Why Target Moms Are My Tribe

Hey you, Mom in the yoga pants with her hair pulled back in the perfect messy bun, baby strapped securely to your chest in her Ergo while you sip your PSL. You’re perusing those clearance racks because you needed to get out of the house. That’s me, too.

“How can I help you, Ma’am?” the Target employee smiles.

“Hi, I’ll have a tall caramel macchiato with a double shot.”

“Coming right up,” she says. I hand her my REDcard to save 5%.

And what about you, Mom speeding through the aisles at record pace with two kids holding on to the back of the cart for dear life, because you’re late for a birthday party and forgot to buy the damned gift? Last weekend I forgot the wrapping paper. I know the struggle.

“Have a good day, Ma’am,” she says, handing me my coffee.

And there’s you, soon-to-be Mom. You and your hubs are planning the baby shower and maybe, just maybe, you’ve gone a little crazy with that scanner.  But the baby really does need a brand new Kitchen Aid mixer. How else will you make him all those delicious treats? I understand.

“Mama!” my youngest cries out. I hand her a toy to keep her busy.

Then there’s you, newly-minted Mom with your brand new baby. Overly protective Dad is pushing the Peg-Perego and putting the fear of God into anyone who steps within a two-foot radius of your bundle. He wanted to stay home and shelter the kid, but you needed a new t-shirt that said something trendy about working out, even though you haven’t worked out in more than a year. “It will be motivation,” you tell him. Besides, the baby needs to get used to Target because she’ll be here at least twice a week for the rest of her life.

“Diapers are on sale!” I say, tossing some Huggies into the cart.

And you, who’s already opened the economy-sized package of individually-wrapped Market Pantry raisins to keep your toddler from screaming while you load your cart with crap you don’t need, but also can’t live without. Like those really pretty Threshold curtains you’ve been eyeing that are now on Cartwheel. Even though none of your windows need treatments, you may need them one day and you can’t pass up such a good deal. And you found a mediocre red blend on clearance, so you grabbed that to drink after the kiddos are tucked in and you’re watching American Horror Story on your DVR. I’ve been there. So many times.

Then there’s you, who’s finally out of the house without children. You have the look of crazy in your eyes because you are free. What do you do? You come to Target sans babies. You shop at your own speed with your child-free red cart. You’re buying nothing but underwear and applesauce.

I look in my cart. “Diapers, wine and fancy hand soap,” I say out loud.

And you. The one with a kid having a nuclear meltdown in front of the cashier (who amazingly still has a smile stuck to her face), because he can’t have those Legos. Damn, I’m sorry. Last week mine was screaming over a new pony.

“I know I’m forgetting something,” I say to my toddler.

Finally, there’s you, the Coupon Queen. You are in front of me paying for a cute Merona fall jacket. It’s on sale, plus on Cartwheel. And you have a coupon. You pay just $2.27, look back at me and wink.

I see you, I get you and I AM you.

One definition of tribe says that a tribe is “a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.”

It’s human nature to seek out places and people that make us feel safe and welcome. It starts with cliques and sports in school, then moves to nightclubs in our twenties and finally department stores in our thirties. When I go to Target, a sense of calm washes over me. I can count on Target like an old friend who greets me warmly with fresh coffee, no matter what time I get to her house, or how I look. No matter the city or state, Target is always the same and I get exactly the kind of quality experience I was expecting to get. So to all you moms doing your thing at Target, I get it. Because I’m there too. You are part of my tribe. The cute little dog is our friendly leader and the Target employees are our pseudo babysitters while we pick out our cheap wine.

“Crap. Dog food. I forgot the dog food,” I shrug my shoulders, because I know I’ll be back.

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So until tomorrow, when I see you again. We’ll meet under the big red bullseye and sip our Starbucks while we shop.

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