You would think that one of the most popular activities to do with your kids would NOT include taking them to the quietest place in town. But, alas, it does. You know where I'm talking about don't you? The local library.
A place for reading, reflection, inspiration... and epic moments of extreme embarrassment.
This particular instance of mortification began on a cold day in mid winter. My kids and I had been hunkered down in our home for what seemed like an eternity. The fear of catching Influenza A, B or possibly even C had nixed any thought of venturing into public for what seemed like months. We HAD to get out. So, the local library seemed like the best and most exciting choice.
I realized as I was wheeling in my massive, double stroller containing my three year old son and newly turned one year old daughter into the library, that I looked as if I had just crawled out of a tunnel that I had been sleeping in for five years. Yoga tights with a workout tank (that hadn't served it's true purpose in its' whole life with me) and an oversized cardigan to dress it up. So fancy. My top knot which was trying to be a Pinterest tutorial success was falling off of my head and I had bags on top of bags under my eyes. I tell you this to paint the true picture of my state of being at the time.
I had only distant memories of adult conversations with somebody other than my husband. When I did come into contact with someone over three feet tall I would totally forget how to be normal and say something completely awkward. It's that crazy mix of emotions of wanting to be noticed and talked to, but not knowing what to talk about and hoping nobody notices you. Makes sense right?
As we walked through the doors my eyes squinted as they adjusted to the fluorescent lights. I breathed in the air scented with old books with plastic covers. As I gazed around there were actual real life adult people wandering around. It was magic.
The kids played beautifully in the children's section as I waltzed around like Belle from Beauty and the Beast collecting books in our library bag. We sat and read, put together puzzles, and "dined" at the toy kitchen. It was all so good... until it was so bad.
Literally. It went from being a scene out of a super mom's fairy tale to an absolute nightmare.
When did it go wrong you ask? When I tried to venture over to the adult section to find three books for myself. That's all I wanted! To end this perfectly normal trip to the library with a little self indulgence of looking at books I could read for myself. Adult books. With no pictures. And if they did have pictures it would be because they were in a landscaping book showing me how to make my garden beautiful in the spring.
I did this despite knowing we were past lunch and minutes away from normal nap time. It was dangerous. I knew that. I thought it was worth the risk.
This is the part of the story where it happens.
As I was looking for my books, the straps of the 1,000 lb bag I was carrying full of children's books broke and crashed to the floor. I think the sound echoed for at least thirty seconds. I muttered my apologies to the study tables full of people that were sitting just feet away. As I was picking up the books, my son got out of his stroller seat and started making his way down the stairs. I leave the books on the floor, retrieve him, get back to the stroller only to see that my daughter has managed to climb out of her seat and is crawling through the stacks of books two aisles over. I strap boy child down who is now wailing because the thought of being detained is to much for his sweet mind to handle. I grab my daughter who managed the stiff as a board yet limp as jelly position so I have to carry her.
At this point, I'm sweating from exertion and a little bit of embarrassment. I grab the rest of the books and throw them in the bag. Since the straps are broken I have to balance the bulging bag on top of the empty seat. I look longingly at the stacks of books with beautiful pages full of big people words and pull three random books off the closest shelf. I was not leaving without something for me.
At this point I am beginning to notice all of the attention being drawn our way. It's kind of understandable. We were being really loud. I couldn't see over the huge pile teetering on top of the stroller, my kids are both yelling and I am pushing this bus one handed while carrying a small child. But, I was getting really frustrated at all of the judgmental stares that people were throwing me as I struggled. All by myself. I mean, surely I wasn't the only mom who had ever had an experience like that before right?
As I got off the elevator downstairs I was focused on the checkout desk and ignoring the expressions of all the passersby. I am not a cursing mom. But there were some choice words and phrases that were lingering close to the tip of my tongue. The lady at the desk raised her eyebrows at me as I unloaded the books and waited to be checked out.
At this point, I'm ticked. I casually said "I'm sure I'm not the first mom trying to leave here with crazy kids right?" I chuckled afterwards with a slight shrug of the shoulders to show that I wasn't upset. As I shrugged I saw something sparkly out of the corner of my eye.
I glanced down and saw lefty (my left breast) hanging out of my top. Encased in the only clean bra I had clean that morning. The night time bra. You know the kind. Cheetah print with silver sparkly studs all over it so that when the light hits it you get kind of a dazzling strobe effect.
Yup. Somewhere in the midst of my catastrophe my boob popped out. This whole time I thought library patrons had been judging me on my parenting because my kids were the loudest people in town at the time. But it was actually because they were the loudest kids with a mom who was showing off her night time ensemble in the middle of a public library. And walked all the way from the middle of the second floor to the first floor entrance like that.
So, I adjusted my top, face burning, chest literally beading with perspiration and avoided eye contact with the librarian. I packed up the stroller and pushed it as calmly as I could to the doors and then bolted to the car.
I then wrangled the kids into their car seats, sat down in mine, and cried. I cried because I was embarrassed. I cried because going to the library shouldn't be that hard. And I cried because I just wanted to enjoy a tiny piece of something for myself. I let the tears out until I felt better. Because sometimes that's the only thing you can do. Motherhood is hard! It is not glamorous. But these stages are just a season. It would and will get easier over time. And my kids didn't care that their mom just flashed an unmentionable to the public. They were just thrilled that they got to have a fun day out of the house!
Once I could see again through my watery eyes I started my drive home.
I am able to laugh about it now, but at the time I was mortified. My only interaction with the library for the next month was to return the books through the outside return box.
It is truly an experience that I could have done without. But, it happened and I am sharing it with all of you so that maybe you feel a little bit better about whatever it is you are going through today. You will get through this momma!
Motherhood is full of crazy experiences, but it is more fun to remember them with laughter!
Kelsie Barva is a stay-at-home mom of two little ones, a wanna be master gardener, and lover of life. You can read more Kelsie and her crazy adventures on her blog, Joy in the Wind.