I’m sure to most people who have few to no children having four or more kids seems like a nightmare. People constantly ask my mother how she coped with five small children, all within two years of each other. (My dad has always worked outside the home.) Truth is, I’m not even sure how my mother wasn’t driven insane by our shenanigans. And I’m sure that many people think that mothers of many children are forced to stay cooped up in the house because ordinary errands are too much work when you throw babies into the mix.
And it’s true: the annoying, although simple, task of running to the grocery store becomes a huge hassle for mothers who must take multiple children with them. It’s not just putting shoes on one kid and making sure they get buckled in the car. Instead, you’ve got five small people running around, in complete disarray because the excitement of going to the store is overpowering their ability to put socks on and tie their shoes. Then there’s the issue of who’s going to sit where in the car. Everybody wants the front seat, nobody wants to climb in the back seat, and you’re not willing to sit next to certain siblings in the middle seat. And everybody wants to listen to different music (although Mom’s music choice was what we usually ended up with: “If you’re going to fight over it; we’ll listen to Celine Dion!”) Then, getting into the grocery store was like playing Frogger. The fun doesn’t truly begin until you’ve entered the grocery store and Mom’s too preoccupied with the grocery list to truly pay attention. The baby was trapped in the cart, but the rest of us were free to run wild. We’d seek refuge from Mom within the depths of the clothing racks. Then we’d attach ourselves to the model video game kiosks that Mom would have to pry us from. The most fun was when one of us would become so totally separated from the herd, that a kind customer or employee would take us to customer service and page our mother, so the whole store could hear about how my mother couldn’t keep ahold of her little monsters.