Do you ever find yourself staying home just to avoid the stress of going out with your children? Sometimes I do. Not all the time, but there are certain places I avoid going to with the kids, at any cost. Whatever it is I need at those places will just have to wait until I have one of those extremely rare, pigs might fly, child-free moments.
It hasn't always been this way. When I was able to strap both my children into a double pram, things were a lot easier. But now that they are both young preschoolers, things have changed. There came a day when they were just too big for the stroller, they seemed crammed in their little seats. That was the day that the baby chapter of my motherhood experience ended, and I found myself the tamer of two small but wild creatures.
There is only a 14 month age gap between my children; often they are mistaken for twins. On the rare occasion I have just one child with me, I find their behaviour to be much more refined than when the two of them are together. They seem to bounce off each other's exuberance, and are obviously both still learning proper social etiquette.
There are a few places you won't catch me with my children...
1. The beauty salon
You will never see me there with my children in tow. I'd rather have bushy, blonde eyebrows than sit for ten minutes having them waxed and tinted, praying the whole time that my children were behaving as they should. See, a visit to the salon is supposed to be a stress-free treat. A moment you take just for you. Lying on a table and closing my eyes would be literally impossible with my three and four year old in attendance. There's no way I'd relax, I'd wonder what on earth they'd try while I wasn't watching. They are rambunctious and wild, like most preschoolers. They belong at a park, not a beauty salon. Therefore, I will go for months between eyebrow waxes just so that I can go to the salon alone in peace. And no, I'm not actually related to John Howard, it's just an uncanny resemblance, okay? (Where are my tweezers?!)
2. Make-up shopping
Before I had children, this was one of my favourite things to do. Now, I just hope I can make it to one of the bi-annual half price sales and stock up on supplies. There are so many pretty coloured things within reach of my children; I don't need them ruining any displays while I'm trying to find the nicest shade of pink lippie. Make-up is expensive stuff - you need to know you're buying the right thing. When shopping for make-up, it's important to browse, to take your time. Browsing is a lost and forgotten art when you have a three and four year old with you. They're busy trying to touch everything and stand under other shoppers' feet. Not fun!
3. A craft shop
Sometimes I like to get crafty and do a bit of sewing. It's a wonderful feeling to make something from scratch. But it's important to start with the right materials. Even if you have a list, it's hard to think straight when you have two children constantly chattering, racing around you, trying to hide behind display curtains and climb on shelves. Sometimes, my children can be too wild. Scratch that - sometimes, they can be little turds. They require my constant guidance - I couldn't spend 20 seconds searching for the perfect fabrics! Then lugging the giant rolls around the store with my two rugrats? The result would be disastrous.
4. Shops with breakable items
"Look with your eyes! Hands by your sides!" I sound like my own mother did over 20 years ago. As a child, I didn't take heed. Not until the day I accidentally broke a tiny terracotta snail, which my mother had to pay for. I never forgot about it. Every time I've been into Bed, Bath & Table, I think of that day. I see my son using his hands to look at the beautiful, breakable wares, and I suddenly remember there's nothing there I really need that day, and we make a smooth and fast getaway.
I've learned, though, that there are certain places that my children, and pretty much all other children, are suited to. There's plenty of places I will take my children. We have a lot of fun together. Thankfully, our town is filled with beautiful parks and playgrounds, which we visit regularly. Sometimes, we head out and enjoy a nice lunch together at a child-friendly restaurant. I know this crazy chapter won't last forever; soon enough my children will develop a little self control and they'll learn how to look with their eyes.
Until then, you know where you'll more than likely find me... at home!