My daughters were four, two, and newborn when it happened. I had not slept through the night in years. None of my clothes fit. I had oatmeal in my hair. I couldn’t get that freaking Dora the Explorertheme song out of my head, yet in the midst of all that, I decided to suck it up and go to Target anyway.
I only needed five things. My plan was to get what I needed and get out of the store fast as possible. How hard could that be, right?
My shopping trip started out great. I was right on schedule. I could have been the spokes-mom for fiercely flourishing. My youngest was in the baby carrier while the other two were playing contentedly in the shopping cart. I hadn’t felt this normal in months. I was on fire!
I found my five items with ease, but then decided to take in the splendor of Target for just a few more minutes. One clearance rack turned into two and then six. Before I knew it, I had a shopping cart full of toddlers and treasures. I was at peace with my world.
Until the baby started in. I had lost track of time, but she had not. Lunchtime had come and gone. Then I noticed the familiar smell of something stinky. That’s right, while my youngest screeched about missing lunch, my two year old decided now would be a good time to poop her pants, which led to my four year old’s decision to begin climbing out of the cart. Before I knew it, I was in the middle of Target with a full cart, three screaming children, and the inevitable stranger who I have since named, Mrs. Ima Clueless, telling me, “You’ve got your hands full.” Really, lady!?!!!
I remember wondering how something so right could go so wrong so quickly. Forced to make quick decisions, I did what any desperate mom would do: ditched that shopping cart in the men’s department, snatched up my daughters, and ran for the door.
Can you picture it? I sprinted through Target with a screaming infant strapped to my body, a poopy two-year old under one arm, and a wailing four-year old under the other. I abandoned my mission and shopping list. The only thing I needed in the world at that moment was to get out of the store and into my minivan.
I weaved up and down the store aisles with grace and resolve. I slowed only to give the automatic doors a chance to catch up to my lightening speeds. I could see my van through the glass doors!
I was almost there when Mrs. Ima Clueless’ evil best friend, Ms. Anita Life, walked through those glorious automatic doors, took one look at me and my three beautiful gifts from the Lord, huffed with disgust, and said, “Well, I never.”
At that I stopped, looked Mrs. Anita Life square in the eyes, stood proudly as I held my cherished yet now hysterical daughters close to my chest, and said without shame, “I know, right? This nanny job SUCKS!”
Life happens. Even to the most prepared moms. Some days are a dream, some are a nightmare, but all are part of the story. Today, my girls are 15, 13, and 11, and my worst mommy stories are now the funniest ones.
If you too have oatmeal in your hair and a relentless theme song in your brain, hang in there. It gets better.
Tasha Levert, Ph.D., is a licensed professional counselor in New Orleans who provides face-to-face and online care. She is a conference speaker, worship leader and the author of Stories of Hope for the Sleep Deprived. Tasha and her husband Tim (Pastor with Students at the Vineyard Church of New Orleans) have three beautiful daughters and a lazy schnauzer named Gumbo.
To find out more about Tasha or her practice go to
tashalevert.com or broomtreecounseling.com.