you are not alone

I've put off this post for a long time, maybe years. It's not something that easy to talk about, or pretty to think about. It can be a hard subject to bring up with your friends and even your family but I think it's something many of us go through and shouldn't be kept a secret any longer. No, I'm not talking about depression again.

I'm talking about the Target Poo.

Do you know what I'm referring to? Have you experienced this phenomena? The Target Poo is the unexplainable urge to empty your bowels simply because you are browsing through your local Target.

My earliest memory of Target (aside from the mint brownies in the bakery case behind the checkouts) is walking around the Duluth store with a big lump of poo in my diaper. Already, at probably age 2, being in this shining mecca of consumer goods relaxed me and my tiny bowels. I was reminded of this on Tuesday when Ruby & I were there. About a half hour into our trip she let loose with her cry of, "I have to pooooooooooooooooop!" Now, Ruby has only been regularly pooping on the toilet at home for a month or so and she has never pooped out of the house. Leave it to Target to bring her out of her shy colonic shell. Ah, good old Target.

I have talked about this over the years with close friends and family. During these research sessions friendly conversations I have discovered something startling. The Target Poo does not only happen at Target. The Target Poo changes and adapts with you and your life circumstances. It can strike anywhere at any time. It is like a virus with no known vaccine.

A few examples:

A certain woman I know needs to use the facilities almost immediately after stepping into a particularly good thrift or antique store. Seriously, almost immediately!

Another has the urge to purge after nothing more than a phone call from her sister!

A man (no, they are not immune) I know recently let it be known (in a most unpleasant way) that the mere thought of having the house to himself one Sunday afternoon was too much for him. He could hardly say goodbye to us his family that was not us before they left the house.

If you're hearing about this for the first time you may have a great sense of relief, finally being able to put a name to this powerful experience. You are welcome. You are safe here. You are not alone.

This may all seem overwhelming to you....

or, maybe not. I suppose we should also talk about those who are quite comfortable with all of this. Maybe some have come to actually rely on the Target Poo to help keep things regular but you and I both know that is a slippery slope. Target trips are expensive, my friends, and should not be used for anything more than an opportunity to stock up on dry goods and the occasional new pair of shoes or piece of seasonal decor.

No matter what side of the Bullseye you are on, please continue reading....

I'd like to share something very personal with you now. Because we are friends I'd like to share with you how I have triumphed over this mighty urge, and I want to share with you how you can, too. It is not for the faint of heart but it can be done. The only known antidote to the Target Poo is this: Go to Target (or whatever your personal hot spot is) with at least one, preferably 2, small children. Almost like magic the urge disappears and YOU are in control of your own BMs again. Trust me, it works!

Please don't be lulled into thinking you have 100% coverage, though. The next time you arrive in a store by prepared. The Poo is not shaken that easily. Oh no, she is a mighty Poo, and she will be back, with a vengeance. (You won't, however, have to try to poo while your toddler sits on your lap and your baby eats toilet paper off of the floor, so there is that.)

Thank you for travelling down this dark & stinky road with me today. I feel as though I've come out of a tunnel and into the sunshine, being able to speak of this freely here for the first time. And really, if I've helped EVEN ONE of you it is all worth it.

Now you'll have to excuse me. I have some, er, personal business to attend to....


  1. I think you are definitely on to something. It doesn't usually happen to me, but does to A. from time to time. I hate dealing with poo in public!

    Funny post!

  2. with this sense of humor, you'll be a great mom to 2 boys (and your little girl too, of course). When things get rough around here, I go to a poop joke, and it totally lightens the mood. Congrats on your big news!

  3. Oh Steph, you are one hilarious lady!

  4. Oh you know me too well . . . I think the excitement of shopping just does it for me!! I can't even bring up the TERRIBLE poo that Piper had in Target. Through the diaper, down the cart, onto the FLOOR. She must have been excited about the toy clearance aisle.

  5. You are too funny for words. Seriously. The Target Poo? :) This cracked me up!!!

  6. you are now my favorite blogger for brining this up. SO glad i'm not alone. :)

  7. That "favorite teacher" you know is tingling with excitement regarding James' love of words. Can't imagine where he gets that from.... tell James that Auntie Kristy says"Readers are Leaders".

    Sooooo happy about another boy! I can't wait to see what your 3rd child will come up with!

    Give Ruby a big hug.

    PS - I also suffer from TPS (Target Poo Syndrome)

  8. I'm dying over this post! Let me just say that I am quite familiar with the family restroom at Target. So funny:)

  9. you are so funny

  10. i'm certainly glad not to be part of the unfortunate souls who suffer from this malady.......
    your mother

  11. Yep, I call it the retail therapy poo.

    Get me into a department store or grocery store with a trolleyful of stuff and the urge strikes like....NOW NOW NOW!!!!!!! MANY is the day I have parked a trolley and sprinted off to the nearest facility, returning shaky legged minutes later.

    Hmm, that just sounds wrong doesn't it? I see your problem, and I share it.


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