Children + Leaving The House = The Oregon Trail, Gladiator Edition

This last weekend was Easter Sunday. We were that family that arrived 25 minutes late because we assumed the resurrection could wait for us. Sorry, Jesus. This is the battle of every family with small children. 

Leaving the house? This used to be a simple task. Open the door, get in the car, leave. Done. Oh, the luxury. Those days are long gone. Now I am living in some nightmare that feels like a cross between the Oregon Trail and that Gladiators show from the 90’s.

Never mind my mental illness and anxiety that already make leaving home a trial. 

Dear world, you’ve seen us. The defeated, near homicidal mothers in ANY public venue. Screaming children on the ground. Small tribes desperately attempting to make their way successfully through a store in an attempt to purchase direly needed items like milk and toilet paper. Seriously. I am convinced that grocery shopping with children is the modern day Oregon Trail. And our children have turned into tiny Gladiators. It’s horrifying. 

Because what happens when the grocery well runs dry, Moms? You already know. This is not going to go well. The lovely three ring circus every mother has begrudgingly experienced. I sometimes liken it to the 10th circle of hell from Dante's Inferno. Or at least it should be, if there were such a thing.

So we lie to ourselves. Decisions must be made. The rationalizing begins. "How badly do we really need to eat this week?” “I've got some kidney beans and a tin of pickled herring from '94 in the pantry. I could get a couple meals out of that.” 

But inevitably reality sets in. 

So like a boss you load your tribe into the car and proceed to the store. A pioneer woman in the flesh, the next few hours will determine the fate of your family. Will you even make it to the store and home? Or will your wagon collapse in the river with all your supplies for winter? Will typhoid fever, cholera or dysentery take you out on the way? It takes two hours just to find, bribe, dress and load the fruit of your loins into the car. And let’s not even discuss whether it’s winter.

Leaving the house with kids = every marathon ever. 

We should be oh so lucky to only have to throw our littles in the back of a wagon. Apparently that’s against the law now. Um, whatever. Instead each child is required to be in a 24 point harness requiring a PHD, that they will never get out of because you still can’t figure out the release buttons. Every. Single. Time. 

Once at your destination you begin the search for the elusive yet necessary carts with child seats SPECIFICALLY FOR FAMILIES WITH SMALL CHILDREN (This PSA has been brought to you by every angry and desperate mother ever). But they are all gone because apparently Doris is using one for her pet yorkies and a group of adolescent teenage monsters are using the rest for some sort of truth or dare event. Jesus take the wheel so that I might not sin right now. Because murder is against the law. It’s the 11th commandment. Though shalt not harm the selfish bastards hoarding the child carts. Wash, rinse, repeat. 

This is why we all need church: Children are a test that no one is able to pass on their own. No one tells you this. Except me. Now. You are welcome. 

So you strap the littlest people to your body and toss as many of the rest into whatever rolling contraption the store has made available. Your only goal is to retrieve as many food and home goods as possible before your time runs out. This is determined by three things: Your inability to stick to your list which you inevitably leave at home every single solitary time, the ability of strangers to ignore your toddler in aisle 3 having what appears to be a seizure because you will not let him drink that large bottle of soy sauce, and your sudden realization that not so fresh sensation is either you or the baby and you do not have the time nor the patience to stop and find out who the guilty party is.  

Because this is life or death. 

And so you soldier on. You will fill that cart. You will tame that tribe. You will master those stormy waters. Because you are a mother. And this is not the Oregon Trail. This is real life. And people can stare all they want. Unlike the game, you are getting this done and WILL make it home. Dinner starts promptly at 6. Or 9. Let's be honest.

All start times are muddy waters these days.  

This last weekend was Easter. I have no words to describe the sh!t show that was us trying to get to church. The amount of time and energy required to just put clothes on everybody was mind numbing (Cause church is apparently for everyone except those without pants - hum, okay, that’s fine). There was so much wailing and gnashing of teeth. And that was just me and my husband. 

We were embarrassingly late. Hey everybody. We love Jesus too. I promise. And I definitely did not knowingly drop off both twins at children's church with what was smelled suspiciously like poop in someone’s pants. Good luck in there. 

When I picked my boys up from children’s church, they were each handed a ballon on a stick on the way out. That’s right mothers. You read that right. A balloon on a stick. I looked at the guy and said, through gritted teeth, “Mmmmm, thanks. This should go well.” Why, Jesus? Is this a test? Cause I’m gonna fail. 

My boys entered the lobby like two armed gladiators. It was equal parts horrifying and impressive. I watched as the multitude of families gathered peacefully in the lobby began to part like the Red Sea as my children wielded their newly gifted balloons like weapons of mass destruction. Innocent people were ducking and diving as these would be swords landed blows left and right. It was wild. At one point Avery had removed the stick and it was shoved approximately 9/10 of the way up his left nostril. Done. I’m done. 

There I stood. You know those moments Mamas. When you officially give up. The realization sets in that you have lost all control. The ship is officially going down. I literally made the decision to pretend I didn’t know who they were. Instead I walked calmly around, chatting with different families and friends. Cat1ching up with everyone. Purposely oblivious to the two small people screaming at the top of their lungs and running down a long corridor and out of my sight. Good luck boys. Hope you can find your way home. 

But then it happened.

Like lunatics, we decided to take the obligatory family photo in the designated area, with the mile long line of other drowning families. Condolences may be sent directly to Jesus because that's where we all are now. It was nice knowing everyone. 

He is Risen Indeed. 

Disclaimer: This article is not for those considering having children.