Monday, April 15, 2013

Shopping For My Mind

I realize we live in a different world than when I was raising my kids, but things couldn't have changed that much.  Could they?

Saturday, my husband attended an all day class in another town.  He asked me to ride with him and suggested I do some shopping while I was there.

First, I went to Wal-mart to pick up a few items.  I wanted to get there early before the crowds came.  It wasn't too busy so the store was quiet and peaceful, making my task quick and enjoyable.  Then I took care of some business and went to McDonald's to work on the computer.  (It is so nice to be able to access the Internet in a fast food restaurant.)   The restaurant was full of kids.  Why not?  It was getting close to 11:00 a.m. on Saturday.  After ordering their meal, they all went happily outside to the playground.

Close to lunchtime I went back to the classroom, picked up my husband, and took him to lunch.  Afterward I decided to do some fun shopping.  To me there is a difference in shopping and buy things.  Shopping is wandering around and looking for things I don't need.  I rarely buy anything when I'm shopping.  I shop for fun, stress relief, recreation, and enjoyment.  I set out at about 1:30 p.m.

I went to Old Navy because I had a gift card.  As I entered the door, I immediately noticed loads of clothes created for bodies other than mine.   Before I had passed the first section of the store I heard a crying baby.  Then I heard another one.  They cried the entire time I was in the store.  I finally left and headed for Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  I was barely in the front door when I heard a crying child.  The crying continued for the duration of my shopping.  Then I headed across the street to Ross, Dress For Less, one of my favorite stores. Ross carries unique items, making every visit an adventure.  As usual, I headed to the back for the section with dishes. I didn't make it all the way back before I heard a baby crying.  None of these parents made any attempt to even determine the problem, much less comfort the child.  By the time I left, I thought I'd lost my mind.

That's three different stores in the afternoon with crying babies.  Now let's examine this to find the problem.  Four different parents--not a parenting issue.  Three different stores--not a location issue.  Four different babies--not a personality issue.  Afternoon--humm, could be the problem.  

Newsflash!  Small children need to nap in the afternoon.  Taking a child shopping when his or her tired little body requires rest is not fair to the child, parent, or other shoppers.  This child is only trying to communicate his or her needs.  Parenting means putting your child's needs before yours.  I am a parent.  If it was necessary to take my babies shopping, we went in the morning, arriving home in time for lunch and a nap--usually for all of us.  (Shopping with small children is exhausting.)

Children are more enjoyable when they are pleasant.  Children are more pleasant when their needs have been met.  My advice for young parents.  Enjoy your child.  Meet their needs.  Enjoy your child.  Do what is best for them.  Enjoy your child. 

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