We’ve all been there. You are out in public and your toddler decides that it is an opportune time to throw a complete, on the floor, flailing around, screaming at the top of her lungs tantrum. My daughter has not met a supermarket, ice cream shop, or pizza store that she hasn’t blessed with one of her Oscar-worthy performances. It’s par for the course at this age, but that doesn’t make it any easier on us tired, hardworking parents.
In the many public tantrums my toddler has thrown, I’ve learned that some locations are better than others. The best by far is Target, and here is why:
1. The Beautiful, Wide Aisles
I am pretty sure the architects of Target stores were parents who designed their structures as a place for my little angel to just let it out for the world to see. How else can you explain the wonderfully wide and spacious aisles? Each aisle has enough room for your toddler to spread his or her arms out, kicking and screaming. There is even enough room for people to pass by and give you a disapproving look. And even better, the aisles are wide enough that you can easily avert your eyes from their judgmental gaze! Yes, stranger who is not in my shoes, I am well aware that my child is on the floor screaming and I see your dirty look. I just don’t care! Now move along.
2. Starbucks Coffee (You Yummy, Delicious Savior You)
Another Target tantrum win! Opening Starbucks in Target was a genius move with moms in mind. While your princess is testing out her vocal cords, you can sip on a grande, nonfat, decaf, unsweetened caramel latte with extra foam. That is if the barista can hear your order over the deafening screams coming from your human air horn.
3. All the Cool Kids Are Doing It
If your child isn’t tantruming at the current moment, someone else is. And there’s a certain kinship you feel toward a fellow mom with a child mid-meltdown. During a trip to Target without my daughter, I noticed another mom pushing a cart with one arm while struggling to hold her toddler in the other, all while balancing a phone to her ear. As she put her tot down to rest her arm, said tot then ran away at full speed while screaming at high volume. The mom dropped everything and yelled her daughter’s name, which happened to be my daughter’s name. I had to use all of my willpower not to attack this woman with a giant bear hug since her hands seemed to be a little full.
4. You Get to Cheat at the Dressing Room
Like most clothing stores, there is a limit on how many items you can bring into the dressing room, but those limits go out the window when you have a tantruming toddler! A Target dressing room attendant can spot a meltdown a mile away and they just wave you right by! You can wait out the tantrum by trying on cute and inexpensive clothing. And please, go ahead and buy yourself something nice. You deserve it.
5. More Time to Save Money
If you don’t have the Target Cartwheel app, stop what you are doing right now and download it. While you wait for mini-Hulk to turn back into Bruce Banner, you can use the app to find discounts on necessities and discover that there are things on sale you never realized were essential to your home decor. Thank you tantruming child! Without you, I would not have known that I needed an owl-shaped salt shaker that just happens to be 20 percent off today. While your toddler plants herself under a clothing rack, pull out your phone and scan the items in your cart for savings!
6. The Fantastic Return Policy
Bought a few things you didn’t really need because you couldn’t hear your own thoughts over the death metal concert your toddler threw during your last Target trip? Lost your receipt? Of course you did! You’re a mom and you accidentally threw it out or it was used as a tissue for your little germ monster. Have no fear! Target employees don’t even ask moms for receipts anymore. They just take your item and credit card, and give you your money back quickly and quietly. Now go spend more money on diapers and wipes.
7. The Employees Really Seem to Empathize
I have received countless sympathetic smiles and nods from Target employees while my toddler fills their store with noise that nightmares are made of. I can only imagine that the last thing a Target employee needs is another tantruming child, yet it never seems to faze them. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was part of their training. “New employees! Sympathize with moms of tantruming children! They will buy more things if you’re nice to them!” And when it’s checkout time, they really help you get on your way. Target cashier, I notice you scanning my items with impressive focus and efficiency. Maybe it’s because your head is pounding as much as mine, but nevertheless, I greatly appreciate your haste.
There is no way to escape the typical tantrums of our growing toddlers. We can only remind ourselves that they are just learning how to express themselves and it’s not a reflection on our parenting. And until our kids grow out of this stage, we can feel comforted by knowing Target will always be there as a safe haven. The only thing I ask of you Target is to maybe institute a policy where the parents of tantruming children receive a voucher for free coffee at the in-store Starbucks (okay, I’ll even settle for half off). Like I said, my toddler throws a lot of tantrums, and well, it’s getting expensive.