Sitting on the back of the toilet is a shoebox with Domino’s Pizza napkins in it. Why? We have no toilet paper.
I went to Costco with my three kids because for some reason I cannot explain I only buy toilet paper in packs of 36, which get stashed in the linen closet until we get to a point when I can’t believe we have run out of toilet paper and it takes Domino’s Pizza napkins in a shoebox to finally convince me we need toilet paper, again.
In our house we also have another stash — a wine stash labeled “Thursday night wine.” My husband put the wine in a specific location with a label written on a Post-it note with a Sharpie marker. This complex labeling system was started after an incident with a pricey burgundy wine I once put in my chili.
I don’t know the first thing about wine other than sometimes I need to cook with it and sometimes I need to drink it, such as on Tuesday afternoon after taking three kids to Costco to buy toilet paper.
Thursday night wine is for Tuesday night or Sunday or today or yesterday or sometimes we have a really good couple weeks and I’m teetotaling and I’m laughing at friends who thought margaritas on a Monday at the monthly parent support group were a good idea.
In all honesty, Costco with kids is not the only parenting experience I find challenging. I struggle with the average stuff you do with kids, like going into a fast-food restaurant.
We go through the drive-thru lane for a reason, and every time I capitulate and let them inside I always end up yelling something in the parking lot about why knocking over the Ronald McDonald statue and commenting on other people’s bodies is why we always go through the drive thru and I don’t care about the playland, it grosses me out anyway.
But my number one experience with my three kids that always has me digging out the corkscrew? Going to church.
I had a friend tell me once that if I took the kids more often they would behave. God bless the woman on the stairs at the health club who overheard me telling that story and commented “Not a chance” on her way to the tennis courts.
She’s right. There is not a chance that my kids will behave in church. Once when I asked my son to please sit quietly and listen to the stories about Jesus, he screamed “I hate Jesus!” as loudly as he could, repetitively. He has stood on the pews and wiggled his butt and then when the choir started singing covered his ears and started screaming, “Make them stop! Make them stop! They sound horrible,” (which is sometimes true).
My daughter routinely rolls around in the aisles groaning about her hunger and telling anyone who will listen that I never feed her. This is because she isn’t allowed to “get the bread” at Communion and she thinks that’s not fair.
At some point in the theatrics we always end up in the back of the church where my son likes to turn off all the offertory candles because, he says, “They are wasting electricity!” Meanwhile my not-really-starving preschooler searches through the food pantry donations for snacks. As ushers glower at me, I will sit there miserably wondering why we even try. One Sunday a compassionate woman told me that God was just glad my children were there. I’m not so sure.
I think God is glad when my children are at home asleep in their beds, I’ve got 35 rolls of toilet paper stashed away in the linen closet and I’m about to have a big glass of wine.
Maraya Steadman, who lives in a Chicago suburb, is a stay-at-home mother of three children. Her website is marayasteadman.com/. Email her at email@example.com.