As the mom to an active toddler, I have a healthy fear of Target. It’s actually pretty similar to how I felt about haunted houses at the local fair when I was a tween. Like, I knew whatever was inside wasn’t so bad that I wouldn’t be able to handle it, but I also knew this fact did not guarantee that I’d actually enjoy the experience. Like, if the universe ever decides I need to be humbled, it’s going to be from those ridiculous Target checkout moments that prove you’re a hot mess. At times, it even feels like the whoosh of the automatic doors at Target greet me a subtle gust of popcorn-scented, perfectly-heated air that also blows away all of my mom skills.
For the record, I’m not judging. We’ve all been in that situation. In fact, I need to applaud many other moms out there, because I’ve seen some skilled women expertly navigate even the most intense Target moments, grocery store moments, and those general “Why can’t you just behave for five minutes until I can get you to the car?” moments that occur in public when your kid (or kids) are in tow. However, for everyone else, and for me, allow me to share the things that happen in that checkout line when you’re not having the best of days as a mom. At least we know we're not alone, right? #Solidarity
The People Behind You Push Their Cart Into A New Line
This one can be tricky, because you might not even know it happened. If you’re distracted by your child, who may or may not be dancing in the cart, then I think it’s safe to assume you won’t see the people behind you go. It’ll just happen, slowly, and quietly, not unlike the full diaper you just realized you need to change.
There Are Things In Your Cart That You Definitely Didn’t Put There
My son loves to “help” his dad and I shop. It’s actually pretty cute, and I’ve yet to figure out what sort of logic he’s using when pulling random things off the shelf and placing them in the basket. Really though, do 2-year-old toddlers typically use logic when we’re in the grocery store? Or, um, ever?
Either way, I’m quite used to apologizing to the cashier and clarifying that, “No, thanks, we actually don’t need all 20 of those sponges."
You Realize You Forgot Something Crucial On Your List, But It’s Not Worth Going Back
Even if it’s the biggest reason we came to Target that day, we are not reloading the cart and going back around. We just aren’t. We’ll figure something else out to use in place of toilet paper until next week.
Your Child Is Definitely Not Seated Safely In The Cart
I deserve this one. I used to see unruly kids in grocery stores and think, “Surely the parents know they’re supposed to be seated and buckled in, right?” Now I know that, yes, the parents do know. They just had to make a split-second decision of whether or not to allow their kid to sit in the main part of the cart, or deal with a level five tantrum in the middle of the scented candle aisle.
The Candy Rack Is Demolished
Not that I’ve never succeeded in getting my son to put back the candy bar he’s asking for in the exact place it belongs, I just don’t always succeed in doing so.
For the record, we always try to pick-up after ourselves. I just can’t promise that we always do a great job. By the way, have I mentioned that my son is 2?
You Forget A Critical Part Of The Payment Process
Are we chip reading or are we swiping? Am I signing the screen, or am I not signing the screen? Do you need my pin number? Do I need to remember my pin number? Why are there so many buttons to push? Why is that thing beeping at me?
For anyone who doesn’t have a tiny person tugging at their leg, this part is probably super-easy. For everyone else? It makes the exit feel so close, yet still so, so far.
The Cashier Gives You A Sympathetic Look, And Does Not Even Try To Chat
I’m totally rehearsed in giving back an innocent glance that says, “What? You think this is bad? This is nothing. Ha, just kidding, can we please add like 10 tubs of ice cream and a few extra bottles of wine to my purchase.”
Your Child Clearly Can Not Even Hear You Talking To Them Because They Are Too Busy Shouting At The Top Of Their Lungs
I mean, I personally think my son’s scream-y renditions of "Old MacDonald" are adorable. However, I’m sure the people picking out sympathy cards in the gift aisle might not agree.
You Have To Dig Through Multiple Layers Of Goldfish Crackers, Wipes, And Toy Trucks To Find Your Wallet
But, hey, at least you can usually find that lip gloss you thought you lost in the process of searching! I’ll take it. If I’m going to be a hot mess, I’m going to be one with shiny lips, dammit.