10 things moms REALLY do at Target

10. Circle the lot 4 times looking for a better parking spot. Feel misplaced sense of pride when finding a spot 2 spaces closer than the one you spied when you arrived 12 minutes ago.

9. Upon entrance, make a beeline directly to the in-store Starbucks. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Instead, *spend* $200 buying a tall latte for yourself and a milk box and bag of Cheddar Bunnies for the kidlette.

8. Head to clothing section. Consider a cute peplum top in slimming black, while kid complains in cart about how long it’s taking to get to the toy section. Put peplum top into cart and hope it achieves its purpose in your wardrobe: to stylishly camouflage belly flab.

7. Set latte down in cart while contemplating new workout gear that will be worn for sitting on the couch. Sigh when kid spills latte with leg. Search for paper towels to no avail. ‘Mop’ up latte with Old Navy receipt found in handbag.

6. Arrive at toy section. Child wants 3 new Hot Wheels trucks. Enter into lengthy in-aisle discussion with child about how they need to appreciate the things they have and enjoy what they already own. Revel in glory from respected glances via other Hot Wheels Aisle Moms clearly struggling with same issue. Settle on one new truck for child, feel accomplished and await Good Mom Award or sash of some stripe.

5. Feel very frugal buying dog food on sale, even though it’s only $.15 cheaper than normal. Put another bag into cart. Contemplate emailing TLC to be featured on Extreme Couponers because obviously this is talent, people.

4. Find food section. Add the following: fruit chews, potato chips, Cheez-its, granola bars, peanut butter, frozen waffles, giant bag of mandarin oranges. Every. Time.

3. Browse housewares section for no apparent reason. Realize you really need an owl candle. And a citrus scented home fragrance diffuser. And that white lacquered tray.

2. Look at contents of cart. Experience momentary guilt about home d├ęcor purchases. Remove peplum shirt and set next to stackable crates. Consider buying a stackable crate.

1. Check out at the register. Feel simultaneously proud and horrified that you’re spending $148. Realize your kid is still holding the Hot Wheels truck. Make that $152.

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Dear fellow parents: Why babies & restaurants don’t mix

The other day, a colleague and I went out to lunch at our favorite restaurant. It had been a long week full of crazy work stress, and we just needed a precious hour to decompress, chat about our lives and stuff our faces with juicy pork dumplings and garlicky green beans. A few tables over, another group of ladies were doing the same thing. There was just one problem: one of them had brought her toddler.
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Now, listen – before you bring out the pitchforks, I’m a mom, too, and I’ve been around the block for awhile now. My daughter is 18 and my son is 7. I remember life as a mom to a toddler and though it was mostly an awesome experience, there were definitely moments when I was frazzled and needing a break and would jump at the chance to connect with my friends over a meal.

I would pack bags of Cheerios, a multitude of Puffs, a Costco-sized crate of organic applesauce. I’d bring every set of BPA-free plastic keys and teething rings, every rattling giraffe. My phone was full of ‘educational’ apps so I could justify electronically pacifying my kid while SuperWhy taught him to read. I brought enough diapers and wipes to clean an entire daycare full of kids well into the next millennium. I. Was. Prepared.

Even with all my preparation, if, once at the restaurant, my child simply could not deal, I would leave my money with my friends and I’d hightail it outta there.

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This was not the case at Din Tai Fung. I watched as this woman’s toddler screeched and screamed her way through an entire meal. I sighed a lot. I was not having a fab time. I wanted to enjoy my meal, too, but I couldn’t even hear myself think, let alone what my friend was trying to tell me. And yes, I’m guilty – I gave the disapproving dagger eyes to this poor mom who was probably just really exhausted. However, I’m just gonna say it, Top Chef style: if your little one is melting down in a restaurant, please just pack your wipes and go.

I’m sure there are many who disagree with me. Go ahead, let me have it in the comments below, but I’m sticking to my guns on this one. Find a sitter if you want to enjoy a meal out with your friends – you’ll enjoy it more, trust me! Schedule your lunches during a time when your child is well-rested if you must bring them along, but please…if your baby can’t hang, it’s time to exit stage left and at least let the rest of us enjoy our chicken fried rice.
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