Step 1: Declare it is official “Back to School Shopping Day!”
Step 2: Load all three kids in car (only one of whom needs back to school supplies as the other two will still be home. With you. Every day. All the time. But, that’s neither here nor there.)
Step 3: Provide all three children with adequate snacks and drinks to help them sustain the long and treacherous 7-minute drive to Walmart.
Step 4: Drive half-way to Walmart. Remember that the list is at home. Return home.
Step 5: Replenish your starving children with new snacks and head out again on your epic journey.
Step 6: Enter Walmart and find a cart. Engage in 11-minute battle with your 2-year old about sitting in the cart. No, you are not going to walk in the store, you say, and throw your head back in laughter at the absurdity of his suggestion.
Step 7: Notice that Walmart provides all of the local school supply lists, which rendered your extra trip back home pointless (other than retrieving the second round of Cheez-its organic kiwi slices).
Step 8: Enter the school supply section. Look at list for the first time since receiving it three weeks ago. Notice that there are 756 times to buy. (That’s an exaggeration. There are merely 552.)
Step 9: Assign each of your older children (the 6 and 4-year olds) certain items to locate.
Step 10: Watch them completely ignore you and immediately engage in a game of hide-and-seek.
Step 11: Remove items from your 2-year old’s hands that he has pulled off of the shelves, including, but not limited to, an empty box of crayons he has already dumped into your cart and two rulers he is slapping your face with as you mosey down the aisle.
Step 12: Find item #1. Glance at your watch. Realize you’ve been at Walmart for 28 minutes and in your cart is one package of post-its and 18 loose crayons (as the remaining 6 of the 24-count box have fallen through the bottom and are strewn about the floor.)
Step 13: As you are crawling on your hands and knees, picking up crayons off of the floor, feel a bottle of white-out hit your head that your toddler has chucked at you.
Step 14: Look up and see Has-Her-Shit-Together Mommy, staring at you, head cocked to the side in simultaneous pity and scorn. Wave, sheepishly. Look about for your other children. Realize they are gone.
Step 15: Locate your other children and resume the task at hand.
Step 16: Finally locate item #2, dry erase markers. Place them in your cart with newfound confidence that this mission is somewhat accomplishable. Hear Has-Her-Shit-Together Mommy kindly inform you that these are not correct, as your list clearly states “odorless.”
Step 17: Feel defeated. Cry a little bit. Realize you have no chance in hell at getting this right, so say fuck it. Start throwing random shit into your cart that remotely resembles the items on the list.
Step 18: Pay cashier $3,000 and one kidney.
Now you’re ready for school to start!
This post was originally featured on The 21st Century SAHM.