Moms Deserve More Than a Target Run, Damnit

Dasha Burobina

Hi there. I know that I don’t know you very well, but I know something about you—you are a Target Mom. How do I know this? Because we are all Target moms. Maybe it’s the dollar spot filled with coffee mugs and fake plants we don’t really need but really, really want. Or the adorable kids’ clothes and on-trend designer collabs. Or hey, maybe we’re just suckers for quality paper towels at affordable prices.

My point is that there’s a reason why there are so many Instagram accounts, video parodies, online articles and tweets dedicated to parents and their obsession with the Bullseye. It’s a neatly organized, well stocked, one-stop shop for everything caregivers need—including sweet, sweet caffeine (thank you, Starbucks).

But while the mega brand caters towards the whole family (moisturizer for you, socks for your spouse, notebooks for your grade schooler, diapers for the baby, etc.), take just one lap around the store and it’s immediately apparent that Target is filled with moms—sometimes with a couple of kids in tow, but as any parent will tell you, the real magic happens when you get to go solo. Analytics firm Numerator confirms this, revealing to Business Insider that the typical Target shopper is a millennial suburban mother.

Of course it’s wonderful to have a space that’s so in tune with the maternal to-do list while simultaneously offering aesthetically pleasing home items and delicious snacks. It’s a safe space where moms can drag a tantruming toddler away from the toy aisle and not feel judged. It’s somewhere to take the kids on a rainy day. For many of us, Target is our happy place. I, too, have whiled away many pleasant afternoons wandering through, adding yet another throw blanket to my collection while sipping on a caramel macchiato.

The problem, I think, is that whether by accident or design, Target has become the de facto self-care destination for moms. And while it’s great to have a place for exhausted and stretched-too-thin women to get some much-needed “me time,” why does this time have to be spent in the service of our families…not to mention the capitalist agenda? Because even though I may fill my cart with tampons and oat milk, let’s not beat around the bush—I am at Target because I need to get crap for my kids and hand soap for the bathroom. If I happen to add a face mask and a sofa cushion while I’m there, then good for me. But is that really the same as spending an hour at the spa? Or catching up with a friend over coffee? Or hell, taking a nap while my husband worries about hand soap?

The idea that a solo trip to Target is the best it gets for moms assumes that our baseline existence should be spent managing and caregiving, and that it’s somehow shameful or guilt-inducing if we’re enjoying anything else. The cultural phenomenon of the Target Mom is also a sexist one. Why is it that Target is known for being so welcoming and fun for women, but not so for men? (And sure, my spouse enjoys a Target run on occasion, but there are no memes dedicated to #TargetDad and he certainly wouldn’t go there to unwind.) In other words, by proudly declaring the store as our happy place, are women furthering the assumption that men don’t have to worry about who is or isn’t outgrowing their pajamas? Nobody pretends that getting the car serviced or mowing the lawn is a mini break for dad, so why do we act as if a Target trip is a special treat for mom?

Bottom line: When it comes to pleasure and relaxation, I think moms should expect more (and pay less). Simply put, we deserve more than a Target run. We deserve self-care that puts our needs first and doesn’t require us to drag a shopping cart under fluorescent lighting.

So yeah, I don’t know you. But I do know that you are entitled to genuine downtime without the reminder to pick up a carton of eggs on your way out the door. I know that you are more than the sum of your shopping list and ability to save $1.37 with your RedCard. And I know Target can be a happy place, without being your everything place. (That said, we’d never judge if you want to keep the daily Starbucks run.)

img 0936

Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...