Monday, August 20, 2012

the epitome of motherhood grace and the re-loved suitcase

Remember this vintage suitcase I posted about a few weeks ago?

I've been seeing painted suitcases and trunks a lot lately and I knew this cool piece, which I've had since high school, had more life left in it. And, like most girls I have a slight obsession with jewelry which always poses a problem for storage...

Wanting something unique that was easily accessible and where I could have my earrings side by side (don't you hate being 10 mins late all because you were searching for the match?) and something where I could hang my necklaces...

This is what I came up with:

painted the hardware a metallic gold

I added cork to the inside door for my earrings and pins...

Meanwhile, I had a near breakdown last Friday and I have to share my story in hopes fellow moms out there will tell me they have been there....and reassure me that I am not turning into the mother they feature on 60 minutes who's child runs around barefoot in the middle of a trailer park looking gaunt and in need of a bath yesterday.  Because, that is how I felt on Friday.  When I was shopping at Wal-Mart.  Here goes:

I have not had to leave a store as a result of Leila being upset since she was an infant.  And even then, if I had to leave a store it was because she was hungry, tired or had gas.  Simple as that.

I had to run out to the store on Friday to grab some last minute essentials: milk, diapers etc.  And, it seems since I have had a child I have become a Wal-Mart shopper (gasp!)...I would have never thought the day would come but let's face is convenient and Leila's diapers and organic whole milk are a heck of a lot cheaper.  So, off we went for what was supposed to be a quick 15 min shopping trip.

It started when she didn't want to sit in the cart.  After some whining, I finally got her to sit down.  Not two minutes later she was telling me she wanted to take her shoes off.  Now, they are velcro and I thought they were hurting big deal, I took them off.  30 seconds later, she was standing up, refusing to wanting to get into the "main" cart.

Fine, this was not a battle I wanted to fight with her.  So, my shoeless toddler is now in the "main" cart refusing to sit down and she is looking every bit of what makes me cringe when I see this same scenario.  But, now she is crying because I have told her that if she doesn't sit down she is going to fall.  And she does fall.  She is screaming, crying, whimpering (in that order) over and over again.  A crescendo effect my daughter is providing the shoppers.  People are beginning to look at me and when I look at them directly as if to say "what are you looking at?" they quickly look away.

We are getting close to the end of shopping and my patience is thin and I am frustrated.  Things are piled around her and she now wants to get out (we are by the fish section).  "OK, but we have to put your shoes back on."  "No."  This went on for a few minutes.  Now, I was starting to lose it...fine walk around Wal-Mart without any shoes on.  This is a new low.  I put her down and she giggled, taunting me.  She loved this no shoe thing at the store while I thought I was going to vomit.  I picked her back up and told her again, "It is fine if you want to walk, but we have to put your shoes on." 

SCREAMING.  I mean, top of your lungs screaming.  I tried to pick her up and push the cart with one hand but she refused to let me prop her on my hip.  Moms, you know this trick right?  By the time I maneuvered my way to check out I basically was holding her on my side with her body perpendicular and head upside down, no shoes on, screaming and wailing.  I rounded the corner to check out and there was a lady in front of me with her 15ish year old daughter (both of them pretty much laughing) as if the mom is thinking "oh, been there, done that."  But, the last thing I needed was for her to blatantly be humored by my situation.  One look at me and they both stopped smiling, but instead stood there gawking.  Really people?  I wanted the mom to be sympathetic and let me check out before her and get the heck out of there.

By this point I was exhausted.  Leila was exhausted.  When I got her out of the store I gently told her I was going to now put her shoes back on... and she let me.  We got into the car and I sat in the front seat asking her why she can't listen to mama and do as I say (pretty much talking to myself)...And I will be honest, I cried.  Okay, I cried a lot.  Not sure where it came from but in between tears I heard a quiet little voice in the back say:  "sauweee Mama." 

And that was all I needed to hear....who really could be upset with this girl?  Here she is with her daddy over the weekend. 

So, what's your coping tool?  I wish I could be that mom who just laughs it off and sees the humor in the situation but then I feel like I am just telling our little girl it is OK to behave this way?  Seriously, I looked like a train wreck and would like to not end up in tears the next time!


  1. Oh, Erin. I have been in that situation so many times; once I had to walk from the very back of a HUGE department store with a kid stashed perpendicularly under each arm. I was crying and sweating and so completely frustrated that I didn't even notice the 70+ pounds I was carrying. I'm sure I looked like a psycho; people were jumping back out of my way as I barreled to the parking lot.

    You just have to give yourself grace. Almost every single child will try to test their mommy publicly. Often. It sounds to me like you were extremely patient with Leila, despite feeling like you were going to vomit and explode inside. I completely agree that you shouldn't "laugh it off" because, yes, then you'd be telling Leila her behavior is totally fine. Not a message you want to send (now or, more importantly, when she's 15). :)

    It's so hard with the first child because everything is new...for both of you. You are a wonderful mother!!

    One of my coping tools is to just repeat "peace, peace, peace" to myself when my kids are behaving home and in public. If I can keep my peace (SO HARD TO DO!!) then I can be more level-headed in dealing with them. But I do let them know there are always consequences for their actions. Consistency is key on my part (and again: SO HARD TO DO).

    Oh, geez. I just read this giant comment of mine and I sound like a stinkin' know-it-all. I know nothing. Except being a mommy is the hardest and more rewarding job on the planet.

    I'll pray for you!

    Love, love, love,

  2. Erin - I've been meaning to write ever since you first posted this.... thanks so much for sharing your experience with the CHALLENGES of motherhood. Boy, have I been there. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, like a public stand-off between mother and shoeless toddler, is there? Whew.

    I wish that I had been there in that Walmart to walk up to you and give you the hug (and distraction) that you needed. You did a great job. Keep it up.

    My coping tool: Physics. It is all about what kind of leverage you can create, how can you create a "tipping point" that will tip this situation a different direction? What can you offer to the child that will distract her or motivate her away from the tantalizingly attractive tantrum that she is enjoying at that moment? (I am not ashamed to admit that I bribe my girls ALL THE TIME). Then what can you offer yourself as distraction? (maybe thinking about the exact moment that you can hand that precious child over to her father that evening and skip off to some place in the house far from the care and feeding of others).

    Keep the great posts coming!

    1. Thanks, Britt....just knowing I am not alone in this makes me feel better :) I appreciate your comment so much!

  3. Oh - and your jewelry case is just plain AWESOME.

  4. Anonymous16.1.13

    I am in love with this idea!! What did you use to attach it to the wall?

    1. Hi, thanks for reading! I actually just used nails and nailed the suitcase directly into the wall. Maybe 5 nails all together, it is surprisingly secure...however, I might recommend screwing it into the wall either with drywall screws or find a stud and just use a regular screw if you want it to be super duper secure. Best of luck, let me know if you have any other questions :)


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