It all started with one simple phrase – ‘Let’s go out to breakfast!’ It was something our family hadn’t done in a long time and not since we’d become a family of 4.
As the planner in the family, I started to create a master mental list of all the things we’d need for this outing as well as all the errands we could knock out on the way home. In retrospect, it’s hilarious we thought we could pull off such an ambitious feat without a hitch.
In the second rash move of the day, we decided to walk to a local diner, testing out a hand me down Sit and Stand stroller for the first time. Within minutes, my 3 year old had fallen off onto the sidewalk and was sporting a busted lip. Fail #1.
We walked home (from around the corner) and threw our stuff in the car to shift modes of transportation in the hopes that things would improve. Tensions were running high. The kids were hungry, Fail #2, and someone had a busted lip.
One the way to the restaurant, we realized we hadn’t brought any milk for the baby because we thought we were being spontaneous and babies don’t get hungry when their parents are being spontaneous. Fail #3
When we arrived at a popular breakfast spot, we remembered that they were a cash only establishment and we had no cash Fail #4. There was a wait for a table and the kids were by now, starving, and the baby was tired Fail #5 and #6.
The food arrived and the kids ate and then spilled milk over the whole table. I ate a few bites of my milky not-what-I-ordered breakfast Fail #6 and #7 and we left in a tornado, just like we arrived.
We decided to walk over to a nearby shopping area to make a few returns and get a few items on the never ending shopping list. We arrived and stores didn’t open until 10am so we had to entertain the kiddos on the sidewalk for 15 minutes, which felt like an eternity Fail #8.
Once inside, my 3 year old focused all her energy on sparkly shoes and headbands, neither of which we needed any more of and she wouldn’t even think of looking at shirts, to which she had (still has) none that do not show her belly button. We walked out with a few items that she has still not worn to date Fail #9.
The second errand was the shoe store. Twenty people, no joke, were in this store and it was the week before school was starting (what were we thinking?) and we were in line to try on shoes. After coming to our senses, we decided to try another store. We picked out some shoes to try on and I talk my 3 year old into putting on peds, which she is very wary of. The salesman, a gruff older man, tries to measure her feet to get the right size, and she loses her balance and falls backwards over the seat. Screaming, we leave the store. Fail #10
The baby has begun to lose it now, so while I’m strolling around the shopping center with him, my husband decides to brave shoestore #1 again with the 3 year old. They decide on two pairs of shoes and while in line to pay – the computers go down. After twenty minutes in line to pay, they leave and my 3 year old says to me, ‘these hurt my feet’. My husband goes back in and returns them. Fail #11
We get back to the car to get out of this nightmare and I feed the baby with a sippy cup. My 3 year old says the second pair of shoes hurt too. Fail #12
The kids fall asleep on the short car ride home and a single tear falls from my husbands eye – so I know it’s bad. He is NOT a cryer Somewhere, inside, I am laughing.
When we arrive at home, the two of us get out and leave the sleeping kids in the car and start silently weeding the garden – in a last ditch attempt to return to a state of peace.
After recovering from this madness, I came to two realizations. This is parenthood. It was a lot of it in one morning, but this is it. Chaos and frustration and hilarity and deep love.
In these wacky moments, days, weeks of parenthood – here is my best advice as a fellow parent and a supporter of parents:
-Find a way back to your center as quickly as you can during the recovery periods. Take a walk, weed the garden, put on a favorite song, space out on your phone for a few minutes.
-Laughter is a quick route back to sanity and joy. As soon as you can muster the strength to laugh at the nonsense that has just gone down – make it happen. Tell a dumb joke, tickle someone, start talking in a ridiculous accent. You will all be better for it.