Before I had kids, I never thought I’d be the mom whisper-screaming in Target. You know the one: she wants to yell so bad, but manages to realize she’s still in public. So she does the second best thing: shoves all the force of a raised voice into a whisper so full of rage that it makes the vein in her neck pop out. What’s wrong with her? I used to think. Why is she getting so angry?
Because Target is annoying and kids are the worst, that’s why. Taking the kids to Target is a fucking nightmare. If you manage to waltz in and out of Target without a care in the world, you should write a self-help book. A lot of people would buy it.
There are several elements that make Target more stressful for a mom than regular shopping…
1. The carts. What is with the carts? Why are the carts for multiple children larger than a Home Depot hand truck, and harder to maneuver? It’s great being the asshole trying to turn a hard corner down the aisles with one of those things. Excuse me! Excuse me! Sorry! These things are so huge! Faking an apologetic tone while someone is giving you the side-eye is the worst.
2. The toys. Hey! I have an idea for a new game show. Place a ton of necessities needed for the home strategically around 12 aisles of toys and see if a mom can get all of the things on her shopping list while managing to shield her kids from the sight of all the toys they want. We’ll call it, “Nervous Breakdown.”
3. The Starbucks. You don’t have the will to resist the smell of coffee, so now you’re maneuvering your gigantor Target kids’ cart with one hand.
4. The length of the aisles. The size of a regular Target is at least the length of a football field. The size of a Super Target is infinity. You’ve been in the store for 20 minutes and you haven’t even gotten the first three things on the list. The kids are getting restless.
5. The pizza. Your restless kids smell pizza. You were too busy trying to navigate around the toy section to remember to somehow avoid going near that.
6. The cute clothes. You’d like to stop and look at the cute clothes, but the memory of taking down two racks of yoga pants while trying to maneuver your giant fucking Target cart between the rows of clothes has you gun shy. This makes you sad.
7. The kids in the cart. They sense weakness. They start complaining about being tired. You sense that you are now on a countdown to meltdown, down your latte, and break into a slow jog.
8. Impulse items. All of the impulse items in the Target checkout aisle are directed at kids. Baseball cards, candy, soda, random plastic crap. You’re sweating from the countdown to meltdown. Now your kids really want some candy. You say no. They just want to goooo hoooommee! Why can’t we just go hooooommme?
Look, it’s not always this bad — but try to remember to give that stressed mom you see in Target the benefit of the doubt. I’m sorry to all the crazy screaming moms in Target I judged before I had kids. I’ve joined your ranks.