The Dozen Donut Doozy: A Ridiculous Tale of a Mother’s Panic

My husband went on a work trip recently. He went to Florida. He stayed in a massive suite. Facing the ocean. Without me. 

That is neither here nor there. This post isn’t about how he left me for eight days to hang out in a tropical climate while I braved the 900th day of snow and ice in the state of Iowa. This post is about donuts.

(Author’s note: To be fair, the husband in question was working his rear-end off from dawn until dusk at a very important conference his company hosts every year. His trip was not leisure, but still!)

While my husband was gone I did my best to fill our days and evenings with things that would help time go by. I understand that many people do this parenting gig solo. To them I raise my glass, because I have mad respect for the work you do day in and day out. On the sixth morning my husband was gone, I told my kids if we got out of the house fast enough we would go to the local donut shop to grab a morning treat. One of the rules I try to enforce is you must eat a piece of fruit and have some yogurt BEFORE you get something like a donut. Both of my children happily did this in anticipation of the sugary treat coming their way.

The Dozen Donut Doozy: A Ridiculous Tale of a Mother's Panic 

We arrived at the donut shop later than I would have liked, and I had already worked up a bit of stress about getting both kids to school and daycare on time and getting myself to work on time. As we got out of our vehicle I hollered, “Okay, let’s go inside and tell me the donut you want right away.” 

Here is where things went awry. 

Both of my kids are sprinkle donut kids. They have no interest in glaze or filled or otherwise. They like the donuts with sprinkles. Period. My daughter likes the “Hawkeye sprinkles” and my son likes the “dinosaur sprinkles.” As we walked up to the counter, no one was in line behind us. I turned to my son and said, “Buddy, what donut do you want?” For the first time ever, he pointed to a donut ABOVE the row of sprinkle donuts. This donut was unexpected. This donut was not acceptable. He pointed to the ONLY donut on the shelf with a HUGE glob of fluffy frosting on it and topped with Oreos above a rich chocolate cake donut.

I looked at my son. I looked at the donut. Without hesitation I said, “Nope.” 

This is where things went from awry to downhill. Quickly.

One person has gotten in line behind me. My son, not pleased with my quick negative response, began to whine. I saw the signs I have become very accustomed to that indicate a meltdown is about to ensue. I turn to my daughter. “You pick your donut while I talk to brother.” Two people are in line behind me. 

“Buddy, you can’t have the donut with the cookies on top. That isn’t a breakfast donut,” I say. (What the heck is the difference between a “breakfast donut” and a “non-breakfast donut” by the way?!? It made sense at the time.)  My daughter easily picks her donut. Hawkeye sprinkles. Done. My son is jumping up and down in protest. “Bud, you can pick a donut from the BOTTOM row. Which donut do you want?” Three people are in line behind me.

More whining and body thrashing from the four-year-old.

I turn my head to look behind me. Four people are now in line. I panic.

I turn back and look at the owner of the donut shop and blurt loudly, “WE’LL TAKE A DOZEN!!”

I say this in both a panicked and triumphant sort of way only a mother who has been in a moment like this can understand. I have both solved a problem and made a new problem.  

If he must box up a dozen donuts that absolutely justifies the fact that I am still standing in line, does it not? AND if I have a dozen donuts my son now has 12 donuts to pick from in our box. Surely, we can finish this debate in the car and not in the donut shop in front of all six people who are standing there. (At the time it felt like WAY more than six people by the way.)  Except, what am I and my four-year-old and six-year-old going to do with all these donuts? Details. Details.

I now must choose 12 donuts of my own picking to put inside our box. I haphazardly blurt out donut after donut to fill our box. Somehow my son has become distracted by the fact that I’m picking donuts. I’ve filled the box with my twelve.

The power of distraction leads my son to quietly say, “I want a dinosaur sprinkle one.”

Shoot! How did I NOT think to put a dinosaur sprinkles donut in my dozen when I was making my choices? I can’t possibly ask the shop owner to take one of the donuts OUT of my box that he already put in there.

“We will also take one more donut. A dinosaur sprinkles donut with chocolate frosting please,” I say sheepishly. Am I sweating? I am definitely sweating.

My son receives his dinosaur sprinkle donut and seems as happy as can be. I resent his instant mood swing for just a tiny moment.

My resentment fades quickly. We have donuts. I have coffee. The kids are in great moods. We’ve made it to day 6 of daddy being out of town. It is only 7:28 a.m. I have time to get my daughter to school and my son to daycare, and I MAY just make it to work by 8 a.m. on the dot if the traffic cooperates.

All in all, I call it a win.

In retrospect, I probably didn’t need to panic as much as I did in the donut shop. I know other mamas can relate to this, though. You feel as though EVERYONE is watching you and judging your actions. You also don’t want your child to spiral into a full-blown tantrum. We’ve all been there. To the mama that feels me on a very deep level through this post–I see you. And I will turn my head the other direction when you eat three of those donuts you just bought out of panic at the donut shop. Because I’ve been there. I ate them too. I get it.

And that is the story of how I and my two kids ended up with 14 donuts on a chilly Friday in March.

The end. And god bless sugar.


Linda is a Michigan native who moved to Iowa City in 2011 and hasn’t left yet. She and her husband of twelve years, Jacob, have two spunky kids – a kindergartner and a third grader. Linda works full time at the University of Iowa as the Administrative Director for the Medical Scientist Training Program. Together, Linda and her family enjoy cheering for the Nebraska Cornhuskers (shhhh!), going on adventures both big and small, and playing board games (they have over 100 and will play with anyone they can talk into it). Linda is often told she has two volumes: on and off, and she will enthusiastically respond to any news you tell her. No matter the volume she uses, Linda is an “old soul” with a love for baking, embroidery, and old movies.


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