What the HAYnes? Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name

HUMOR – A few days ago an elderly woman riding a motorized shopping cart heckled my children and me as we walked into a nearby grocery store. This experience may not sound especially unsettling until you imagine the combined hatred of all of the trolls from the Internet embodied in one old woman sitting on 12 volts of shopping cart muscle. That was this woman. She was mean and she was terrifying.

There is an episode of “Cheers” in which Norm says, “It’s a dog-eat-dog world and I’m wearing Milkbone underwear.”

I am having a Milkbone underwear kind of week.

My family is on an extended summer vacation in Louisville, Ky. and I am desperately homesick for St. George. I have never been publicly heckled while grocery shopping in St. George – “publicly” being the operative word in this scenario.

Not to overdo it on the “Cheers” references, but as the theme song says, “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came. You want to be where you can see our troubles are all the same, you want to go where everybody knows your name.”

St. George does not have a Cheers bar where the locals can gather and commiserate, but St. George does have Swig. I miss sitting in the line of moms in minivans in the Swig drive-through looking for a hit of carbonation and caffeine at 10 a.m. Those minivan drivers get me. Our troubles are all the same.

“Home is not where you live,” Christian Morgenstern said, “but where they understand you.”

Strangely, as a stay-at-home mother of four, I rarely feel understood when I travel outside of Utah. Families with more than two or three children are becoming increasingly rare and the stay-at-home parent is on the endangered species list.

Jim Gaffigan put it this way: “Big families are like waterbed stores. They used to be everywhere and now they’re just weird.”

I wish I could record the looks on some people’s faces as I have dragged my children through downtown Seattle or Dallas or Cincinnati. The look says it all. It says what Jim Gaffigan said so eloquently on another occasion: “Four kids? Well … that’s one way to live your life.”

I am constantly asked if “all of those children are (mine)” in the same tone that one might use if I showed up to a Sierra Club meeting driving an SUV, wearing the pelt of an endangered wolf and a desert tortoise shell as a helmet.

Last summer I even had a street performer in downtown Seattle stop mid-folk song and tell me over his microphone that I had made a lot of blonde babies. Thank you for the reminder, Seattle street performer, without your help I might never have remembered where all of these little people came from.

What is happening in society when being a parent classifies you as one of the crazy people? What does it say about society when a stay-at-home mother cannot walk into a grocery store or down a city street without fear of derision?

I miss St. George. I miss Swig. I want to be with people whose troubles are all the same. And I really want to get the “Cheers” theme song out of my head.

Elise Haynes chronicles family life in her blog Haynes Family Yard Sale. Any opinions stated in this column are her own and not necessarily those of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.


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  • Christine July 13, 2013 at 8:01 am

    People are rude no matter where you go. What was she heckling you about? Were your kids well behaved or acting like monsters. I mean, it’s no call for her to be rude to you, but I can’t tell you how offensive some parents with lots of children are, letting the run wild around the store or restaurant with little or no supervision. And then they give me dirty looks if I say anything. Not I am the type of person to comment about it, at least to their face. My 2 children are always on their best behavior and I get compliments of them. I hate articles that are incomplete.

    • walt July 13, 2013 at 8:45 am

      Christine, your criticism of Ms.Haynes story being incomplete seems especially laughable. Please do yourself a favor and proofread your comments before pressing the submit button.

    • Flat Out July 13, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      Kids probably were screaming and yelling, pulling things off the store shelves, trashing everything. This behavior of brats isn’t tolerated universally as it is in St George. Really, nobody wants to hear your “babies” screaming and playing in restaurants and movies. Store managers and employees don’t want to pick up all the toys your rotten undisciplined brats pull off the shelves, play with and destroy. Wanna be a parent? Then instill some discipline in those annoying monsters you call kids. Maybe it is good you wrap them in your St George bubble world and keep them here. The rest of the world won’t tolerate your brats nor your lack of parenting skills.

      • Astronomicus July 13, 2013 at 8:03 pm

        Holy cow, everyone just calm down and stop being jerks… where did the assumptions come from that her children were being brats? Did I miss something?

      • Bretticus July 16, 2013 at 4:02 pm

        Obviously you don’t have kids and don’t plan to. An obvious WIN for society.

    • Mary July 14, 2013 at 11:48 pm

      Did I miss something? I didn’t read anything about WHY the woman heckled her so why are we assuming the kids were misbehaving…..maybe the lady was just cranky?

  • Maggie July 13, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Boy, oh boy oh boy do I get this one. Moved here some years ago and I feel like I am on a stairway to heaven. Not just the weather and red rocks, but the cost of living,the cleanliness and the people.
    When I leave here and come home I get that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you come home the day after you have cleaned your house (and it still smells and looks good),your husband and dog meet you at the door with hugs and kisses and tell you,” we are going out for dinner.”
    We then proceed to do so and I run into a family like yours. This usually makes me smile because I miss my grown up children and grandchildren who are not so fortunate to live here, and I am in a constant missing them all mood.
    Off subject a bit here, but I love and miss kids so much that I have to control myself from loving on your and everybody else’s children and ending up in jail for doing so. Actually said “Hi” to a little one and she ran behind her Dad. Dad said “we just came from Stranger Danger”. I get it, but it broke my heart.
    So moral of the story, ignore the meanies who do not get it and enjoy your children and if you run into me out there on the streets of St George, be not afraid, I may smile at you children, and if you know anyone who wants to rent out children or dogs , I am available ,sometimes.

