You know, I’m a fairly busy person. Five kids, my own business, these things require a certain amount of organization. Usually that looks like me, squirreling away things that I know that we’ll need so that just about anytime one of the kids says, “Mom!!! I need a…(birthday gift for my bff/new pair of sneakers/map of Denmark)” I can pull the item out of storage with a flourish. I’m a regular David Copperfield…usually.
This past year, for various reasons, I’m gotten out of the habit. There’s the space issue, of course. It wasn’t so hard to store extra clothing when the clothes in question were those adorable, teeny, tiny toddler overalls. Now that I have an 11 year-old son whose feet are larger than mine and a teen-age daughter who regularly raids my wardrobe, my storage space seems to have shrunk. (also, our mini van. Last year I told my daughter that she could invite seven friends to the movies after school one night, because, you know, we could just squeeze in the van together like we’ve always done. I pulled up to school and realized that wasn’t going to work…these were adult-size people, the majority of whom were taller than me. How did I miss that?) No longer can I open up one tote in the basement and – tah-dah!- make a new winter coat appear. Now I have to check totes in the basement, the laundry room, the boys closet, the girls closets, under my bed…. ridiculous! This entire house seemed to be becoming a warehouse of next year’s clothing.
Also, these days I’ve been making a conscious effort to reduce the number of trips I make to the stores. For one thing, I’m sick of all the back and forth; I’ve got no TIME, people! Driving the four or five miles to Super Target and the grocery store maybe doesn’t seem like much, but added to the trips to the library, the vision therapist, the orthodontist, the drum lessons…it adds up is all I’m saying. Subtract driving time from my available hours and my free time looks mighty nonexistent. (Oh, who am I kidding? My free time, like my money, is spoken for until…um, when does the little one leave for college?) Plus, reason number two; I HATE to drive. I am counting down the days until I am old enough to call that senior bus to come around and pick me up, already! I’ll go anywhere it wants to take me, doctor’s office, casino…I really could care less as long as I’m a passenger and not the driver.
Then there are the economic reasons. Given the appetites and destructiveness of my offspring, there is always something someone in the house desperately needs; a new desk lamp (destroyed), a new wastepaper basket (destroyed), spicy hot cheetos (consumed)…more trips=more opportunities to purchase these items whereas, if I’m not IN the store, we all just have to make do until I find the time. Somehow if we live without the items in question for a while, there is less of a burning need for them. (Except the cheetos. We always need cheetos.) If I were to be perfectly honest, however, the major money-related reason to STAY AWAY from all the pretty, pretty merchandise is that mommy has little to no will power at all. Things just magically fall into my basket. Things like sparkly earrings and funky tee-shirts or panini pans. The part of me that reads Thoreau and meditates and believes in moderation is appalled…my inner 6 year-old couldn’t be happier. I’m the freaking mommy and I can buy anything I like! A particularly good purchase will cause me to literally skip to my car. Sure, I regret it later…but never enough to return it.
So all this added up to zero in the storehouse for back to school. Plus, this is our eldest daughter’s first year of High School. She’s excited for many reasons, not the least of which was NO UNIFORMS for the first time in four years. Now, uniforms we got. Trendy skinny jeans and funky hookies, not so much. No worries, I had a plan of attack.
We hit Super Target first, for the school supplies for all five of the young ‘uns plus boring, but necessary things like socks, underwear, (OH! a pretty new hat for mom) and classroom snacks. I started to get worried when it looked like we might need a second cart. And also when the cash register lit up like a winning slot machine…. okay. That was just in my head, but they totally hit the jackpot when I walked into the store.
Then it was off to the mall for clothes for the girl. Jeans-check! Hoodies– check!
Funky tees– check and check! Invader Zim pink sleeved ringer tee for mom– wait! How did that get in there? Too late! –Check!
When all was said and done, I needed to lie down with a cold cloth on my head, suffering as I was from sticker shock. I have never, EVER spent so much money in one day. I have purchased airline tickets for far less. It occurs to me now, that the very best reason for tucking away purchases during the year, storage space be damned, is to protect myself from ever knowing how much money I’m spending on my adorable, yet clearly ungrateful offspring.
Thank goodness I have my ringer tee to cheer me up.