You don’t realize how easy it is to shop with one kid in tow until you shop with three.  I love having my kids at home during the summer, but I think they actually get HARDER to shop with as they get older.  And the frustration is multiplied exponentially with the addition of each child to the shopping experience.  Trust me.  I’ve learned the hard way.

Case in point: This morning I was shopping Target, pushing a shopping cart with my 5-year-old in the seat and my 8-year-old trailing along behind, driving the stroller with his 2-year-old sister inside.  Sounds like a rollicking good time, doesn’t it?

Not surprisingly, I found myself barking at one of my children.  And when the realization of how I must sound hit me, I said out loud to no one in particular, "Oh my gosh, I sound like one of those trashy moms."

Another mother shopping near me in the same aisle responded, "No you don’t.  You sound like one of those normal moms.  And hearing you makes the rest of us feel normal.  So thank you."

Oh yeah, that’s me.  I’m just here to serve.  Making parents all around me look better with my own mediocre parenting skills.

It’s sort of like when the ladies showed up at my house last week for Bible study, and my 2-year-old was running around the house without her pants on as I pleaded with her to just pee on the potty already!  And I hadn’t yet loaded the dishwasher or wiped down the counters, or even made the coffee — a real crime in this group! 

I was clearly flustered, and I’m sure I was apologizing all over myself.  And then one of the ladies spoke up and said, "Thank you for being real."

Oh I’m real, alright.  Probably a little TOO real, quite frankly.

While I’m being real, allow me to extend my apologies to the woman and her child who
sat in front of us at the movies this morning.  Because not only did my 2-year-old hang over her
seat, talking loudly during half the show, but
during our third (or fourth? – I lost count) trip to the potty, my
5-year-old accidentally dumped what was left of her Sprite all over the
floor.  And I can only imagine the scene that must have incurred in my

As you may have guessed, I took the three kids to the free summer movies this morning.  Yes, I said FREE.  Do your movie theaters do this in the summer?  Of course, they aren’t going broke.  At least, not if the lines at the candy counter are any indication.  The movie was free for the four of us, but the food cost me $20.  And that was for two small drinks, a small popcorn, and a box of Skittles.  Hey, at least my kids are learning to share, right?

We saw Madagascar, which was really cute — what I saw of it anyway.  My youngest soon discovered that the bathroom with its electronic hot air hand dryers was far more entertaining to her 2-year-old attention span than the movie itself.  So I spent the better part of the movie in a cycle of walking out of the crowded theater, kneeling by the potty (and banging my head on the toilet paper dispenser — not once, but twice), lifting my 35-pound daughter up to the sink for a thorough hand-washing, and then watching her entertain herself by drying her hands under the hot air before returning to our seats until she requested the next bathroom excursion.  I didn’t dare call her bluff, considering how she concurrently consumed half of my 20-oz soft drink.

But we survived, and I think the older kids enjoyed the movie.  Which is a good thing because it’s probably the last free summer movie we’ll see for a while — a while being at least a year.  AT LEAST.  Cause you know, I’m nothing if not real.

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28 Responses

  1. Oh boy, I feel you on this one! Many a time I have scolded (read yelled at) my kids in public only to feel hot shame creeping up my face as I wonder to myself “how loud was I?”. Things are much better now that they are 8 and 10. I’ll have to check my theaters out here for freebies. That’s a great idea!

  2. We don’t have a free movie here in AZ but we do have where you can sign up the whole family for 10 movies during the summer. They are usually on Wednesday mornings and it’s only $10 for all the movies. Not $10 a person but $10 for the family. I thought that was a good deal. Free sounds better!

  3. Oh but we all expect those things to happen, cause it’s the FREE movie. Now be a good mom and sneak in candy and drinks from home in your purse and make the rest of us feel better please!

  4. I know the woes of shopping with three kids all too well. I’ve been keeping us in the house much more than I ought just because I dread lugging them around to run errands.

  5. I blogged about the FREE movie yesterday. And I took my two girls and their little friend today. It was a lot of fun — but quite stressful too.

  6. I’m trying to summon up the courage to take my girls to the $1 summer movie here in our town. I just can’t stand crowds, and if we show up early to get good seats, then I have to keep the kiddos entertained until the movie starts.

    Can you tell I over-think things?

    I’ve given myself until Mr. Magorium is showing to get my act together.

  7. So right there with you. Well, except now I don’t have a car. So nevermind.


  8. I know exactly how you feel, with four kids all 6 and under and one due in October it’s a lot of work taking them shopping. I have recently discovered a little gem of grocery store here in town that has a kids center for families who shop there. They will care for kids 2 and up for 90 minutes and have t.v. monitors throughout the store so I can check on them while I shop. They have craft projects set up for the kids each day too. I think I might just go browsing at the store when I need a short break from the kids, just for fun! lol!

  9. I really think we could be friends–I mean, drop in for coffee friends. I also find myself more often than not scurrying around making coffee, putting dishes into the dishwasher etc when people come over.

    And when I yell at my children in public (yes, I said when), I always think, “When I hear people talk like that I think that they are horrible human beings.” So it goes.

    My college roommate and her family will be here for a quick visit tomorrow morning–their first and probably only. I could be spiffing up, but what am I doing? Surfing.

  10. Well at least your kids aren’t scared of the bathroom. The only time I was able to get my son to go to the movies with me he was so freaked out by the bathroom I about peed my pants since I couldn’t go in without him. Good times, good times..

  11. I kept it REAL at the local pool the other day. My almost 5 year old refused to come in to the ladies locker room/shower area with me. He wanted to go into the Men’s like his big brother. I said no, he started to cry, and cry, and cry and cry……..he got warnings plus, and then I went in to take my shower as he cried at the door. I kept talking to him, but every so often another mother would come into the locker room and would start to look for “this poor boy’s mother” haahaa!! And I was the one who really I felt they should have been saying “that poor mom” rather than him! haahaa. At least I kept it REAL, right?

  12. Thank you! I was going to take the kids to Target tonight, but after reading your post, I decided not to. I’m sure that was a good decision!

  13. You never cease to amaze me! I agree with the lady at Target – you are a REAL Mom in the trenches – so to speak!

    Madagascar is a cute movie! They do have it on DVD if you are really interested in finishing your viewing!

  14. Lucky you to find a real mom in target! Days are so much better when you run into people who sympathize with you, or enjoy your children as they make their way around the real world.
    I have made a pledge to myself to forget worrying about what people will think if the counters aren’t clean, or the kids misbehave.
    No one is perfect, love yourself, and others will follow.

  15. Really, I never knew you could be so real!

    THIS WAS HYSTERICAL! I laughed out loud…

    Oh yeah, that’s me. I’m just here to serve.

    and this one:

    So I spent the better part of the movie in a cycle of walking out of the crowded theater, kneeling by the potty (and banging my head on the toilet paper dispenser — not once, but twice)

    Oh the memories of the free summer movies with 5 children…

    Thanks for REALLY making me excited to do this with the grandkids!

  16. First of all, this is exactly why I can’t wait for school to start up again. I’m not leaving this house with all three to do anything- how’s that for keeping it real? Cause the older ones ARE worse.. ugh!

    Oh, and I used to manage a movie theatre and you are exactly right. They make no money on those second run movies but ALL the money is in concessions… business, baby! : )


  17. We have free movies, but I always forget about them! Which is prolly a good thing. I hope you have a better day next time you take em out. I think you will 😉

  18. Sounds like my life! Sometimes I fuss at my 4 year old and think, did that really just come out of my mouth? Yes it did Mama! It is nice to know I’m not the only one…:)

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