Sunday, February 10, 2008

Wal-Mart Parenting

I'm pretty sure I'm still in the running for Mother of the Year. How do I know? Because Wal-Mart is closer to my house than Target, and so I get a weekly dose of what we refer to as "Wal-Mart Parenting". While I feel awful for the poor children whose lives consist of Wal-Mart Parenting, I have to admit I always feel a little bit better about myself as a mother (and then I look at my children and say, "You're so lucky to have me, so you'd better shape up you little snot-nosed brats before I . . ." and then I realize that I'm Wal-Mart Parenting myself, so I stop.).

It seems that every time I visit Wal-Mart, I find another example of Wal-Mart Parenting. Even when I go at 11:00 at night, when my children are in bed, other parents have their little ones out and about, and I am privy to their threats and nastiness. Really? Are you surprised that at 11:00 at night your little one is too tired to be pleasant? Do you really expect your two-year old to not have a melt-down when she should be home asleep?

Anyway. The other day I was talking with my sister, Ginnie, whom I absolutely adore. Even though she used to make me check out her teen romance books like she was running a real library when we were teenagers, and she would tell me that they were due back at midnight when I checked them out at 10:00 p.m. I learned to read very quickly in this way, so I shouldn't complain. However, since then we have both matured and grown and now she's one of my favorite people to talk to, even though our phone conversations go something like this:

Ginnie: So, what's new with you guys? CIERA! You cannot do that to your brother!

Me: Oh, not much. SPE! Get down from there, you will hurt yourself very badly! How are you guys doing?

Ginnie: We're fine. CAEL! Go find me a diaper so we can change you.

Me: Oh, good. I'm so glad. How are the kids? VEEVS! Can you please stop cutting that paper so close to your hair? You don't want to have short hair again, do you?

Ginnie: They're fine. They keep me busy. CHASE! Can you go see why the baby is crying?

Me: Tell me about it. SPE! You can't carry Wristy around! You're just not big enough, bud.

And so it goes, for a full hour. I love it. Anyhow, the other day we were talking about how motherhood is sometimes (almost always) extremely hard and you really have to work at being patient, kind, and nurturing.

I said, "Yeah, sometimes I'm like, 'Kids! Go get in the car. We're going to Wal-mart so that we'll be in public so that I won't go against all my principles and start spanking you!'"

Ginnie paused for a minute. "Maybe you should go to Target instead."

So true.


Poetikat said...

Brilliant bit! I'm not a mom (not deliberate, just God's way) and I love your frankness about your parenting. Wal-mart, indeed! Hilarious. So, if good parents want to stay good they must make regular trips to WM to remind themselves of what the BAD parents are really like? Kind of like if you want to stay slim, you just go walking around a food court in the mall and the motivation is staring you straight in the face (or is that too harsh - there's my British sarcasm creeping in.)
So glad you visited (albeit by accident)my blog - and I hope you'll pop round again. I'm adding you to my blogfellows as I know there are lots of moms in my circle who will find you as witty as I do.

P.S. Did you notice they're doing a Brideshead remake? That's worse than attempting to replace Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy!

Lippy said...

Had to say "hello" today. I've been reading here a couple of days, and this article was the ice-breaker for me!

Great stuff! Nice to "meet you"

Celia and Scott said...

First of all, hilarious post (no surprise).

Second of all, I love Ginnie too. I think the opposite of feeling good about my parenting skills (like headin' over to the local Wal-Marts) would be going over to someone like Ginnie or Liz's house. I just can't compete with parenting like that.

Today we went to Costco. I bet some of my fellow shoppers were wishing I would pull out my Wal-Mart parenting skills because I know they wanted to. While checking out, Ruby was crying and trying to dive out of my arms so she could run away (it was all I could do to keep her in the under-the-arm football-hold)and then Henry was screaming and thrashing around in the cart. I have a hunch that the friend who met me there for lunch probably won't be calling to repeat that circus any time soon.

One last thing (once again, comment hog, I know), what magical power do you have over your blurking fans that gets them to leave comments? My little hit counter is off the chizz-ain some days and since I have like two friends, I'm pretty sure there are a few strangers who read regularly but never comment. (I love blurkers, as I am one as well, but are they afraid of me?)

