This Modern Mom’s Mecca
Welcome to another installment of “Musings of a Mid-Life Mom,” the monthly guest column by the very talented Ashley Bass. A gut clenching, chin dropping, enthusiastic view on kids, men and all the other stuff that gives us wrinkles!
A goodly number of mornings it is no surprise to find me here. It is where I go to collect my thoughts, get ready for the day. It is an oasis in the storm of motherhood, wifely duties, and small business ownership during a recession. It is the altar of conspicuous consumption. I park in the same place, I make the same circuitous route through the store, and I see the same smiling faces every time I go there. It’s predicable and comforting. I find happiness and diaper rash cream here. I find enlightenment and the Dollar Spot here. I find bronzing lotion and beer here. Most importantly, I find a liberal return policy here, thank God!
Inevitably, every morning, during the harried process of getting myself and two small people ready for the day, I come across some very important item I need but can’t find in this tornado I call my house. I do go to the grocery store every Sunday, list in hand. I walk in the store confident that I have accounted for every need, for every possible surprise. I grab all the fruits and veggies the kids will need (read chicken nuggets), all the toiletries the husband and I may need, all the cleaning supplies I know I won’t use… However, it never fails, Monday morning rolls around with the realization that I’m out of coffee, Wednesday I discover I have no laundry detergent, and Thursday (the worst of all) I’m out of freakin diapers. So I can safely say at least three morning a week between 9 and 9:30 you can predictably find me at…Target (angel choir sings in the background).
[At this point I will digress with a quick story- last week, on my birthday, I was running late to work but decided to go anyway, it was my birthday after all and I do own my store. I pulled into the parking lot wearing my favorite birthday t-shirt which says ‘Smile your ass off’, love it and wear it every year. I hopped out of the car and pulling in at the same time is my best friend. She gave me a big birthday hug and some story about needing to buy dishes- that’s just stupid. Come to find out later that day, when she brought me my birthday present, she was there at 10 because she ‘knew’ I would have already left! Hilarious!!] Back to the real column…
One can be in and out of there in 15 minutes with everything needed. Here’s how you do it… Step one: make cursory pass by the kid’s meds, shampoo, cosmetics, and food (don‘t forget the Diet Coke). Step two: glance down the cleaning aisle (who am I kidding? I ain’t cleanin’ a damn thing this week), run past the clothing department (it’s a trap, don’t go in there, you’ll have to call an extraction team to get you out), then slowly stroll down the kids shoe aisle. Caution: the shoe aisle is tricky, you have to be efficient and methodical. You don’t want to miss a sale on Dora sandals, but you don’t want to get sucked into some stupid wedge espadrilles for your three year-old, that’s just poor judgment.
After you have entertained yourself with makeup, food, and shoes it’s time to get down to the business at hand. Step three: The baby department. Don’t get bogged down with sentiment as you pass the really really tiny precious cute newborn clothes. You are on a mission! Hit it hard and hit it fast. Grab your diapers, wipes, bubble bath (hey, why not? Friday is bath night at our house, we know how to party). Next, it’s down the kid food aisle for yogurt, goldfish, those stupid puffs, and formula. For the record, Jake is almost two, and yes I give him formula during the day. I would say it is to supplement his diet, but honestly it’s because during a busy work day I have, on occasion, accidentally and by no fault of my own forgotten to give him a proper lunch. Shut up, don’t judge. Step three/ part two: cruise the kids clothes. You can get sucked into this department, but hell, the clothes are cute and since you became a mother you buy more stuff for your kids than yourself anyway, right? This is where I give you permission to waste a little time. The only caution I will give you here is that the twill shorts and pants can run a little big. Enjoy.
The final lap I make is through the Dollar Spot. Whoever thought this up can have one of my kidneys. I love it! It’s three mini-aisles full of stickers, dog bowls, yoga mats, Cracker Jacks, kid finger nail polish, wooden cars, seasonal items, and gardening tools. It’s just goes to show what a lot of hard working children can put on a shelf in America for a buck. (That might have been a little off-color?) Oh well, I still think it’s brilliant.
Final destination, Checkout Aisle 8. Same aisle every time. If I’ve played my cards right then Ha will be there. She is a small Asian woman, who has worked there for like 20 years and has become a happy part of my weekly routine. She always gives Jake a high-five, comments on what I’m purchasing, and let’s me go through all of the store coupons others have left behind. I’ve gotten lucky with a coupon on Pediasure before, that shit’s expensive. To Ha’s credit, she always smiles, asks everyone if they would like to apply for a Target card, and once stopped my dad in line because he had Jake with him and she didn’t recognize him. She’s a one woman Crime Stoppers. Apparently, she feels pretty comfortable with me too. I ran in alone on a random Sunday to grab something wearing shorts, t-shirt, baseball cap, and no make-up. I ran through her line out of habit, all she said is, ‘Where is Jake?’ and ‘You look ugly today.’ I almost died laughing. I had finally arrived, I now have a small Asian mother!
Not everyone may love Target as much as I do, but hey, whatever floats your boat. I would love to have the same knowledge of the inner workings of Saks or Neiman’s, but I live in Waco, Tx, I have two kids, and honestly I bet those stores aren’t near as much fun. Sometimes I cheat on Target with Old Navy, but they don’t sell tampons, birthday cards, and shower curtain liners, so I don’t make it over there very often. If you are ever having a difficult day, just call in ‘Target’. Look at your boss, husband, babysitter, whoever and say, ‘I just gotta go, it’s calling to me. I gotta drive toward that big read Target sign, and I don’t know when I’ll be back.’ Trust me, it works better than therapy and you can walk out of there with some killer patio cushions.