    • Flat Out July 13, 2013 at 12:16 pm

      Got some more of that kool-aid?

      • Maggie July 13, 2013 at 1:47 pm

        I do indeed have extra Kool-Aid ,but you need to find the flavor that makes you happy. Perhaps you are in the wrong place at the wrong time . You might like to work on that .

        • Flat Out July 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm

          You might be right about being in the wrong place. The drug and crime problem, high unemployment, high suicide rate and a funny political environment are of great concern to me as well as being around people who deny these issues. Speaking of women with children, doesn’t it seem St George has an unusually high number of divorced/single women with children and no guys running to scoop them up? Why is that?

          • Astronomicus July 13, 2013 at 8:06 pm

            Where are you getting your stats? Or are you just assuming things again?

          • Flat Out July 14, 2013 at 8:12 am

            I get statistics and information from newspapers, reports, other news and data sources. You do know how to read, don’t you?

      • Maggie July 14, 2013 at 10:27 pm

        Hey I moved here from an area that was intolerable to me, seriously I look at it like we all have one life, so go where you can be happy. It may not be a place though, it may be a state of mind and there is also help for that.
        You really do not have a good grasp of what high crime rates are and yes I have some concerns re it rising and the drugs are also a problem I dislike. Neither are anywhere near what I moved from, but need to be monitored. As far as the politics here , for the most part ok with that. The politics in the area I moved from was a guarantee of even more poverty for the poor ,less jobs for the middleclass and bankruptcy in progress.
        The balance of men to women is pretty much the same around the country as is the high divorce rate. Men are not scooping up women for long term relationships ,many reasons for that…need yet another column for that subject.

        • Flat Out July 15, 2013 at 8:00 am

          Speaking of an intolerant mentality, have you been to St George, UT? I know what a high crime rate is. I know what a high drug use and a high suicide rate are as well as high domestic abuse. Also, guys avoid women with kids, because they are expensive, time consuming and around here, birthers act as if everyone should worship their self-centered, entitled kids. A culture which encourages women to have as many kids as possible should also encourage its men to take responsibility for them. Not here. Anyway, like I said, here’s your song to sing along to. http://www.thespectrum.com/article/20130411/STGEORGEMAGAZINE/303310023/Song-pays-tribute-St-George?nclick_check=1

  • Snowfire July 13, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Backhanded compliment at the end of the comment Christine…nice. As Emperor Palpatine says, “Let you hate flow through you. It makes you stronger!”

  • My Evil Twin July 13, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Elise about all you can do, short of making a scene which won’t do anyone any good, is to just consider the source. The battle axe in the wheel chair likely has “issues.” Don’t let her “issues” become yours. This might be a good time for a lesson to your kids on both “being kind to people,” and to “stranger danger.”
    Christine, I would compliment you on your children, if I didn’t know kids so well. Perhaps, dear lady, you need to open your eyes and ears. Kids are kids, and occasionally they will act out. So being self-righteous about how your kids are “always on their best behavior,” makes you sound like either a liar, or a total idiot who cannot recognize facts. I’m sure you probably do have “good kids.” But there is no way that any kid is “always on their best behavior.”

  • Kc July 13, 2013 at 11:46 am

    hey christine are you Ned flanders wife ? I say BS on that . You can be anything on the internet .. I’m gonna give you benefit of the doubt that you are telling the truth .. if thats the case then I wonder how you discipline your kids , and I bet it would scare the heck out of me .

  • Flat Out July 13, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Crap, those local mommas hauling around their brood of brats can be pretty damn mean and offensive themselves. Bad enough their snotty little brats are tearing up every place they go into or being extremely noisy and disruptive, but worse when their mommas obnoxiously defend their behavior and expect the entire universe to revolve around those spoiled entitled brats.

  • Elise's Mom July 13, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Elise, this is a GREAT article!!
    ‘Red Flag’ on the “my 2 kids are always on their best behavior in public” comment. Don’t mind me if I’m being ‘incomplete’ on this comment.

  • Flat Out July 13, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    These St George area mommas are pretty darn mean and vile in themselves when someone suggests they control and discipline their children. Really! Nobody wants to see and hear your out-of-control cherubs running about and screaming in restaurants and movies. No store manager or employee wants to pick up the toys your brats pull off the shelves and leave scattered and broken on the floor. Naturally, these local smiling mommas won’t pick up after their brats nor offer to compensate for the damage their spoiled entitled brats incurred.

  • Flat Out July 13, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I wonder the rate of anti-depressant use and mood stimulants in St George since so many people think it’s such a happy place and all their kids are such wonderful specimens? After all, it’s another sunny day in St George Utah. Feel free to sing along.


