Some of my earliest memories involve the grocery store. I remember digging into the candy bins to snag caramels when no one was looking, taking my blood pressure on the machines that were normally reserved for people much older than I was, and flying past the aisles while standing on the edge of the cart like an Olympic bobsledder. It was magic. But now, as a mom, I cherish the moments I can go to the grocery store alone. Because for moms, every moment alone is like a gift from the gods.
I first discovered the bliss of solo shopping just a few months after my son was born. My mother was always eager to babysit, and I needed to pick up some food for dinner or whatever. Rather than deal with bringing my baby (and his car seat) into the store, I decided it was best to leave him home with my mom. It took something as simple as getting in my car to start feeling independent, free, and more like myself.
Now that my son is 4 I don’t always feel that same rush of unabashed freedom when I take a trip to the grocery store. For the most part, I've discovered a few other, arguably more enjoyable, ways to spend time alone (and when you're the person that does the bulk of the shopping, a trip to the store becomes less and less appealing). But when I am at the store alone I have no doubt that I do what, well, most moms do, including the following:
They Stroll Down Each & Every Single Aisle
My partner hates shopping. So on the rare occasions when we all shop together, he usually sticks to the list in an attempt to leave the store as soon as possible. When I have time, however, I truly enjoy walking aisle to aisle, seeing what new products I might find or which ones I might have never noticed before.
They Grab A Favorite Item Their Partner Doesn't Like
Sometimes my partner and I disagree on the best flavor of ice cream, or on which toothpaste brand to get. But because I am alone at the grocery store more often, I get to be the deciding vote. Yes, that means everyone better enjoy my blue sparkly toothpaste and cookie dough ice cream, damn it.
They Throw Some Guilty Pleasures In Their Cart
Speaking of cookie dough ice cream...
Sometimes there are things I avoid buying because I know, deep down, my body isn’t very happy with me when I consume them. Some examples include cookies, Hot Pockets, and beer. And while I’m not advocating making your diet consist solely of these things, feel free to pick at least one "guilty pleasure" for yourself when you go shopping.
They Try All The Samples
It all depends on where you’re at. Costco? Samples heaven. Publix? Hit the deli counter. How about Trader Joe’s? You know I’m grabbing whatever fancy food they have and then circling around the lemonade-and-coffee samples station multiple times.
They Actually Use Their Coupons
My partner is the worst at using coupons. He rarely remembers to even use his rewards card at the local King Soopers. But I’ve got multiple grocery store apps at my disposal these days with which I collect coupons, and man it feels good to save at the end of a trip.
They Put In Their Headphones
If you’re feeling antisocial, nothing is better at the grocery store than putting on some headphones and spacing out to the sounds of your favorite band. Or, conversely, you might want to catch up on your most beloved podcasts. And if you’re anti-social but don’t actually feel like listening to anything, you can always just wear them and not listen to anything but know you won’t be bothered by others trying to chat you up.
They Chat Up The Staff
On especially sociable days, I might go the extra mile to be more extroverted on my trips. After all, some days I talk to next to zero adults. I need stimulating conversation, even if it’s just about the weather or the produce specials.
They Pick Up Something Thoughtful For Family Members
You can’t really surprise people if they’re right beside you. But, I must admit, I am happy to bring home a can of LaCroix for my partner (even if it does taste like someone drinking the watered-down essence of a fruit) or a new Hot Wheels car for my kid. It’s the little things in life, you know?