Friday, November 18, 2011

An Epiphany at Target

By Beth Demis

I wanted to share the simplest epiphany I had yesterday. I took the boys on a long walk first thing in the morning... it was mostly for myself because I have been trying so hard to fit exercise in and have been failing- I was determined to start my day with some exercise and hopefully a clear head.

As I walked, I had a million thoughts running through my head... mostly all I wanted to accomplish and how would I have time to get it all done- as I think about most days. My list usually includes the same items: cleaning of most every room in my house, laundry, grocery store, play with the kids, do something fun or creative with the little boys, get my PTA duties completed, shower (the luxuries), and on and on....

So, where did I start my list after this long, mind-clearing walk? Target, of course! A brand spanking new one- with a grocery store. And a Starbucks (imagine heavenly music filling my head as I strap my two boys into the cart)...oh yeah, and I had 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 year old boys with me. sigh...

They started the usual routine- asking for snacks, wanting to look at toys, wanting to get out. I had about five items on my "must buy" list (yeah right...when's the last time you ONLY bought five items at Target? Yeah, me neither!) and so my goal was to rush through the store and get out of there as fast as I could to save my sanity and the sanity of fellow shoppers... I mean, I had a list of things to do a mile long, after all.

But...here was my epiphany....as simple as it may sound.

I slowed down.

I talked to my kids about everything we saw.

I didn't just "um hm" their discoveries, I paid attention to them and responded and asked questions...and let them touch things (not very many things) and when they started begging for toys, instead of the guilty conscience I usually have (I shouldn't spend the money, buying them something for no reason will make them greedy or expect it each time we come, they haven't "earned a toy" ) I let them each get something.

We looked at all of the Halloween costumes, tried on different winter hats ( I deep-breathed through my lice and bed bug phobia and just got over it).

We lived in our Target moment.

No one cried, no one required a lollipop diversion, I wasn't digging through my purse for bribes...sure, they each got a new toy (oh and a slush puppie at the end!) but nobody's perfect . It's so cliche' but for a full hour and 20 minutes.... I didn't sweat the small stuff...and as a result, neither did they.

And it was awesome.

My mom gave me the best advice ever, and I keep trying to remind myself of it over and over, because if I let myself, I could be a real Type A about EVERYTHING... not just some things.

She told me right after I had #3 and #2 was 11 1/2 months old and #1 was almost 4....

"Your whole house can fall down around you. Your laundry can pile up, your house can be littered with every toy you have... and none of that matters. As long as your children are happy and loved... you are doing your job".

And I reminded myself as I tucked three happy, smiling little boys into bed last night, how very right she is (because she almost always is)!


Beth is a former kindergarten teacher, turned stay-at-home mom to three boys 5.5, 2.5, 1.5. She spends her days trying to keep her boys entertained in a positive way while maintaining her own sanity. You can read more of Beth's thoughts on motherhood on her blog: Queen-Bee, Mom of Three.

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