As a young 20-something, the term “walk of shame” is well known for many people. You may be arriving to your 8am class the next day wearing the same outfit as the night before, with the nightclub handstamp image transferred onto your cheek, your hair array, and reeking of jungle juice. This obviously never happened to me, friends. Whatever you may fondly associate the term “walk of shame” with is your own prerogative. But I’m here to tell you that once you have officially traded in your dancing shoes for Toms and your clubbing skirt for a forgiving pair of yoga pants and entered the land of Momhood- the “walk of shame” evolves as well.
Yesterday, for example, is the perfect analogy of what a 29 (almost 30!) year old’s “walk of shame” has morphed into. In case you didn’t realize this, I’m talking about me. And just so you know, I also happened to be wearing Toms, and yoga pants (that have never even been to a yoga class.) So you’re getting the visual.
It was a beautiful day, so a small group of girlfriends from playgroup and I decided to hit up the local Denver hot-spot. The happenin’ place for all Stay at Home Moms and children under 5 years old at 10am. The zoo.
We arrived in good spirits. The 2 year olds were in good spirits, and the infants were content and/or snoozing in the strollers. We made a hard right for the monkeys, bypassing the giraffes and the “etephants” (elephants).
Tourist attractions meant for kids know what they’re up to. Putting a very loud and very obvious carousel at the zoo? Charging an extra admission price to ride it? The jig is up!
I should have known this was going to be the beginning of the end. The fact that Vivien began her temper tantrum before we even were able to purchase the tokens? The signs were all there. The waterworks started and the tantrums began. Friends, my daughter is not a cute kid when she’s throwing a tantrum. She contorts her face into what I labeled “ugly face”, and typically has at least three drool strands spanning from her nose to the floor at all times. That’s just the looks, too. The sound is loud, and annoying. And the actions? Oy. They almost always involve throwing something out of rage, plopping onto the floor, and sometimes kicking the ground as well.
She was able to pull it together after many threats from me of “time outs” long enough to enjoy the ride. And I’m sure you can imagine what happened approximately three minutes and one tiger-ride later.
The tantrum started again.
And it basically didn’t end. There was no reasoning with her, and it was escalating quickly. The ugly face was in full force, and my shoulder was literally soggy with drool strands and tears. My anger was rising as my patience level went down the toilet. It was time to just remove her from the situation, and stop the idle timeout threats. I informed her that we were leaving, and she heaved her entire body onto the dirty goose-poo covered sidewalk and began kicking. I picked her up and she arched her back and threw herself backwards. So I slung her under my armpit like a sack of potatoes, and haphazardly said our “goodbyes” and apologies to the other moms.
And then I started the long, shameful walk from the back of the zoo to the parking lot, with a toddler under my arm who was screaming at the top of her lungs, accompanied by kicking, punching and biting me as I walked. The modern day Mom’s walk of shame.
Additionally, it carried on for the next hour and 30 minutes as well, and being shoved into a carseat only escalated matters. (Along with waking up her brother.)
I wanted to bury my head in the sand and mutter stupid pre-kid cliche phrases like, “If my child ever bit me, there’d be hell to pay.”
On the way out, I caught many sympathetic glances and encouraging smiles, because most of us have been there at one point or the other. Living with a toddler is sometimes hard. It’s kind of like having a manic bi-polar with a limited vocabulary and the inability to go to the bathroom on the toilet as a roommate.
Toddlers, man. They bring a whole different meaning to the word “frustrating” sometimes. Especially when you still sport their teeth marks on your rib cage 8 hours later.