Being a mom to young children is a season of being needed. Very, very needed. It's a season of narrowed focus—spending virtually every waking second planning around and predicting the needs of others.
It's not a season of indulgence or selfish desires.
Which is sometimes a good thing. It refines you and strengthens you in ways nothing else can, shoring you up to bear a family's worth of burdens and empowering you to be your children's hero. But it can also come with an overwhelming sense of being unmoored—not knowing exactly who or where you are in this new mom space-time continuum.
And then that magic moment happens where the stars align and I get to go to Target alone.
How do I describe the intoxication that is strolling the wide (no one bumping me! so luxurious!) aisles of Target solo?
Odds are, I don't need to paint you a picture—you too know the heady feeling of having time to examine every new piece of the Hearth & Hand spring collection without anyone whining about wanting a cake pop or trying to break a delicate green glass cupcake plate.
No doubt you too have basked in the exhilarating rush of thumbing through every single Universal Thread denim item before selecting your favorite 20 items and draping them dramatically around your empty dressing room—and actually trying them on! And looking at them in the mirror from all angles! Without accessorizing with a baby carrier!
Each of these moments gives me a pause in my world of selfless mothering and reminds me that I'm worth caring for too. And so, I want to thank you, solo Target run.
Thank you for reminding me that I am worth treating myself.
Target doesn't rush me when I'm alone. It lets me shuffle through each and every aisle of home décor, whether or not I actually need a new shower curtain or door mat. If I'm feeling especially decadent, I might even hit up the in-house Starbucks for a grande almond milk latte first. As I peruse throw pillows or storage solutions, I'll take comfort in my sumptuous cup, knowing that I will be able to drink the entire thing before it even hits room temperature.
Thank you for reminding me that I am so much more than “just a mother."
Sure, most of my days are a blur of reading my daughter books in pajamas and dreaming up stories for dolls on the living room floor, but just because there's no reason to get dressed in real clothes and swipe on some makeup doesn't mean I don't feel my best when I do anyway.
Target understands. With no husband or child in tow, I'm free to explore clothes and makeup that remind me of the attractive adult I still aspire to be. In a fit of wild spontaneity, I might even duck into the beauty aisles. I'll admire the newly expanded Natural Beauty selections and incredibly affordable ELF products before throwing an Acure face mask and a bottle of Kristin Ess's Rose Gold Temporary Tint into my cart—because moms like to get crazy, too.
Thank you for always having just what I need—even if I didn't know I needed it yet.
I'm constantly focused on taking care of others, but on my solo Target run, it's hard to ignore the fact that Target wants to take care of me. Whether it's a shelf full of charming, oversized coffee mugs or a rack of cozy blanket scarves, Target has what I really want (even if I only came in here for some permanent markers).
I'll suddenly find myself in the office décor section and pretend to debate the chalkboard globe or the gold magnifying glass (it would make me look so worldly and studious!) before ultimately shrugging cavalierly and leaving with nothing—I already have the gold scissors and stapler anyway!
Thank you for reminding me that I'm not alone.
Whether I check out with a $150 cart of new home décor and cleaning supplies or a $30 cart of mascara and sunglasses, my solo Target trip doesn't judge me (or text me from the car asking if I'm almost done yet).
Target knows that almond milk eggnog and a new quilt for the guest room are both necessities. Target knows that I've earned that SUGARFIX by BaubleBar necklace impulse buy. Target knows me and celebrates me, whether I'm just checking the price tags of everything in the new clothing section or coveting a gingham table runner we both know will spend most of its life in a drawer avoiding toddler splatters. Target makes me feel like the life I dream about only on Pinterest is maybe not so far out of reach.
And that's why going to Target alone is my 'thing'—the thing that makes me feel in control at times when life is anything but. It's a frivolous moment of decadence amidst so many other moments of decision-making and responsibility.
It's a moment of freedom and possibility that doesn't judge—in fact, encourages—my shopping in leggings and a comfy sweater that may or may not bear remnants of my daughter's lunch.
So, I thank you. For the escape, for the indulgence, for the affordable faux leather booties that are perfect for fall. As always, you're right on target.