Grocery shopping with kids in tow is a huge chore. Most of the time I would rather entertain the idea of scrubbing the kitchen floor with a toothbrush than nip out for a few groceries with the kids.
Though we all have our best intentions, the reality is usually quite different than our best laid plans. Here is what usually happens when I head out to the store.
1. Make a list:
The plan: spend an hour making a perfect list, taking into account the aisle position at the store, so you can rush through just after nap time when everyone is in their best mood.
What really happens: forget list at home with your baby’s favorite pacifier and toddler’s snacks. Rush through store like a maniac grabbing everything that wasn’t on your list. I mean, there must be some kind of menu that asks for brown rice, marshmallows and that cereal that no one ever wants to eat, right?
2. Time the expedition perfectly:
The plan: at nap time or between naps, or whenever your kids are at their calmest/happiest/most obedient.
What really happens: get to store, get everyone positioned in carriers/shopping carts/car seats and watch all hell break loose as soon as candy or toys come into view. Leave store with absolutely nothing apart from screaming children (how do they even manage to scream in unison anyway?!), planning on never setting foot in public again. Groceries can be ordered online in a safe location and Goldfish will be perfect for dinner.
3. Make it a quick trip:
The plan: for once everyone is in great form and you only need a few items. A maximum of 10 minutes in the store isn’t going to harm anyone, is it?
What really happens: a lovely lady who really doesn’t mean any harm comes up to you and starts telling you how adorable your kids are. You thank her and attempt to navigate your shopping cart around her, but she starts to play with your toddler. And that’s it, as you successfully move away from her the tantrum starts. And once again you leave the grocery store with 2 screaming children and nothing else.
4. Advance preparation:
The plan: Ziploc full of favorite cereal? Check. Fresh sippy full of water? Check. Favorite toy of the hour? Check. Secret stash of cookie bites and Cheetos in case of an emergency? Check. You are prepared and ready with ammunition against hunger, boredom and thirst.
What really happens: armed with jangling keys and teething toys you take a deep breath and walk into the store. Halfway through your list the whining becomes more high-pitched and the blackmail snacks come out. In the checkout line the screams have crescendoed to eardrum piercing volume and you shove packets of whatever is in your vicinity into little hands, hoping they will catch attention for more than 2 seconds. When you finally get home you realize that you forgot the most important thing: a bottle of wine.
5. Make a new plan:
The plan: come up with a better plan that will actually work this time.
What really happens: you just accept the fact that grocery shopping is going to be a nightmare for a few years. You will be able to hone your cooking skills and make something out of nothing. You will pride yourself on the ability to actually make it out of Target with at least 2 items from your list. And you will embrace the fact that you will have so many stories to regal and terrify others with.
Acceptance of your fate is the key tip to survival! And before you know it screaming toddlers will be whining teens anyway…