    • Astronomicus July 13, 2013 at 8:11 pm

      Again, where are you getting your information?

  • Christine July 13, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    You guys are hilarious 🙂 And I’m not joking, my kids are awesome. 2 and 5 and they behave better than all those brats I see running around in restaurants while their parents sit and chat. I just wondered what the lady was complaining about because it is very easy to complain about someone when they are not there to defend themselves and I can’t imagine some lady criticizing a bunch of kids standing there, being good and respectful. That’s what I meant by ‘incomplete’

  • Mean Momma July 13, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    I think Flat Out is feeling left out. It’s ok, I’ll pay attention to your oh so insulting comments… Ready? Here goes! Flat Out! How dare you? You are soooo mean and hurtful! You should move out of St. George! Oooohhh the nerve of some people, talking about the wonderful moms and kids of St. George! WAAAHHHH! Is that enough to get you to stop posting? Probably not… Oh well.
    By the way Christine, my kids are perfect too, we should get them together sometime. I can make kool aid!

    • Flat Out July 13, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      I came here a few years ago to take advantage of the country’s national parks in this area. You wouldn’t believe the attempts to hook me up with women having a bunch of children, sometimes as many as four or more. Aside from that being a bunch, the mommas just talk about their kids and the older kids act entitled. BTW, where are their daddies?

  • Wendy July 13, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Elise, I totally get it. I had my third child while living in Florida, and everyone said to me, “This is your last, right.” This was a statement, not a question. And ignore the ignorant commenters here. Christine, even if your kids are always on their best behavior, it does not give you the right to judge other people. Some people are blessed with mellow children that are easier to discipline, others are not. I have had both kinds of children. I know how hard it is, so I try not to ever judge someone, especially if all their children are small. You have no idea what a mother might be going through. Even if her kids were being unruly (which is simply your assumption), perhaps their mother was exhausted, or trying to do 4 things at once, or her kids are normally disciplined but hyped up since they were out of town, or any slew of other things that could be happening when kids act up and mothers can’t control them. It’s really best to assume the best of people, not the worst. And self-righteousness is unbecoming of ANYONE.

    I’m glad we are all ignoring the idiot that keeps spewing hatred of parents and children. I actually feel sorry for that commenter. Must have had a lousy childhood and will never know the absolute joy that comes with being a parent to beautiful, wonderful little creatures. If he/she did, he/she would not be so cruel. I wonder what people like that would have us do? Have only one or two children and raise them with an iron fist? A generation like that and our future would be bleak indeed.

    • Christine July 13, 2013 at 7:54 pm

      what about y statements tells you I am judging people? I am simply stating that article is perfectly one-sided with no specifics and ir irritates me that I am expected to take their side with no information!

  • John Steelhead July 13, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Everyone knows this is a humor column…. Right?? Flat out, please post your mailing address. I’ll send you a milk bone, buddy. Sorry the single scene isn’t going your way. It can rough as a lonely man.


    • Flat Out July 14, 2013 at 8:36 am

      Singles scene? I’m too young for that scene. The hopeless singles scene is for all those lonely divorcees with kids. Where is the humor where in the first paragraph the columnist immediately verbally attacking an elderly disabled woman, using terms as “trolls”, “hatred”, “mean”, “old woman on motorized muscle”? A funny article would be about the screaming, disruptive tantrum throwing brats in theaters and restaurants or the annoying teenagers in movie theaters paying more attention to their cell phone texts than the movie.

  • David July 14, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    I thought the article had a little humor but what I found very funny was the reactions to it. Thanks to everyone for their input – both or more sides, since I am not sure how many sides there were. This did cause some interesting communication. Though disagreement was sounded, that does help round out our community. It is human nature for each of us (including children) to have good times and less than good times. A story about a man having children acting out, and another offended and approaching the first about it. The first apologizing for it, stating that he did not realize it and that his wife had died earlier in the day.

  • Dixielambs July 15, 2013 at 6:04 am

    I enjoyed the article and the responses. Wow, it sure struck a nerve!
    But this illustrates what i have been thinking lately. The time for large families is in the past. (this is accepted nearly everywhere among educated people, every where except in Utah) I expect that this will be overlooked by the predominant local religion, but with the worlds population in excess of 6 billion and the quality of life being eroded by the need for continuously increasing restrictions, and regimentation, make this very evident. We don’t have a shortage of resources and space, we have an excess of people. It is time to be more responsible: Conserve, recycle, and limit our population growth voluntarily before it becomes necessary institute mandatory limits. Perhaps we should consider eliminating the child tax credit: One child= 1 exemption, 2 children= 2 exemptions, 3 children= 1 exemption, 4 children= 0 exemptions… Would that help encourage us to be more responsible reproductively speaking?

  • Bretticus July 16, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Is “Flat Out” short for “Flat Out Troll?” To all the “educated” kid haters, please feel free to move to China where you belong. At least move to your “progressive” liberal city where you can legally smoke pot and quit being so uptight!

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