Corrine said...

heidi you rock!

I often why on earth parents have their toddlers at walmart at 11 at night???

And the phone conversation man isn't that the truth!!! Though many times our conversations end with "oh shooott...don't..." and we hang us with no good bye :)

Lucille said...


Oh my that was good - I SO understand the phone conversation thing and completely watch for the crazy lady with kids at Wal Mart!

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Be sure to check out my other blog too - address below! Hope to see you again soon!

Ginnie Kimball said...

I was really laughing through this one. It was almost verbatim to todays phone conversation. :) I can't wait to chat again. Love ya!

Amy said...

absolutely awesome! I am laughing my butt off right now. I wonder if you compared the two super centers which one would have the best parenting techniques. Can't wait to hear more!

Adrienne said...

How sad...they really are such similar stores, yet Wal-Mart does get such a bad rap!
Don't let my brother Nate read this post, Mr. Wal-Mart employee himself. I once asked him why all Wal-MArts were full of "WT", and all the stores were a mess, and he just rolled his eyes and told me Target was "targeted" for soccer moms in their SUV's, but Wal-Mart was targeted to the consumers interested in the best bang for their buck. Oh really? Well, how about instead of a greeter at the front door you put that person to work straightening up the fabric and knick-knack section!!

I laughed at all of the above comments, since the fragmented convos between moms seem to be universal. Celia and I use to notice that pre kids when talking with Liz, but now it doesn't even phase us. But if I had a quarter for every time the call ended in..."oh crap....I gotta go" followed by an immediate dial tone.....well, then I could quit having to ever shop at Wal-Mart!! :)

Corrine said...

I just read through all the comments, and happened to notice that half my thoughts didn't type out :) sorry guess I had a screaming kid or something while I typed that...hopefully you were able to read it and understand....

and I am still laughing about the double butt jeans!

Yvonne said...

Love the conversation between you and your sister--such memories for me.

TnD said...

If only I could rid myself of that "Target feeling". You know the feeling you get when you know you have to head to Target to purchase, something? Maybe cutting down on the time it takes to wander down the isles looking for that "something" in pure concentration would eliminate some of the need for Target parenting. I must agree that Target parenting is a little high-class than Walmart parenting, but have you ever checked out Kmart parenting—now that is really a wake up to the culture of smack and we'll talk later.

Nancy Face said...

Such a cute post! :)

I ♥ Target...big time. I despise Wal-Mart...BIG TIME! :0

It makes me very sad that Wal-Mart is two minutes from my house and Target is ten minutes from my house. That should not make any difference at all, but it does! I end up going to Wal-Mart when I'm in a hurry, which is much too often for my happiness...ugh!

Leisha said... you know how hard it is for me not to confront "Wal-Mart parents"? The checkers are equal to if not worse...I could write a book on Wal-Mart parenting from the advice they've dished out!

I love the sister is the same for my Mom and I, except she shouts out to my retired Dad... "Just where do you think you are going with that chainsaw Mr.?"

Jen said...

Yeah, insert "Sara" for "Ginnie," and that's my sister and me.

And we both wish we lived closer to Target.

JustRandi said...

Seriously, why is it that you see that kind of parenting at Wal-Mart, but not Target? WHY? Maybe I just don't notice it at Target because I'm distracted by looking at stuff I actually like.

Julia said...

Amen to that! So funny! I can't wait until one of my sisters has kids so we can have a conversation like that. As it is, it's a one sided yelling, sister patiently waiting type.
As for Walmart, that place gives me the willies. Or the wallies. Maybe it's the lighting? Who knows, but I can see why it puts parents already on the brink over the edge.

Sue said...

So true, and so funny :>

Josh said...

I can't believe that you spank your children.

Anonymous said...

Lover of the bloq post

Dan said...

OK last post was me, didn't mean to scare you.

Matt, Karin, Sienna, and Sadie said...

SO TRUE! I have seen people dragging their kids out of walmart so many times. There were a couple times when I wanted to report the mom. If they are that agressive in public how hard do they hit their kids at home. Sadness. You are such a great writer. I can read a post about anything and just love it.

Matt, Karin, Sienna, and Sadie said...

PS. I love that you watch The Office! "Do it now. 5,4,3,2,1 sell me your car,..."