Shopping is not my idea of fun at the best of times. Clothes shopping with children is its own special kind of hell.
First, you have to navigate the actual shop, trying not to lose your children in a sea of clothing rails and repeating for what feels like the millionth time "DO NOT TOUCH!" -- which, of course, they do. Then they run off to the children's department and get fixated on a hat/t-shirt/pair of sandals that are inevitably adorned with Frozen characters. Trying to part them with said item becomes a struggle that you know you won't win. So you give in (for now) and hope that you can slyly leave it somewhere before you get to the checkout.
You know you don't have long before you are risking tantrum territory, so you resort to bribery. Snacks or promises of being able to pick "anything you like from Poundland" usually work. For a few minutes.
As you go through the aisles, you fear you are getting old as you don't recognize/like any of the fashionable choices and head straight for the comfy and practical clothes. A mom can never have too many pairs of leggings, can she?
Then it's time to hit the changing rooms -- the cramped changing rooms bathed in harsh fluorescent lighting and sometimes crazy mirrors that look that they must have come from a closing down sale at the circus. (Seriously, I don't look that hideous in actual real life, do I?)
Once I've fit the stroller in there and told the eldest (to no avail, obviously) to stand still and be good, there's hardly any space for me to sweatily wriggle in and out of badly-fitting clothes.
Add a brutally honest 4-year-old foghorn to the mix and I would rather be anywhere else. Like an unhelpful Trinny or Susannah, she critiques my outfit choices and points out all my flaws.
Trying on clothes this week (for holiday and returning to work) I got these gems.
"Oh Mammy, why is your belly so big?"
"Your bottom is sooooo fat."
Or she just found hilarity in my nakedness.
"Haha. Nipples. Haha."
But the pinnacle of my humiliation had to be when she made up a song about how much my belly shakes when I put my jeans on. It's nice to feel loved.
To be fair, it wasn't all bad. When trying on a work skirt, she said I looked "like a woman." As opposed to the homeless man I usually channel? She also commented that she liked the bra I was trying on, and told me loudly (of course loudly, she does everything loudly) to take the tags off and put it in my bag. Never have I felt so shifty as I (also loudly) explained that would be stealing.
I emerged from the changing room feeling dejected, embarrassed and, out of the 10 things I tried on, with one top. One baggy, belly-covering top.
Then we went to the cafe for cake. No wonder my belly shakes.