Fayetteville, N.C. — Shopping is the perfect mother-daughter bonding activity, a time to laugh, share secrets and become closer to your child than ever before.
If you believe that, you must not have a 10-year-old.
When I go shopping with my daughter, I almost feel like putting on battle gear beforehand; maybe a protective helmet and flak vest will help shield me from the shrapnel that’s about to fall.
I’m definitely giving myself an inner pep talk as we head toward the mall: Stay firm, do not engage in debate, be prepared to walk away empty-handed if necessary.
I did just that a couple of years ago. My daughter, who certainly has a career ahead of her in the courtroom, failed to heed my continued warnings about leaving the clothing store with zero bags if she continued to argue.
It was agonizing to think about putting back the few clothes that we managed to agree on after two hours of searching, but it’s what I had to do when she wouldn’t stop fighting for the outfits that I shot down. And it was effective: Since then, all I have to do is give her a look and she knows she’s standing on the edge.
But boy, that edge seems to be her favorite place to live these days, and not just when it comes to shopping. She’s constantly testing, dipping that toe in the water, trying to see where I bend or if I will break.
I remind myself how very important it is that my feet stay firm. I find life to be much simpler if I can just avoid the areas that bring out the most confrontation. Unfortunately, we seemed to have hit a growth spurt, and nothing seems to fit.
And so it is I contemplate riot gear every time we venture out to buy clothes. I do believe camouflage now comes in pink …
Jennifer is a mom of two and WRAL-TV assignment editor in Fayetteville. Her food obsession memoir, “Designated Fat Girl,” came out in 2010. Read more about Jennifer and her book on her website. Find her here on Go Ask Mom on Tuesdays.