Public Outing Outcry Problems: A.K.A. “Oh Poop!”
I walked into the place a little too cocky…that was my problem. Like we were the T-Birds and Pink Ladies, we were going to ‘Rule the School’..or child related establishment. Long gone were the diaper bag days of old, the days of worrying about what to feed or where, letting a naptime kill the play buzz, concerns about baby wipe moisture or promises of M&Ms for a urine sample…no we had arrived…EASY street.
With children 6-15 years old this was going to be cake. We had already arrived a little past 3:00pm, perfect because the place would close at 5. Just enough time to ease the ‘fun mom’ inner nag for the day. Since I had somehow squeezed winter break funds into a one year membership there was no need to bring in my wallet…because there was no need for money…RIGHT?! Little did I know all the while that tooth fairy money had been burning a hole in the back of my jeans. That $1 bill given to me to hold had been a TRAP.
It is a policy for fun kids places to have a store near the exit. As a reminder to your children that you are cheap and suddenly… I will quote my daughter “Not my bestest Mom anymore!”. It becomes no concern to them how much money you have blown up to this point because if you really loved them you would spend $30 on a $10 toy. Because every outing needs a souvenir better than the taste of salty tears.
Suddenly every parent that I had just seen leave, every “It’s starting to snow really bad and we need to get home”…”We are LEAVING”…”We have to go…NOW” morphed into urgency. I could feel the winds change as I realize that my pressing logic that $1 would only buy a 4 pack of mints or 1 sucker to share between 2 was not sinking in. My ‘I didn’t bring in my wallet’ honesty was falling on deaf ears.
Perhaps a more docile child would be happy window shopping and a more docile me could use my versed child development script and say, “You really want that toy, but we only brought $1..we’ll buy it next time…let’s go home and have hot chocolate!” We would all skip out hand and hand and I would smile and wave at the young desk girl showing her my expertise in being the ‘most bested mom’. Then to top it off my 6 year old would turn to me and say, “I’m sorry Mom clearly I let material things distract me from my undying love for you”.
In the end it doesn’t matter how we left because what matters is that we did leave. In the parking lot when my daughter declared me not to be ‘her best mom anymore’ I reminded her that she would change her mind and I would be later. The snow fell hard, we had a close call with a rushing ambulance, and stomach in my throat I was jolted back to what really mattered most. We had a nice family dinner and when my humanness started to rehash to say, “Now next time…” my 8 year old quickly redirected me. Apparently he had a brief meeting with the 6 year old in her room and the mood was lifted.
As a parent you will come across situations that make you think, “Seriously…Aren’t we past this?” Clearly we have paid our dues and have graduated past this, but then some hidden fee pops up and we revisit an earlier… less sophisticated time.
Not quite out of the woods yet, but will pack a better picnic basket next time.