Sunday, I was at Target entirely as a means to be out of the house. We needed absolutely nothing. Sharing a car with my husband has given me serious cabin fever. If I get a chance to leave and spread my wings, then I better go – somewhere, anywhere.
My latest Target finds were two $3 square wood plaques, painted in spring colors. The first says, “Every day is a fresh start.” And the second says, “Wash your worries away.” When I saw them and their price tag, Oprah boomed over the load speaker, cheering, “She FOOOUUUUND IT!”
It felt so good to find those little items. Target is like that. When you walk in the door, you can feel the gods of peace and tranquility descend, as you grab a cart simply to lean on while you walk. I mean, rarely do I actually need a cart at Target, but I always get one. It’s what you do to prepare for “The Item” or “The Items”.
“The Item” is the thing you have been looking for your entire life. You have never ACTUALLY seen it before, but you know that somewhere, out there a fairy godmother is blinking it into existence. Think “I Dream of Jeannie” with crossed arms, a precise head nod and full wink. Sometimes, if you are very lucky, Jeannie creates a SET of “The Items”. If this happens, then you will invariably stand in the checkout line with guilt. I mean, finding “The Items”? Your girlfriends will for sure be jealous. Your husband? Anxiously moving money around in the budget.
I cannot tell you how many times “The Item” has been a water bottle. I don’t know how Target does it, but their selection of water bottles is a verifiable phylum in the animal kingdom, of which there are innumerable species. I swear to god, they discover a new one each week and every damn time I think, “This is it!!! I’m going to drink 64 ounces everyday for the REST of my life! I’ll be like the Jillian Michaels of water drinking!!!”
Except the next time I go into Target, I can almost guarantee that I will be dehydrated from the steady caffeine drip that is my Mountain Dew.
Why the Target Rally Cry?
I don’t know how many memes I have seen about moms in Target, but it’s a lot. In fact, as a socially awkward mom, I find that talking about Target is a sure fire way to make a friend. I mean, in the rare event that that they hate Target (I’ve never actually come across one of those moms), then what would you talk about? Aldi? Whole Foods? Costco?
I think there is more too it than just shopping. I think there is more to it than buying things for ourselves – more than finding “the item”.
I think moms are desperate for self-care.
Independence, alone-time, pursuing an interest, buying something for yourself without hearing about the 87 things your child saw that they wanted – these are things we don’t get very much. I don’t think people talk about the hidden burdens of parenting enough. Sure, we complain about poopy diapers, messy kids who refuse to do chores and squabbling siblings. Those aren’t the real, draining factors. They are just tips of the iceberg. Underneath, lies a hidden, colossal anchor.
Someone is dependent on you.
You are responsible for someone. Just existing in that context is weighty.
I have had days when I just needed to exist. I did the bare minimum for myself and for them. I have had days when I closed the bathroom door to go potty (do people still say restroom? Huh. I guess that word isn’t in my repertoire anymore), as I listened to the small being wail and thrash against the door. How dare I tinkle for 30 seconds by myself!
The worst part for me (I’m sure not everyone feels this way), is that I feel guilty for that 30 second tinkle.
Which is fucking ridiculous.
Then, there is the matter of pursuing interests. People talk about how you forget to connect with your partner when you have children. Then, suddenly, one day you have an empty nest and you are fumbling your fingers, looking to the other person like they are a stranger! But the real problem isn’t that you don’t recognize the person across from you. The real problem is that your don’t recognize yourself. Who is that looking at me in the mirror?
It’s the caring for children and ignoring the care of ourselves that leaves us unhappy. We are desperate to fit one more thing into Suzy’s schedule so that she can grow up, hopefully get a scholarship and live a full life. While the entire time, we fail to live our own full lives. And what kind of example is this to our children? This failing to live full lives, it only teaches them to do the same when their own little angels arrive.
A New Kind of Revolution
In Target, by myself, I can walk up and down the bedding aisle 87 times and find every endcap clearance shelving in the store, without a child begging for toys or a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino at Starbucks. I can fulfill my wants and desires for the hour and a half that I roam the store and emerge a human once again.
THAT is why the Target craze exists.
But what if, nobody freak out now, we liked being in our homes just as much? Now, there is an idea that could change the world. There is an idea worth fighting for.
But also, I just need to run to Target and pick up a few things to make this home more enjoyable… Shop on, sisters!