Some days you just walk into a place and know with all certainty that you are a hot mess. That was me yesterday, as I rolled up into Aldi with my trio of sugared up wild things. I was rocking my crocs with socks. My baby girl was sporting nothing but a onesie and a chocolate Hitler stash and I just wanted to do a “hot mess mom” mic drop, like whatever.
I’m all for having well behaved children, hence the chocolate used for bribery. But there are some days, where you just have to think, “Hey, this is my circus and we just rolled into town so you’re just going to have to just sit back and enjoy the show.” My kids weren’t being misbehaved, but I was stressed having all three of them with me.
I like to go with just the baby, but unfortunately we had to have a new hot water heater installed and I missed my magic shopping window between her getting up from her nap and before the older kids get off the bus. You know you’re a mom of three or more when having just one child at the store with you feels like a vacation.
Of course my toddler didn’t want to ride in the cart so we all took turns chasing her around the store. My older kids were pretty good about rounding her up, but I did feel some eyes on me. I did feel the need to speed up my shopping, but at the same time I kept hearing the song “Wild Things” by Alessia Cara in my head playing the soundtrack to my beautiful messy mob.
I tried to remember what it was like to be a kid shopping with my mom. It was so boring so I found little games to play like using the few colored tiles on the floor in ShopRite as safe stepping stones to keep from burning up in the lava of white tiles. This is the beauty of childhood; turning the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Sometimes you just have to stop worrying about what other people think. We can’t control everything our kids do, and sometimes we should just kick back and enjoy the show ourselves. I’m not talking about letting them pull things off of shelves or scream bloody murder in a store, but we need to cut them some slack too. They aren’t tiny adults; they’re kids.
If we wanted nice tidy lives filled with spotless furniture and careless trips to anywhere by ourselves, we wouldn’t have had kids at all. They are the beautiful mess we signed up for, even if we didn’t fully realize it at the time.
I think I forgot the messy chaos of the toddler years. I spend so much time cleaning up food and toys off of EVERY surface of my house or trying to keep her from climbing up on the table to take food off of our plates or leave us the present of her food taken directly out of her mouth and dropped onto our plates. The other day she climbed up on the table and started dancing and my frustration dissolved into laughter.
This is life with little wild things; watching them squeal with delight as they race around a store, watching them dance on the table top to music only they can hear, and watching them find joy in things we can’t see anymore. In this process of growing up, we’ve packed away our own wild side. We’ve turned down the anthem in our heads that plays when we roll up in a place.
I don’t know about you, but I want to hold onto these wild things of mine. There are times when I just can’t expect them to be perfectly behaved. There are times when I have to appreciate their laughter and have that matter more than a few heads turned in our direction.
So many times, I just stop whatever I’m doing and dance around the room with my wild things. These moments are the gifts they give me with their sticky little fingers. They lend me their beautiful, crazy, “don’t give a damn about anything, but finding the joy in life” spirits.
So yes, this is my circus and these are my little monkeys and I love them. Sometimes you have to take off the grown up expectations and just meet them where they are. Who cares if you look like a hot mess?
I don’t know about you, but I want to be where the wild things are because it sure is free and fun and full of joy!
Erin Johnson a.k.a. The No Drama Mama can be found writing on her blog The No Drama Mama and Hudson Valley Parent when she’s not wiping poop or snot off her three adorable kiddos. This “tell it like it is” mama has NO time for drama, so forget your perfect parenting techniques and follow her on Facebook or Twitter for her delightfully imperfect parenting wins and fails. Her work can also be found on The Huffington Post, Money Saving Mom, Mamapedia and Worshipful Living.