“This is the best day ever!” says Izzy as she cuddles a guinea pig at the free school holiday petting farm set up at the local shops.
“Mum! Mum! this is soooo fablious!” calls Zoe as she feeds the goats.
“Fablious!” parrots Muski.
“Are those three kids all yours?” asks a woman standing next to me at the fence.
“I don’t know how you do it” she says when I tell her that they are.
She’s dressed in a neat black skirt and a crisp white shirt and is carrying a brief case. I tell myself it is all in my head, that I don’t really hear a mocking tone in her words as she says “I’d go insane being stuck at home with three kids… you must be a saint”
I wonder for a moment.
Is being a stay at home mum worthy of saint-hood? Or insanity?
I extract the kids from the farm animals and we head for the fruit shop.
I catch Muski’s hands just seconds before he pulls the bottom apple from a precariously stacked pile. I calculate when we’ll next be in town and how much fruit these ravenous children will eat before then. I encourage the girls to look at the fruit shop lady when they say thank you. I juggle three children who all want a hand to hold. I answer Muski’s ‘what’s that?’ questions almost as fast as he can ask them and I attempt to explain to the girls how four fifty cent pieces and two one dollar coins all add up to the same amount.
Yes, I think to myself, this is not an easy job but it is an important one and I’m lucky I get to do it.
Then we walk past the bakery.
“I want a bun” is the familiar chorus.
Sure, why not, come and choose a bun.
They don’t have the bun that Zoe wants and no others will do. There is a foot stamp, and a pout, and then a wail of “It’s not fair.”
I can feel things slipping out of my saintly control even as I try to calm the storm. I offer Zoe two choices but Izzy hears that and thinks it means she won’t get what she wants either. Then the crying begins in stereo.
“I don’t think we’ll have a bun today” I mutter as the third one joins in with the wailing, the foot stamps go into over drive and there is an occasional flailing arm headed in my direction.
“Lets go home” I say as I pick up Muski’s hand and try to casually direct the screaming children out of the shopping centre. Now there is kicking and punching and screaming
“I don’t want to go home”
“I want a bun, give me a bun!”
People are looking now… not a sneaky, embarrassed, side ways glance but full on stares. I pick up Muski and wedge him under my arm, football style, and drag two kicking screaming almost six year olds from the building.
People are still looking as I drag them across the car park. An old couple even ‘tut tut’ us and shake their heads. Two middle aged women sitting at the cafe begin to discuss ‘the disturbance’ as we walk past… “They need a good smack” I hear as I desperately try to make it to the car without loosing what little semblance of saintliness I have left
We reach the Big White Van and I throw all three children inside. I’m trying to keep my zen but the moment for zen has well and truly passed. I hiss under my breath for the girls to get their bloody seat belts on and I give my best ‘drop dead you old witches’ look to the cafe women who are now craning over their shoulders to get a better view.
As I strap Muski, screaming “I want cake” into his car seat I do the only thing I can do to keep my sanity… I begin to sing.
“I don’t care… I don’t care if you want cake or a bun or whatever… I don’t care.
I don’t care… I don’t care if you scream if you wail or whatever…. I don’t care.”
I slam the door still singing… “I don’t care I don’t care I don’t care I … I don’t care!”
I turn to open my door and I see the ‘how do you do it’ woman a few cars up. She looks at me and smiles, the only kind face I’ve seen since this storm began.
I smile back as if to say…
“Yes, I’m a saint… and totally freaking insane!!!”
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
Its scary how quickly our days swing from “this is wonderful, I love having kids, I’m lucky to be able to stay home” to “OMG, what happened to my day, maybe I should get a job, I think I left my sanity at the supermarket”.
Hope that the day has improved for you :)
“And totally freaking insane!!”
Then you’re in good company!!!
ROFL… What a brilliantly told story, Kate!!! I have been to the place of multiple public meltdowns.. Not fun.. And I can’t believe the ignorance of some people’s responses.
LOVE singing as a coping strategy.
I think you are a saint for not throwing a whole bakery worth of buns at negative onlookers. hehehe
well hon….you are not alone.
I can remember some days when my trio were younger and the days were just HELL!!
thankfully it does pass and all is well. ;)
That sounds like so much fun… the farm-part then :D
Yep, all it takes is a bun…
Ok, this comment is totally just about me covering my arse…
My blog post from today is totally not directed at parents in the situation you just described above, and you will know that because you DID something when it became obvious to you that your kids and the shopping center, in the instance you described, were not compatible…
That is all (you insane saint, you!)
Man Candy says
Ah yes Kate but what tune were you singing it to ?
Fall out boy,
Deta (god forbid),
or something more exotic such as George Cromarty and Ed Rush
singing Plastic Jesus
Don’t you just HATE it when the wheels fall completely off??
Maybe some of the looks were the ones I would be giving-THANK GOD that isn’t me and my kids today ;-)
Hugs-sounds like you handled it like a saint
You’re still a saint because:
A – you stood your ground
B – you found a positive parenting strategy to use when you could have…
C – you still tucked them safely into their beds at night
D – you woke up the next day ready to do it all again
Stitch Sista says
OK, that’s just classic. You gave me a good chuckle! (and of course I know exactly how hard it is, I’ve had plenty of those days) I can’t believe the gall of the bystanders at your local shops though…it’s a shame you were so busy kid wrangling that you couldn’t give them a piece of your mind!
I only have one child but I can’t remember the amount of times he had tantrums in shopping centres. I would stand back and just watch him or turn around and ignore him. Do your kids hate it when you try and make light of one of their tantrums?
lol – btdt!!
Secret Mom Thoughts says
I’m right there with you.
*LOL* A story well told! Dealing with one tantrum is enough for me, let alone 3! You certainly must be an insane saint
Oh yes I have been there! Not with 3 kiddies though. Two of mine going off in unison was almost too much.
PS I make a point of always trying to give a mum a sympathetic smile if I see their child chuck one in the shopping centre. It sucks but it happens to the best of us! ;-)
Sunny Road Mum says
Oh you are so not alone in your insanity!! I will never understand the “judgers” in the shopping centre. How quickly they forget what their kids were like….
Karen Hartzell, Graco says
All of us moms have been there at one point or another…and to outweigh a day or afternoon like that there are so many other glorious moments with our children. I wouldn’t trade even the bad ones.
Forget the “cows” at the market. They will just never get it. But then again…who cares b/c we other moms do.
Enjoy it all while the youth lasts.
Mistress B says
You definitely are a saint because me, well I’d have been giving the witches at the cafe middle fingered salutes and possibly have sworn at someone :) LOL