of putting confectionary at the counter. I would love to lock him in a room with 100 screaming kids for an hour, so he gets how painful it is going into any store with little children. Here’s an idea. How about instead of putting sugary treats at the checkout they offer you a freaking medal for making it through yet another shopping trip with young children.
By this point I could feel my heart racing and my eyes become watery as I’m desperately trying to compose myself. I felt backed into a corner and if I wanted to salvage any ounce of dignity (although by this point I’d be surprised if I had any left) I had to compromise with them. Reluctantly through gritted teeth I told my two little enemies I would get the lollies, but they would have to earn the treat at home.
So, I’m paying for the stuff we bought but probably didn’t need (there’s strike 1 already), little ones are going off their nana because they are fighting over who gets to hold the lollies (strike 2). I walk out with my tail between my legs so desperately trying to fight back tears. Then comes the f*cking trifecta as the younger three squeal “I want to press the button on the lift”, “No! It’s my turn”, “But it’s not faaaaaiiiiiirrrrr!!!”.
We get in the lift and Esme cracks it because she didn’t press the button. Doors close and all I can hear is her screaming as the lift ever so slowly makes it down one floor. We get out and I tell my older two (dear Julianna and Eli) to run up the stairs and rescue her. Finally, this tiny little thing with big fat tears sitting on her cheeks steps off the lift. She breaks into a huge smile. “I got to press the button mum”. I couldn’t help but laugh.
The little things seem so trivial to me but in my children’s eyes I guess they are huge. If only there was a way we could meet in the middle- if they actually listened to me I would let them ride the elevator a couple of times so they all got a chance to press the button. And hey, did it ever occur to them that I might want to press the button once in a while?!
Cheers for now.
Your friend and disheartened peer