YouTube/Angie Grace

I Lived In Target With My Kids For A Day, & It Really Is The Best Place On Earth

Ad failed to load

We have all dreamed about being alone in a department store overnight, tell me I'm wrong. It was the plot of The Greatest Store On Earth, A Mom For Christmas (sort of), Mannequin (more loosely), and at least one teen novel. The possibilities for jumping on mattresses, riding sleds down the escalator and helping yourself to fancy gift boxes of chocolate-covered nuts for dinner are still ~tantalizing~. If I had the chance to get locked in a department store overnight, my choice today would be the place we all think of as our second home, Target. As a mom of four kids aged almost-one-year-old to 10, it is impossible to get a night off momming to live out my dream, so instead, I decided to spend a day living at Target with my kids. Your happy place? I put our collective love of Target to the test.

At any given time, I could take a 'mommy time out' and go chill on the patio furniture, with or without the kids.

Living in Los Angeles, I have three Targets very close to my house: the big three-story mall one at the Galleria, the slightly smaller two-story one at the other mall, and the very small almost un-Target one that's super close to my house. The Galleria Target is way too crowded all of the time. I tend to go to the other-mall Target, the two-story one. It's the chill Target. It has a Starbucks on the first floor, I never have trouble finding parking, and I pretty much know where everything is. That would be our new home for the day. I couldn't wait for the department-store magic to begin.

Ad failed to load

I know what you're thinking. Six hours shopping with four kids? Well that's where my husband comes in. I knew at some point I'd get tired or annoyed. At any given time, I could take a "mommy time out" and go chill on the patio furniture, with or without the kids. And the patio section of my Target is never inhabited by other people. I could sit back, relax, and pretend like I'm actually checking out pieces for my non-existent patio.

When getting ready to go, I made sure of several things. I had a diaper bag full of snacks, diapers and wipes. I didn't want to have to buy anything unnecessarily. I also had three bottles pre-made, just with nursery water, and formula in a formula dispenser for quick bottle-making. The older kids, my 10-year-old daughter Anneka and 8-year-old twins, had the responsibility of packing their own snacks in their own bags. My husband said "I'll be fine," and only packed water. I mean at Target, a venti Frappuccino is only ever a quick stroll away.

Ad failed to load

Here's how it went down.

Hour One: Kids, Welcome To Your New Home

I made the huge mistake in doing this on a Sunday. Sundays are prime everybody-is-out-of-the-house time in Los Angeles, I guess. The moment we got into the store, the kids smelled popcorn and started asking for some. I told them we would buy microwave popcorn and take it home later to pop and eat while watching a movie of their choice. They all agreed on The BFG.

Ad failed to load

The nice thing about living at Target is you don't have to rush from section to section — you can treat each like an Epcot world, really spend some time there and tour the sights. The first section we hit was men's clothes, a vast labyrinth of navy shirts and boring pants. I sometimes like buying the men's t-shirts because they're more comfortable, and tend to wear the sillier ones in the section. I found a Cookie Monster tee that was totally made for me. It's like Target really knows me. Things were off to a great start.

Hour Two: The Coffee Wears Off

I was already tired. I mean, I'm always tired. I have four kids and my husband works full time. I rarely go to bed when I should. I was starting to feel my coffee wearing off and was already getting antsy from pushing the stroller around and trying to keep the baby entertained. I excused myself to go have my coffee.

Ad failed to load

I went downstairs to Starbucks and of course there was a long line. By the time I got to the counter, I'd been peering over at the cosmetic section. So instead of sitting down with my cappuccino, I succumbed to the siren song of the makeup.

If I had to live in a single section of Target, it would be the cosmetic section. Endless glitter and new mascara technology, blingy fake diamond earrings that only look good under the Target lights: it's a magic spot.

I gave it a good combing through, keeping note of my biggest wants. Call it in-person Christmas research. It's a little mom holiday, and I feel great.

Ad failed to load

Hour 3: Don't Mind Us, My Baby Is Hungry

It was time to feed the baby. We made ourselves at home in the baby section, and my hubby did up the bottle, propping all the bits on a shelf as if we were home in our kitchen. He shook it up and handed it to Kai, who is 10 months old, and happily chugged it down.

