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MoonDragon's Realm - Parenting Humor

grocery shopping with kids


Date: Sunday, December 08 @ 14:58:02 EST
Topic: Slice of Life

I used to be a perfect parent. I had strong opinions about the best ways to raise a healthy happy, well-mannered child. I vowed that my children would appear well-groomed and clean at all times, they would be disicipline by firm, fair, and consistant parenting techniques, and they would always, always be well-behaved in a restaurant. And when they were older, I would instill a sense of self-confidence and mutual respect by showing them that I valued their opinions and by treating them as equals. My ideas were so straightforward and simple that I couldn't understand why other parents couldn't be as perfect as I was. Then I had two children.

I used to think that any mother, whose child was innapropriatedy dressed and had Kool Aid stains around his lips before eleven o'clock in the morning, was obviously an unfit parent who spends her days talking on the phone -- and who serves fruit loops and popsicles for breakfast.

My opinion changed when my two-year old daughter decided that she no longer wanted to wear clothing in public. One minute she'd be in her stroller, fully dressed, innocently sucking on a pacifier in her stroller. And the next, she'd be waving at strangers wearing only a diaper and her pair of red patent leather shoes. The first few times this happened I kept putting her clothes back on - only to have them thrown at me again two seconds later. After several days of struggling to keep her fully dressed, I finally decided that it would be less stressful and much faster if she just started out naked when we left the house.

I also used to think that parents who let their children watch cartoons, instead of doing enriching activities together like reading, lacked self disapline and motivation. This was before my son turned three and I began daydreaming about how great it would be if he stopped making big messes around the house and did nothing but watch television. There would be no toys to pick up, no play doh to peel out of the carpet and no crayons to take out of nostrils. Besides I figured if he got really hooked on a few afternoon cartoons I could finally get some chores done around the house.

Before I had children I was going to be a good, health-conscious parent. My family would only eat organic produce and dairy products, fresh fruit, yeast free bread, and unmedicated, free range turkey. Sugar would never, ever touch their lips.

I changed my mind the first time I took my toddler to the grocery store by myself and she refused to bend her legs so she could fit into the front seat of the shopping cart. "If you get in the cart Mommy will give you part of the nice candy bar she has in her purse." I whispered desperately in her ear.

This tactic worked well until she had eaten all of the candy. Then she decided the trip would be much more interesting if she got out of the cart and flung all of the food off of the shelves as ran down the aisles. So I did what any other modern, educated mother would do: I desperately started tossing junk food into the cart. I mentally calculated that one box of mini donuts should be enough to get me through the dairy section and halfway through produce. The carmel corn should last through frozen food and the entire paper product section, and the Tootsie Pop sucker should give me enough time to get through the register, out the door and back to the car.

As the cashier began ringing up my cartful of empty junkfood boxes it became clear that the one thing preventing me from being a perfect parent -- were my children.

Now when my children go into public I want to stop people and let them know that I am really a good parent. I want to tell them that my son is eating a popsicle for breakfast because he is going through a phase where he will only eat blue food and I'm running out of options. He has a dirty dishtowel tucked into the back of his shirt because he thinks it's a cape and today he wants to be Batman. And my daughter is wearing her bathing suit with a pair of cowboys boots because she picked out her own outfit and she thinks the leather tassels go great with the pink netting on her skirt.

And when I yell things like "because I'm the Mommy and I said so that's why!" I really mean "I can understand your desire, but it is my duty as a concerned mother to constantly look out for your best interest".

Sometimes I wonder how it would feel to appear in public with two orderly, quiet children with immaculate faces and clean clothes. I could shop without anyone repeating "can I have a big pretzel now, Mommy" every three seconds like some sort of hypnotic mantra. Maybe I could even stop to look at something. Or enter a store, get only what I actually need, then leave!

But I have a feeling my life wouldn't be nearly as exciting. Besides, my children have taught me that being a good parent has a lot more to do with patience, commitment, and understanding -- than looking perfect.

And now, when I see a mother with a child who is happily meandering behind her eating a Twinkie, and wearing wrinkled dinosaur pajamas and a pair of swim fins, I no longer think she's an unfit parent -- I know that she is just doing the best that she can.

crazy kids - the solution for perfect parents

Debbie Farmer is a nationally syndicated humor columnist. You can sign up for her free mailing list or order a copy of her new e-book "The Best of Family Daze" from her website. Visit her site.

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