Hello, World. It’s Me. The Shoplifter.

I took my Isabella in for a checkup last week and was thrilled to hear my pediatrician was expecting her 3rd child.

After talking for a while, she looked at me with a semi-panicked expression and said…

Heather, I’m honestly so nervous about this baby.
You’d think that being a doctor, and having 2 other kids, I wouldn’t have these baby nerves anymore.

Wow, was I relieved to hear that.

She was admitting what I felt every single time I left the hospital with a new baby. (And still feel some days.)

“See what I’m dealing with here?”

That nervous excitement.

Knowing everything was going to change, but not sure what that change was really going to look like.

For a Class-A Control Freak such as myself, it was torture.

Take, for example, my first outing as a mother of three…

Act One: The Shameful Shoplifter

Bella was one week old.

A 6-inch snow had dropped the temperature outside to a miserable 5-degrees Fahrenheit.  (That’s -15, Celsius friends.)


After thirty minutes of donning coats, scarves, hats, boots, gloves (Has anyone seen my PINK gloves?  Mom, I can only find one boot…etc. etc.) we finally piled into our newly-acquired minivan.

I decided, in a moment of exhausted-insanity to make a “quick” stop at a local drugstore I’ll call…Balgreens (for reasons that will be made clear in a moment).

So, corralling my brood through the store, lugging a 15-lb car seat and robotically chanting No candy…No toys…No… I picked out the three things we needed and poured my efforts into keeping the kids in the checkout line.

After a rude employee checked me out, glaring at me for interrupting his enjoyment of People, I hurried out the door and to the van, completely flustered.

Ten minutes later, after checking seatbelts and getting everybody settled, I turned to put the cart back and discovered…an unpurchased bottle of baby shampoo taunting me from the front seat, where it had sat under the diaper bag.

Okay.  Let’s go over my options:

  1. Option A:  Get all three kids out of the van again (5 degrees!), go in and pay.  Be late to doctor’s appointment, be late to Cameron’s Christmas office party, where they were all waiting for the reveal of his latest daughter.
  2. Option B: Get all three kids out of the van again, return the bottle, and make this “quick” stop again tomorrow.
  3. Option C: Mentally block what I was doing, toss the gosh-darn shampoo into the van before I can feel the first pang of guilt and make a run for it.


Can you guess which one I choose?


That one.

Act Two: The Doctor Office Disaster

Once I got to the doctor, Bella had one of “those” poops.  The one that runs up the back and into hair.

help for the overwhelmed parent

My Elena, Isabella, and Lauren a week after Bella’s birth.

And can you guess which Awesome Mom forgot to pack a change of clothes? (Free bag-packing tip for you there…)

My newborn now smelled like crap.


The doctor decided Bella needed a billirubin test to check for jaundice.  They pricked her heel and squeezed for 10 minutes trying to get enough blood for a sample.

She screamed bloody murder for an eternity.

The older kids were cranky and fought. (Please pretend to be shocked that my children occasionally misbehave in public.)

I cried.  (Yes, right there, blubbering snot over my screaming baby girl.)

Finally, after that ordeal was over, we trudged back to the van to head over to Cameron’s office Christmas party, 30 minutes late.

I turned the key…

And. Nothing. Happened.

Unknown to me, on the way to the doctor, Lauren decided to “explore” the new van’s interior lights.

It was completely dead.

Here’s a word of advice: don’t get stuck in a doctor’s office the week before Christmas.

Of their non-vacationing staff of 4, not one (all women) knew how to battery jump a car.

I’m not judging.  After all, I didn’t know how either…

Where is my White Knight?

Sipping punch at the office Christmas party, wondering where the heck I was and stressed out because he can’t get me on the cell phone…because I left it at home (of course).

I couldn’t remember his brand-new cell number (that’s why I have a cell! so I can just push “1”!) and no one was at their desk to pick up the phone.

Eventually a nurse’s husband drove up to save the day and an hour later we headed home because the party was, by now, completely over.

Act Three: The Mental Meltdown

Driving home, I had a complete meltdown of tears.

(Post-partum anyone?)

On a positive, though all three kids were completely silent in the car, probably scared spitless at this new maniac side of Mommy.

All I could think was…

Was this going to be my new life?
Was this what I had signed up for?

How do people DO THIS?

Right in the middle of my pity-party, a friend called.

I blurted out the whole awful day and waited for the compassionate “oohhh, honey!” and “I’m so sorryies” that you would expect from a fellow female on hearing such a story.

Instead, I was surprised to hear LAUGHING.

She shared HER worst parenting day ever, and soon we were giggling.

The next day she gave me a present: a newly purchased bottle of baby shampoo, which she promised she purchased at Balgreens…

(Hardy har har, Amy…)

Act Four: The Lesson & Legacy

If you’re feeling particularly discouraged and overwhelmed today with the new life you have in front of you, be encouraged.

Every parent has been where you are.

We second-guess ourselves.  We worry we will fail our kids.

We get overwhelmed.  Depressed.