My twins, Mia and Laila, started to whine. They wanted to go look in the toy section. My husband was having none of that and said if they whined one more time, we wouldn't go look at the toys at all. They quieted down. By that point, Kai had finished his bottle and the twins were playing peek-a-boo with him. An older lady was walking by and stopped to look, drawn by Kai's loud giggles. We gave her a look like, "Hi, we're the Graces, we live here," and she smiled politely and moved on.

Ad failed to load

Hour Four: The Natural Devolution Of Human Society

I wanted to throw in the towel. Our existence felt like endless laps past the same electric crockpot display. I kept telling myself that I needed the exercise and walking around Target was better than any treadmill in a gym. In fairness, when you live at Target, you have about 20 more miles of walking space than you do in the typical family apartment. It really was nice to stretch my legs.

As with all good survival tales, we had by now separated into "teams." Anneka and I had gone hunting in the housewares section. We were horsing about, jostling each other and pretending to be hurt. It kind of felt like seeing as we were in Target's house, I didn't need to be the grownup. We got more rowdy, and Anneka squealed, "We're gonna get kicked out of this place!"

Ad failed to load

It was exciting to imagine our common enemy, the Target security guards, coming for us, a family on the lam.

As I say, we had been here a long time at this point.

We were finally hitting our stride as a family who live in a glorified supermarket.
Ad failed to load

Hour Five: The Wheels Come Off

Although our shopping cart was still wheeling along smoothly like a dream, my hubby and I started arguing as we entered the fifth hour. It felt like there was a third person in our marriage, and that person was Target. I couldn't help but be annoyed at how long it was taking him to choose paper towels and toilet tissue. He was comparing prices and checking the cartwheel app to find a discount. I made a joke about how cheap he was, calling him "Cheapy Cheaperton." He was not amused.

I told him bye and took all four kids with me back to the second floor to go kill time in the toy section. I figured I could have them all recreate their Christmas lists with live "I WANT THIS" commentary as they came across their biggest wants. As they hopped and skipped from toy to toy, I realized how much I loved my husband, and how much I missed him.

Ad failed to load

I met back up with my husband a short while later in the patio section. "I miss us," I said, as we reconciled by a pair of Adirondack chairs and giant sun umbrella. We were finally hitting our stride as a family who live in a glorified supermarket.

Hour 6: And The Moon Must Come

Mia was begging for a nap. Laila and Anneka still had too much energy. Kai was asleep in his stroller under his shade roof. By now, we had reached the twilight of the book section.

Ad failed to load

Anneka kept finding books she wanted and would bring them up to me and tell me to note down the titles in my phone. Mia and Laila wanted more of the adult coloring books, the ones that are supposed to be stress-relievers for grown-ups — you know, the level 100 of coloring. They'll never go back to their immature My Little Pony books.

Standing by a table of bottomless James Patterson paperbacks I looked over my family and felt at peace.

My husband went to wait in line with the various things we were buying and I took the kids to the van. Once I got everyone in the car, situated and used hand sanitizer, we were ready to say goodbye.

Ad failed to load

As we pulled out of the parking lot, the kids watched their home-for-a-day recede into the distance. "Goodbye," I thought. "I will always remember you."

The Target That Stays With You

There are several things I learned from this experiment. One, yes, you could totally live in Target, or at least spend a whole day there. As a teen and young adult, I used to spend entire days at the mall near me in Chicago. I would hang out with my friends, do very little shopping, and just have fun. Target is basically a mall within itself. There was even a food hall in our Target, but as the girls are vegetarians and I'm a vegan, there weren't many choices for us. I guess they could've had the Pizza Hut cheese pizza? But no one asked for it.

Ad failed to load

Also, going that long on just snacks probably wasn't good. The moment we got in the car, everyone claimed they were starving, so hubby and I cooked dinner the moment we got home.

I also couldn't stop thinking about germs. I wouldn't say that I am a germaphobe, but little kids touch everything. After a time, all I could see were little hands touching shelves, little hands in mouths, little hands stamping themselves on their siblings. Thank goodness, Purell is always just a couple aisles over.

All in all, it was fun goofing around with my kids in a store. And no, thank goodness, we didn't get kicked out.

Ad failed to load

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills