“I’m not going!” “Oh yes you are!” I lose.


When I was a teenager, I’d decided one day that I was over going to the grocery store with my mom. The last thing I wanted to do every Saturday was wake up and go to the store. My mom wasn’t having that.

I come from a single parent home and we had a routine. Saturday was shopping and Sunday was laundry. There were no ifs, ands or buts. Although the exception was during Field Show season, since we often had a 7 a.m. call time (or earlier), in which case I guess we went either when we got home, or if the event took an entire day, we went Sunday morning.

As part of the school regiment (Tall Flags baby, represent!!!) and that meant that every Friday night I’d be at either a football game or a basketball game and then the group would almost always gather for pizza afterward. Friday nights I wouldn’t get home until pretty late.


Left hand side, middle row in all red

On one particular Saturday morning, I was more tired than usual and my mom came in to tell me it was time to get up and get to the grocery store. I proceeded to tell her she could go to the store her own darn self, I was sleeping in. HAH! Now, at this point in our lives, I’d decided I wouldn’t be eating my mom’s food anymore because I didn’t like anything she cooked. In fact, I’m not really sure I did eat much those days. I can’t recall nightly meals. Maybe I lived on boxes of mac and cheese at the time. Who knows. So it’s not like I helped her with the grocery list because I didn’t really eat. As long as I had milk and cereal, and mac & cheese, I guess I was good.

Anyhow, She wasn’t having it, and I’d be going to the grocery store come hell or high water. She eventually won the argument and I do believe I went grocery shopping with her every Saturday until I started working.

Being a mom now, I often compare the way I handle our shopping and chores to how it was done by my own mother. For a few years I was a single mom of 2 small children myself. I had no choice but to drag them to the store with me. Once I got married, that was the end of taking the kids to the store with me. And especially now that 2 of my kids are old enough to stay home alone for a while, and watch their little sister to boot, the last thing I want to do is take the kids grocery shopping with me. Occasionally I have to take Jessalyn along on a store run, and every time I say to myself that I’ll never do that again. It’s not that she misbehaves or throws fits when I tell her no, we will not be buying whatever it is she’s asked for, it’s just that I get so distracted and end up forgetting half the items on my list. If I need Jason to go to the store with me, our first option is to leave Jess home with a sibling. I just don’t like taking any kids with me when I’m grocery shopping, or even running other errands. Am I alone in this?

I can’t understand why my mom would put her foot down once I was old enough to be home alone, and MAKE me go to the store with her. If I didn’t want to do something, I can tell you, I’m pretty sure I was a miserable little twit and did my best to make her miserable as well. And yet, week after week she’d tell me I had no choice, I was going. It’s not like it was quality time together as long as I was being a little wretch because I didn’t want to be there.

So I ask you, gentle reader, if you have someone available to watch your child(ren) do you take them shopping with you anyway? Do you prefer to wait until there IS someone available so you won’t have to take them to the store? Are you like me and avoid running errands with your child(ren) at all costs?

A Case For Mother Knows Best

This morning, I was sitting outside enjoying a morning cup of coffee, and I got to thinking about our upcoming trip to “The River.”

For those not in the know, “The River” refers to the Colorado River, and more than that, it refers to where everyone goes with jet ski’s, boats, and giant tubes to be pulled along behind said boats. And then there’s Lake Havasu, party central. That’s where the college kids like to go for spring break because it’s hot and the girls are scantily clad. It’s also my understanding that it’s a lot like mardi gras. Boobs everywhere. Both breasts, and idiots.

Anyhow, I started to remember the summer of 1992, shortly after graduation. I was still 17, and since I was a high school graduate, I thought I was all that and a bag of grown up chips. I could do pretty much what I wanted now that I wasn’t in high school anymore. Nevermind that I was still 17 years old, and thus a minor.

I was introduced to a boy by my friend, Christie. He mom was best friends with this boy’s mom, so I got to see him at several events/parties. Mind you, I’d only really known this boy for something like a month and a half, but his family was going to Lake Havasu for a week during the summer. He invited me to go along, and no, Christie and her mom weren’t going to be going. (Thinking back, I doubt he even got the ok from his mother to invite me.)

Well, of course I wanted to go. I had the serious hots for this guy. And besides, I’m a high school graduate and my mom can’t tell me no because I’m all grown up.

I got home and told her I would be going to Havasu with said boy and his family, and it was that moment I nearly lost my head. My mother told me absolutely not, there was no way in hell I’d be going with him and I could just forget it.

It’s at this point I should mention a few things. My mother had never laid eyes on this kid, had never met his mother, didn’t know them from the family down the street. Like any good mother, she pretty much told me I was off my rocker for even considering such a thing.

I hated her for it. I thought she was the most horrible, controlling person on the face of the earth and what’s the problem, I’m smart enough to graduate high school, so I’m smart enough to make decisions about who I’ll be going on vacation with. However, my mother was scary enough that I didn’t dare go when she told me no, even if I was “old enough to make my own decisions.” Hello? Jen? You said you were 17? You were still a minor you idiot! I know, I know.

Now that I’m in my 30’s and I can look back at those years with an adult’s eye as well as a mother’s eye, I understand. Of course I couldn’t go. Why did I ever think this was a good idea? I hated her at the time, but I think I’d lose respect for her now if she let me go. All I knew then was I liked this boy and I wanted desperately to go to this magical place.

I know I’ll be going through the same things with my own kids in the not too distant future. My oldest is 13 and she’s a lot like me. I just know we’ll butt heads in a big way because at 17, you’re not capable of thinking clearly when there’s a cute boy involved.

It’s a difficult job, protecting our children. We often have to make decisions that cause them to “hate” us, but they’ll get over it, just as we all got over it when we were in those same shoes. I’m glad my mother said no to me when I asked her such a ridiculous thing. She didn’t do it to be mean, she did it because she loves me and wanted to protect me from myself.

I know at some point in the distant future, my own kids will look back and be thankful for some thing I’ll be telling them no to for their own safety.

Oh yeah, that boy I had the hots for? Well a year or so later, he just happened to get a job where I was working, and, a few months later got himself fired for stealing. And I can’t for the life of me remember his name, this boy I so desperately wanted to travel to another state with just a month or so after meeting him.

*Picture courtesy of a random google search for spring break + lake havasu. I chose a very very tame picture, but if you do an image search for the same thing, you’ll see lots of nearly naked girls and drunk guys. You’ll see exactly why my mother said hell no.