Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Mommy Measures

Reserved parking for mothers is genius.  You know what I mean – those parking spaces with the big pink blobs on them, some complete with stork-adorned signs stating that the space in question is reserved for pregnant ladies or moms with babies.  Thank you women’s lib for finally allowing a woman to get high enough up the corporate food chain to implement this measure.  I mean, yeah, we are still not as close as the handicapped parking, but when you have to get out of your car in the rain, wrestle a stroller into an upright position, strap an unruly toddler into said stroller and hoof it into the store before your bundle of joy freaks out because (God forbid) if a raindrop touches him he might actually get clean, the fact that you have a pretty decent parking spot is the only thing saving your from not losing your (now very soggy) shit.   
Due to the overwhelming success of the mommy parking spot, I would like to suggest that retailers implement other Mommy Measures to keep their mommy-customers happy, such as the Mommy Service Counter.  Think about it – a special check-out just for moms who are accompanied by children.  Instead of candy and magazines around the counter there could be toys available to play with and cartoons playing on TV’s to amuse the kids, thereby saving us all from experiencing the all to frequent and totally embarrassing check-out line tantrum.  And when you are at the check-out and need to spend five minutes digging through the random assortment of toys, snacks, and diapers contained in your purse before you find your credit card, the person waiting behind you in line will not be some Condescending Cathy or Sighing Sally, but rather a Sympathetic Supermom who understands and is probably happy to have the time to empty out her own bulging bag.
Let me give you an example of a recent outing that could have benefited from some Mommy Measures such as these.   It was a Sunday morning, and the boys and I were headed to Tim Horton’s.  Being the popular coffee shop that it is, the line up was out the door.  However, I had promised the kids Timbits after our early trip to the gym, so despite the fact that my better judgement told me it was a bad idea to wait in line with a squirmy 18 month old and an impatient 3 year old, we stuck it out.  After ten minutes spent persuading Prince that the rope strung next to the line-up was not meant to be swung from and generally trying to keep my shit together so that the other patrons would think I am a better mother than I am, we reached the front of the line.  After ordering and annoying the people waiting behind me in the gi-normous line-up even more by letting my son pay, thereby taking up an extra three minutes of their time, we were finally out of there.
For all of two seconds that is.  The door had not finished swinging shut behind us before I realized that the cashier had forgotten to give us the chocolate milk we had ordered.  So while carrying my baby, a box of donuts and steering Prince via gentle yanks on his hood, I somehow managed to get us back inside the overflowing coffee shop, shove our way back up to the counter and interrupt the person who had already spent 10 minutes being frustrated at having to stand in line behind us.  Once I got my hands on that milk, you can imagine how eager I was to get the hell out of that place and never look back.
What you may find harder to imagine may be my reaction when, after traversing the parking lot, literally two steps from our car Simba, in his rush to get at our donut booty, rips the box out of my hand sending Timbits rolling in all directions.  In fact, it is probably better that you don’t imagine it, because it involved a lot of profanity, door slamming, pulling of hair (all my own, I promise) stomping and crying (not my own).  Prince proceeded to have a meltdown when I refused to let him eat the Timbits off the pavement, attracting at least 3 different people to the scene, 2 of which offered the kids one of their Timbits, to which Prince replied “NO!  I WANT MY OWN!!!”.  Despite the fact that every fibre of my being was set against ever setting foot inside that donut shop again, especially when it contained the very people I had already annoyed twice, the tears of my three year old forced me to ignore my own discomfort and we headed back in. 
I will spare you the details of the begging and shameful exploitation of tear-stained children that followed, but sufficed to say we once again managed to butt our way to the front of the line and I convinced the cashier to replace our Timbits for free.   However, I am now banned for life that Tim Horton’s. 
If only there had been Mommy Measures put in place at that Tim Horton’s location I might still be able to enjoy the caffeinated goodness of a double-double.  If there had been Mommy Parking we might have made it safely to the car before the donut disaster.  If there had been a Mommy Service Counter, I would not have annoyed all the regular customers, but would have probably made a new mommy friend of the person I interrupted.   
So as you can see, unfortunately kids were not born to shop, so it is difficult, if not impossible for moms everywhere to get stuff done, let alone get some much needed retail therapy (or caffeine) during a long day with the kids.  The sooner retailers address needs of the mommy-shopper the happier we all will be.  And I do mean ALL.  The retailers will make more money because us moms will not be confined to our houses due to fear of embarrassment, other chid-free shoppers can enjoy their experience more without being forced to endure the mayhem that is motherhood.  And maybe I would stop getting banned from places.

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