I was the best parent…until I actually had a kid.
Today I had one simple job: stop at Subway and pick up lunch for myself, little A, and the hubs. After we emerged from said trip, I checked my Fitbit heart rate monitor and my beats were 108. Yup, 108 because I went to Subway.
Let me back up. It really starts with the fact that I will give 1 million dollars to the first person who designs a car seat that is child coat friendly. Facebook has done a fabulous job of scaring me into never putting a coat on my child while she rides in the car. In fact, the coat is usually on the floor lest it get too close to my precious cargo and works some of its evil powers against her. So mainly out of peer pressure (JOKING!), and obviously my concern for my child’s safety, my child is coat free. It’s also like 10 degrees here and she gets pneumonia if somebody next to her coughs. So as you can see, this really just sets me up fantastically to do a marvelous job in the parental department.
Here’s our winter car routine: Put a coat on A while inside before heading to car, take said coat off before putting A in the car seat (while the car door hangs open and we freeze anyway), wrestle A into the car seat (Seriously, I could take down a crocodile after my training from A… it would have nothing on me. She is freakishly strong.), get to location, pull A out of car seat (again with an open door), put the coat back on A and then go in. Yup, that’s pretty much what we do.
Anyway, sometimes it’s a lot…and I’ve realized that I have started doing the math in my head when I arrive to locations: length of walk to the indoors divided by how cold it actually feels outside multiplied by how tired I am feeling.
So we pull up to Subway, short walk, low 40s, very tired equals no coat. However, as we are walking inside I realize what a terrible parent I look like. I’m in a full on parka and my child, my one-year-old toddler, is walking next to me in an oversized winter hat and a very thin long sleeve t-shirt. Immediately, I’m sure I’m being judged by… uh…pretty much everybody, and so I start to get anxious.
Now when I get anxious, I sweat…plus I was wearing a parka, plus the people at Subway were in a hurry because a long line was forming which made me feel more anxious because I could feel their feels. I order my two subs, trying to be as efficient as possible. However, I am also trying to keep A from grabbing all the bags of chips (PS. THANKS SUBWAY FOR PUTTING THEM AT TODDLER EYE LEVEL!) which leads to me holding her as I move through the line. I get up to pay, put A down and pull out a gift card. Now let me paint you a picture. At this point I am seriously sweating profusely. Like, I have to wipe my forehead and take deep breaths sweating profusely. It’s the anxiety. It’s the carrying A. It’s the I’m 7 months pregnant and apparently last week my pelvis decided it no longer wanted to support the baby weight anymore and now shoots sharp pains down my legs whenever I try to walk thing. Seriously, it’s terrible.
So, me, the big girl, with a limp and a sweating problem and a really fast toddler hands over a gift card and politely asks, “Can you please tell me how much is on this?”
The lady swipes my card, A takes off, I wipe more sweat off my brow and then… THE MACHINE BREAKS! The machine breaks. It shuts off. Of course it does. Of course it was my card that broke the machine. Why not me? WHY NOT? So then I’m hobbling around trying to keep A from running behind the counter or up to strangers because #ThatGirlHasNoStrangerDanger…ever. And all the employees are trying to fix their machine, stop my child from going behind the counter, and still trying to tell me how much is on my card.
At this point, I try and tell them to let the guy behind me pay, and he says, “No, it’s okay.” Maybe he was enjoying the circus, maybe he was just being polite…idk but I gave him my best I’m a mom who has nothing together big sweaty girl apology and turned away so I wouldn’t have to make eye contact anymore. You see, him standing there was only adding to my problems. Now we had an audience, and I broke the machine, and my child wasn’t wearing a coat EVEN THOUGH IT WAS A SHORT WALK, and FOR THE LOVE I could not stop sweating.
Thank God, seriously thank God, for kind-hearted people. The man who was working behind the counter came around and sweetly asked me, “Is it okay if I give her a cookie.” A free cookie. The guy gave A a free cookie. I didn’t care that it was right before we ate lunch. I didn’t care that it was a cookie. I didn’t care. That man gave me a life-line. I picked up the fast little crocodile, plopped her in a seat and said, “Eat up, baby. Say, thank you.”
BUT now I’m the mom who not only didn’t put a coat on her child, but who also fed her child a chocolate chip cookie before lunch… but let’s be honest: I WASN’T WINNING ANY AWARDS TODAY ANYWAY.
So meanwhile, the machine is still broken…and everybody is staring at it, willing it to turn back on. Me, the three employees, the guys behind me… everybody but A who is happily eating her cookie like a little lady in a big girl chair. Finally, the machine turns back on and we are in business. Except, my gift card still won’t work… and at this point it has been fooooreevvvvveeerrrr. So to stop my sweating and for the sake of the guy behind me I say, “It’s okay, I don’t have to use it today. I’ll just pay the full amount.” They take a few more minutes to ring me up, look over my receipt, hand back my stuff and then to my great embarrassment loudly announce, “There is no money on this gift card. You have a balance of $0…Oh, but you do have a lot of points.”
Can you feel the side-eyes?
I wanted to die. I just held up the line, broke the machine, and let my child eat a cookie for lunch all because I had a $0 Subway gift card in my wallet that I apparently never threw away. And what are Subway points anyway? I don’t even know what that means. I could feel the stares of EVERYBODY deep deep into my soul.
“Okay, thank you,” I replied, “I’m so sorry about that.”
With a great big sweep of my arm I loaded the sandwiches into my purse and turned to A who was still sitting very quietly eating the cookie. “Honey baby, we are going to see daddy. Can I please have your cookie? You can have the rest later,” I say, as I take the cookie from her little hands and put it back in the bag.
ROOKIE MISTAKE, MOM.
Cue shrill screaming complete with a body throw to the ground and hitting the dirty Subway floor repeatedly with both hands.
“Okay, thank you. Let’s go,” I say calmly pretending like her reaction is totally normal all the while internally wanting to throw myself down next to her and scream, “EVERYBODY STOP WATCHING ME! YES, SHE IS HITTING HER HANDS ON A VERY DIRTY FLOOR RIGHT NOW AND IT IS VERY DISGUSTING AND SHE ISN’T WEARING A COAT AND I GAVE HER A COOKIE AND TOOK ONE AWAY FROM HER ALL BEFORE LUNCH…. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? THAT’S NOT THE WORST I DID TODAY. EARLIER SHE TOUCHED THE TOILET SEAT REPEATEDLY AND I NEVER WASHED HER HANDS. I NEVER WASHED HER HANDS BECAUSE I FORGOT TO. AT LEAST THESE GERMS AREN’T TOILET GERMS.”
(PSA: my husband did read this blog and reminded me how disgusting letting her touch a toilet seat truly is and asked me to please get my act together before somebody calls CPS. #noted)
And thus, when I managed to get our circus back into a contained space I checked my Fitbit and my heart rate was a fantastic 108. Basically, all I’m saying is who needs cardio when you can get your heart rate that high by visiting your local Subway? Also, if they made car seats that were child coat friendly, I probably wouldn’t have ever lost my big pack of anxiety marbles.
We drove a mile down the road to deliver lunch to daddy. As we were walking into his office building, a man walked out and gave me and A a huge smile. “Aren’t these the best years of your life?” he sweetly asked.
“Oh yeah!,” I replied enthusiastically… and then I literally snapped this pic.
(For the interest of this story, I did call the card to check the balance later and found out I did indeed have .98 cents on it… so I guess that is a very small amount of redemption.)