Now this sounds simple enough but it really isn’t. Anybody with kids no matter how many they have, knows that there are some places or errands that you need to do or run that are just not conducive to taking young children along for the outing.
If you take them with you, you are bound to return home with at-least twenty new grey hairs and a few extra wrinkles. I thought I would take a humorous look at what they are, and why you should try your best never to have to do any of them with your children or anybody else’s for that matter. I am talking from experience here, I have done them all with kids and have the grey hairs to prove it.
So here is my take on the 5 places to never take your kids (none of these trips are any better if you have help either)
- The Bank…..at the end of the month
So it’s Saturday morning and the end of the month, and if like me, you work full-time, you will know that getting into a bank during the week is not always possible. It’s 10:30 And you realize you actually have to go into the bank for some reason, and it closes at 11:30am. (Yes, some people do occasionally still have to go into a bank)
So banks are open on Saturdays yes, but there are thousands of people in the same boat as you, and once you have gotten the kids all out of the car, remembered to take all the bits ‘n pieces like the Sippy cup, shoes, iPad with a game or two on as well as your own handbag and bank required goodies and have the kids all in tow, you go inside only to see once you have gone through the roundabout doors, that the queue is almost out the door, and there are only 2 tellers on duty and nobody at information. You can’t turn around, you have to sort this out and so you get in line.
What follows next is what only the best nightmares are made of. You tell them all to stand with you, you hold on as best you can, but there will always be one! Yes, you know what I mean! The escape artist. One will escape and when they do, you have a problem on your hands. If you move, you will lose your spot, if you stay you will lose your child. You ask the man behind you to hold your space. You can’t leave your other kids there. He kindly agrees and you go to find your three-year old fiddling at the computer behind the empty information desk. When you turn around you see your six-year-old filling out countless random deposit slips with the pen dangling from the table.
You turn around to see the last one taking a walk up the stairs leading to the consultants division. You can’t call after her, people will turn and look at you, so you run after her with the others dangling behind you and once you have her in your firm grasp you return to your spot. There is nowhere to sit and the kids get antsy and start complaining, you try to persuade them to play a game on silent mode on the tablet and you page though a book with the toddler. The queue moves really slowly and after 45 minutes of lots of whining, escapism and sweets dug out the bottom of your bag left over from various meals at the Spur, you get to spot number five in the queue and then wouldn’t you know it, someone declares in angst, that they need to visit the bathroom. There isn’t a bathroom in the bank, the nearest one is outside the bank in a public bathroom. So what do you do? If you leave the bank now, you won’t get back in, because it has closed, but if you stay, you will have to do some heavy explaining once there has been an accident on the floor. Well, what I do is simple, I actually leave. I don’t know what is worse, having to explain to someone with a story as to why you couldn’t get to the bank or having to apologize profusely and mop up wee in the bank? For me it’s the wee. I just can’t.
- The Post office
For a long time when I when I had a previous online store, I would spend most waking moments outside of my office, in Post offices sending off orders. I also used a courier, but people seemed hesitant to pay for that and preferred the cheaper option. Most Saturday’s I would need to go and post an order or ten and I usually found myself taking one or more children with me.
The Post office on a Saturday can be much like the bank at the end of the month. Long queue, irritable patrons and antsy children don’t make for a good mix. You kind of get the bank rehashed except with a hundred lotto tickets being filled out by your six-year-old or the fishing license papers being scribbled on that are in the display with the one random pen that isn’t attached to a string.
Once you get to the front you may often experience that lack of an ID book if you are collecting something, or forgetting to jot down the address before going to post the parcel. All in all it’s not fun and those attendants at the Post office on Saturdays have no time for that. Can you say death stare?
- The Traffic Department to renew your license.
Well this one is kind of self-explanatory. I hate the Traffic department on my own, but it’s pure hell with children in tow. No matter when you go there are always queues, you have to sit in rows and move up one seat at a time until you get to a window with a usually very unfriendly clerk to assist you.
For some reason your children will always choose this place to get down on their hands and knees and crawl around the sickeningly dirty floor underneath the waiting room chairs. Can you tell I don’t like the traffic department? When you get there you first usually wait to have your eyes tested.
Those officers are never in the mood for chit-chat, let alone kids running wild. You get to the front, go inside and sit down for the eye test, while making your kids understand in the most appropriately stern voice, that they should stand still and wait for you or else! And then while you have your eye to the machine and are locked in that position you hear a knock and it’s your three-year old knocking on the door of the sergeant in the office next door and singing ‘Do you want to build a Snowman?” Yip, true story.
- The Pharmacy
As a mother this is sometimes unavoidable. You have sick kids, you have just been to the doctor with them or you yourself are ill and have just been to see your doctor(These are other places to also preferably visit alone) You need to fill a script, or you have to take your tiny baby to be weighed at the pharmacy clinic sister, or get some shots, and you have no choice but to take you other children with you. You find yourself in a pharmacy, the old-fashioned kind, not the mega kind like the chain-store version.
The smaller ones that you find at neighborhood shopping centres. These are the ones run by the Davies family that have had the place since you were a child. Everybody that works there knows you This kind of place is the kind that makes me start hyperventilating just thinking about. All the medication, all those glass bottles and displays, those machines and wheelchairs and walking sticks and heaven behold, the gift aisle, the aisle with the most breakable lot of content known to any mother out there.
I don’t think I really need to elaborate on this one. You can imagine it for yourself.
- The Hardware store
I am speaking mostly on behalf of my husband in this regard, because he is the poor soul that makes this terrible mistake over and over again. He spends a fair amount of time at the local builder’s wharehouse, we often go as a family so I am privy to the nightmare. You think it will be alright, the place is huge, the aisles are wide, it’s hardware for goodness sake, what could go wrong?
Well, it starts out alright, you walk in and start to browse, they spot the free popcorn at the information desk and the coloring area so you load them off there and you are good to go. Wrong, you have no longer progressed up aisle the eldest one has come running after you leaving the two younger ones to fend for themselves because she got bored at the coloring. So you try very hard to persuade her to go back and she won’t. You have to go fetch the other two, you can’t leave them there alone.
You have gone to match paint samples so off you all go to the paint department. There is a queue so while your husband stays in it, you try to entertain the kids with the “Help your-self” swatches of paint colours on the displays. It starts out fine and they just want to take one or two each. It’s not long and they all have 50 each and the paint department attendant is starting to look annoyed.
Then you notice out of the corner of your eye that one has escaped, you take a little walk up the next aisle only to find the bathroom fitting department is next to the paint department, and there you find your six-year-old has found a bathtub he likes and has climbed in it. While trying to coax him out of it you hear a loud crash and a scream and your toddler has managed to pull basin over on the bathroom display and it’s broken into pieces. The scream was out of fright but your motherly instincts kick in, because you know the dangers of broken porcelain.
You collect your kids, apologize profusely to the manager that is trying to help you, and disappear back to the paint department in desperation to get home only to discover that they are out of one of the colors to mix your batch. Again, true story!
So in a nutshell or rather a long-winded vent, these are my 5 main spaces to try to avoid with children at all costs. Others include, a toy store if you have to buy a birthday gift for a class friend and don’t plan on buying something for your own child because nothing can prepare you for the eventual chaos that will lead to.
Are there places you don’t like to take your children? I would love to hear your stories or is it just me that feels this way?
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