We struggle to balance the advice of others with the decisions we feel are best.

And we feel the weight of judgments given when we choose not to agree with that advice.

You’re not the first parent to struggle with these things.

We ALL feel that way sometimes.

Even moms with so-called baby blogs.  😉

Well, that was my terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad day.

What was yours?


  1. I am currently fighting with social services for doing exactly what you did earlier minus the grocery mistake …with just one four month old! yes i had alot going on and we had thirty dr.s arguing about him yay for preemie stuff and I just collapsed in a chair in a waiting room rocking my poor pissed off child who turns out had a protien allergy that is herditary in my family but what do I know I am a first time mom so I must be stupid…yes I went thru all this bs and because i shed three tears and got quiet in a waiting room I got reported….you can imagine how embarrassing it is to say when you go to court for this knowing that you a good parent in my mind and great with advice has had this same issue and its completely normal makes me feel much better for it all even tho I sadly had a crappy outcome

  2. Overwhelmed says:

    Thanks for posting the above it even made me laugh on a particularly harrowing day.
    I am a first time mum to an 11 week old baby and the last few days, have been overwhelmed. I can’t believe how hard this is, I wouldn’t have believed anyone if they’d tried to tell me before my cherub came along. I love her to bits but sometimes, I think someone else would do a better job of raising her and that breaks my heart. Today after a long period of incessant crying I lost it and started yelling, not at her but with her in my arms. I realised and put her down still screaming before going downstairs to take some breaths, then returning to soothe her. This is so hard, and I feel so guilty for not staying in control. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

    • Friend, I know this is SUCH a difficult time for you. The 6-14 week period is particularly hard, and it’s even worse when you have a high needs baby. Still, you showed amazing self control and maturity setting her down and walking away to compose yourself. Well done Mom! One thing that GREATLY helped me with my little screamer were ear plugs. 😉 Took the hard edge of the screams. Sometimes babies scream. And it’s not your fault, and it’s not “bad parenting” or neglect…Ear plugs helped put me in a box, where I could be more objective. Hope this helps, it does pass and get easier! I promise!

  3. My husband found this post after I had a bad day and just sent it to me. I’m pregnant with #3, and I, too, have accidentally shoplifted out of sheer chaos (those sneaky diaper bags!). Too often I swallow the lie that I will one day “have it together,” but that brings only more stress. Thanks for the good reminders!

    • So glad it could encourage you! I’m thrilled to know I’m not the only one! Perhaps we should start a support group…”hello, my name is Heather and I shoplifted because the thought of being arrested is less frightening than going back in your store with my kids…” 😉 I’m resigned that I will “have it all together” when I’m weeping over an empty nest.

  4. Heather (A) says:

    Hilarious! Love, love, LOVE your story, cause I can picture that being me!
    YESTERDAY-“worst day ever!” Why? Because one certain Mommy wanted Baby #2 (J) to sleep longer rather than rudely interrupt the nap to go pick up big sis from school. So in the rush to get out the door and be on time (while leaving as late as humanly possible), I failed to leave adequate time to change the MASSIVE blowout. In a huge hurry, I ran out of the door towards the car, purse, baby, and burp cloth in hand, (no diaper bag of course cause it was only for a “few minutes”) and realized that my keys (and I mean ALL OF THE KEYS) were locked inside of the house. I panicked and called my husband (who was teaching 5th graders at the time and was 40 minutes away). He told me to call the neighbor, who thankfully, had our house key! Got to the school with lots of apologies in hand under the very angry glares of my daughter (very upset that she was the ONLY ONE waiting for Mommy). Thank goodness for neighbors.:)

    • Heather, LOL…if my husband had a dollar for every time I managed to lock myself out of the house…well, I’ll just say that for the sake of the neighbors we have “hidden” a key for emergencies. It’s so nice to know I’m not the only mother who has “those” days. 🙂

  5. Hi Heather,
    I must admit to being one of those moms who laughed all the way through your very entertaining set of blogs! I laugh because I remember. When we see each other again, remind me to tell you all about teaching high school right up until the day before delivery of my fourth baby (whom you now know intimately) and then having an incident with being locked out of the house with three little kids, no driver’s license, drastically changing weather, that fourth baby looking for an exit . . . It wasn’t funny then!

    • Hahaha!! That definitely sounds like a story I want to hear Sheila! Always good to know that some things never change about Motherhood…and yet, look! You survived! And that fourth child of yours…he’s quite a catch! 😉

  6. Patricia Shepard says:

    Hilarious post. We’ve all been there, keeping a sense of humor is so important (and so hard to do sometimes, especially where hormones are involved…) — Thanks for sharing!!! I just found your site and love it. <3

  7. Probably shouldn’t spend so much of my childrens’ synchronized nap time on my computer, but this made me LOL! Thanks for sharing…I would be crying right along with you at the end of such a day. My heart feels lighter with comradery. Thank you!

    • Danielle Miller says:


      So glad to hear Heather’s article made you laugh! It really does make things better when we do. 🙂

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