Kids cry. Some kids throw temper tantrums. I know it, you know it, it’s a fact of life. My kids are probably a bit louder than most kids. I say this because I know my kids are hyper, independent, stubborn, and mischievous little monkeys. They don’t have a mild bone in their bodies, and that applies to all four of them. As much as I love them, I know they can be brats. Just like me and their dad, if you catch us on a bad day. So with that said… a crying child equals a stressed-out mom.
I had a bad mom day, (or maybe a few) when we were in Kentucky for six weeks this Spring. I am only in the US every couple of years so when we visit I make sure to visit as many Goodwill stores as I possibly can. We live on my husband’s Social Security Disability in Mexico. This enables us to be in our Bible ministry and to travel. Goodwill has saved our family hundreds of dollars, if not thousands. This day my two tween daughters, my two-year-old, and I shopped at two Goodwills.
“Why on earth did you take a two-year-old shopping?”
Honestly, I had no choice. I hate taking toddlers shopping. I had to do it many, many times since our first kid was born and it is awful almost every time. This time was exceptionally awful. Tristan, the little one, was in rare form that day. The last 30 minutes of shopping at the first Goodwill I had a crying child. Not the whole 30 minutes but on and off. I tried to calm him down in various ways and nothing worked.
I was embarrassed. The girls were embarrassed. I was speeding around the store trying to finish my shopping, avoid the other shoppers, and get out of there as fast as possible.
“Why didn’t you just leave with your crying child?”
Because I am stubborn. I wouldn’t be back to this Goodwill for a few years. I was scoring bargains, left and right! I found a large, newish suitcase for $8, two large, feather, couch pillows with washable covers for $2 or $3, books for the kids at $1, clothes for the kids at $2, shoes for me at $3, a new kitchen rack for around $5, and more. None of these things are easy to find used in Mexico, and buying them brand new is not usually an option.
I also don’t believe in letting my kids rule the roost. If I need to get something done and they aren’t dying, I get it done with them kicking and screaming beside me. Maybe you think this is terrible. Sorry. It’s me. Trust me, there are worse moms out there. Tristan wasn’t dying. He wasn’t even hurt. He was throwing a temper tantrum because I wouldn’t let him run around the store by himself. He had to sit in a cart and it was the end of the world. That’s it.
“Does he need anything? Is he okay? He is upsetting some of the customers.”
One of the store employees asked me this as we were trying to cram into the largest dressing room. I was appalled. I had a crying child and she was concerned about the other customers. I think I ended up telling her, “Tristan is fine. He is tired and throwing a fit. The other customers will have to deal with it.” We left shortly after.
Later my mom-in-law explained that mentally, some people can not handle a crying child. It upsets them, physically and mentally. I wasn’t thinking about other people at this time. I was thinking about my screaming son. I am going to be completely honest… whenever I have a crying child I doubt I will ever be thinking about how the other person feels about it. I am going to think about my child, and if I can do anything to help them. In this case, I couldn’t help Tristan. He was mad. I couldn’t fix that by giving in to him. Giving in to your kid when they have a temper tantrum is not good parenting.
The Craziness Continues at Goodwill Store #2
I will admit going to another Goodwill after such a bad experience at the first one…. probably was not a good decision. In fact, it was a stupid decision. (I tend to make those occasionally.) I should have called it a day and went home. When we got in the truck, Tristan stopped his fit and behaved royally. I thought this was great. We could hit one more store. I parked near the entrance and left Taylor, my ten-year-old, in the truck with her brother. They were watching a movie. I thought he was going to fall asleep because he was so tired from the first store. I was wrong.
After a few minutes, another Goodwill employee approached me and said that a customer threatened to call the police if I didn’t get my crying child out of the car. I thanked the employee. The last thing I wanted was an encounter with the police. I brought Tristan and Taylor into the store. Tristan was screaming in the truck, but as soon as he got out of his seat he was as good as gold. I finished my shopping and we went home.
I know the person who threatened me was thinking about all those little ones that die in vehicles because their parents forget they are there. Perhaps they didn’t see Taylor in the truck and thought Tristan was by himself. I don’t know. I tried to research Kentucky laws on leaving a toddler in a vehicle with their older sibling. I couldn’t find anything. Personally, I don’t think it was harmful but I guess someone else did.
“What Did You Learn From This?”
Never go shopping with children. Never. Ever. Even if you are a missionary in a foreign country, living on a budget, visiting the US once every couple of years, and your family needs clothes and furnishings. Seriously, maybe it was just a really rough day. I know we all have good and bad days. I know I am not a perfect parent. Sometimes it makes me cry when I think of how lacking my parenting skills are and how much I need to improve in one way or another.
This bad mom day was just another lesson in life. If I am being positive I can say, “Maybe the first employee was only trying to help in whatever way she knew best.” And I am very thankful the second employee warned me about the police being called if I didn’t bring Tristan inside. If I think about it this way, I can deal with the situation. I can take what applies and learn from it, and throw the rest away. I was angry, I shed tears, I am sharing it with the world, and now I will let it go.
Signing off, Tina, Mexico Mom of Four
Originally published May 12, 2016
A ridiculous amount of coffee was consumed in the process of creating this project. Add some fuel if you'd like to keep me going ;-) Gracias!