Why It’s Important To Wait In The Van

I was in the van with all three kids while my wife picked up a few things at Costco the other day, and naturally I was grumbling to myself. I’d probably spent close to half my life as a father in the van, all three kids complaining in the back, while my wife grabbed a few things, which always turned out to be a bunch of things. All the while, I’m feeling like I’m trapped in a cage with a pack of wild honey badgers, their teeth spackled with saltine crackers.

But as I sat there, I thought about the last time I took all three kids shopping, and I realized two things: it sucked. It sucked bad. And it was over a week ago. Not that I don’t love my kids, I do. But the reality is, shopping with three kids under 11 is basically a repetitive hell of asking and wanting and begging and fit throwing with a layer of boogers. There is also the fact that I go to the gas station, grocery store, bank, doctor, dentist, department store and a bazillion other places without kids way more than my wife.

Going shopping WITH all three kids is something I do once or twice a week. It’s not my norm. But for Mel, who is a part time teacher and a full time mom, more often than not, she has all three children with her, one in the cart asking to get out, and two at her side, dragging their feet and asking for candy. In comparison, sitting in the van with my kids for 20 to 30 minutes sounds a million times easier.

Because the fact is, caring for the kids in the van so my wife can shop alone, even just for a short time, gives her some touch free time. It allows her to shop for something without a million distractions in little shoes.

It might even allow her to feel like she did before she had kids.

Honestly, caring for the kids while Mel shops gives her something that I, and many dads, take for granted: the freedom to shop alone.

Guys, if you are in the van waiting for your wife to pick up a “few things” I get your frustration, but please realize that what you are doing is more beneficial to the parenting partnership than you realize, so when your wife gets back to the van, greet her with a smile and ask if there’s anywhere else she’d like to stop.

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