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.