Grocery Shopping By Yourself Vs. Grocery Shopping With Your Kids
As a young woman, I found going to the grocery store a soothing weekly event. But then my children took that from me, just like they took away my boobs and all my money. Let me talk to you about grocery shopping by yourself versus with kids, because even though it's technically the same thing errand it could not look more different.
When I was little, I thought being an adult would be a magical time when I could do whatever I wanted. I quickly learned this was not the case and everything I'd ever thought about being a grown up was an awful lie... except for grocery shopping. Every Sunday night, I would leisurely stroll through the aisles and think about the week ahead via the meals I planned on the fly. Whatever tickled my fancy I would buy.
Then I had kids.
Honestly, for a while, it was no big deal! I'd just put on the Moby Wrap and let all the old people come up to me and coo over my usually sleeping little angel! It was like being a parade float and my son was riding at the very top, just waiting to be adored by throngs of fans. Then he got older and mobile and didn't sleep and discovered whining. Then I had another baby because, apparently, I love making things harder for myself, and it was around this time that grocery shopping became a punishing hellscape that I dreaded and pushed off for as long as possible.
I'd like to say it's gotten better now that both my kids are in grade school... but no. My kids are normally pretty well-behaved, sure, but something about supermarkets turns them into beasts whose sole purpose is to irritate me. So I've resigned myself to the fact that I'm damned for all time... or at least until they're old enough to be left home alone while I go out, at which point I will worry the entire time I've gone that they haven't burned the house down.
But every now and then there comes a day when I'm able to make this trip without them and oh the difference.
Oh sure, it starts out easy enough. They're behaving just fine now, but history has told you time and again that grocery stores turn your children into animals. You know that somehow, at some point, in some way, this whole trip is going to turn into a thing and devolve very quickly. So, from the beginning and regardless of their behavior, you're wary and on edge.
You're feeling calm and peaceful... and light! It's just you, your reusable bags, your list, and the gentle click of your shoes on the freshly waxed supermarket floor. How is it that this is how you once moved through the world all the time, responsible only for yourself and the task at hand? How did you not appreciate it more. Well, you appreciate it now. This is like a legit vacation.
First of all, you probably left the list at home in the first place. It's understandable — getting everyone out of the house was a bit of a kerfuffle. Because amid packing enough diapers and wipes and getting shoes on and then putting shoes back on when someone, for some reason, takes theirs off, and arguing about which toys they're allowed to bring and which toys need to stay at home, you left the list on the counter, along with the cart cover (looks like your baby is just going to build up her immunity chewing on the germ-handle today). But, honestly, it's OK. Because your children are going to ask you for everything under the sun anyway and you just don't have the strength to argue with them every time (you expended a lot of energy just getting here, TBH) so what's even the point of a list.
You remember the list. You buy the items on the list. You may even have the presence of mind to purchase items you forgot to put on your list in the first place, you clever minx. You might get one or two extra things as a special treat for your children, whom you love so dearly... because they're not here, distracting you and making this unpleasant.
Everyone in the store knows your children's first and middle names by the end of your time there, as well as exactly what consequences await them at home if they don't start behaving or "get over here by the time I count to three."
You are still, somehow, quieter than your children.
The only time you speak is to say "excuse me," "please," and "thank you."
You pray to all the gods in the pantheon of motherhood that you don't run into anyone you know, because you look a mess and somewhere in the condiments section your children went feral. If you do run into someone, not only is it an exercise in humility, it's also sort of pointless because your kids are interrupting you or you're interrupting the conversation to tell them to "please be quiet, sweetheart, mommy is talking." And then, of course, if the person you know has a kid with them and that child is behaving, you start to get surly. Like, how come that kid is being good? What does this parent know that you don't? Do they think they're better than me?
Why is that... yes I think it is! It's that friend you haven't seen in a hot minute and have been wanting to catch up with. Oh isn't this a nice surprise! Why, yes, old chum! I do have a few minutes to chat. Please tell me how everything is going!
Your Bargain Hunting
You are hunting for bargains... but it's not going so well. Honestly, you'd be able to pinch a penny much easier if, for the love of God, you children would stop hosting wrestling matches in the middle of the frozen foods aisle.
You are hunting for bargains for this cereal, because you know somewhere you saw a coupon for $2 off. Without one constantly hanging on you and the other screaming as they beg you for another cereal made with 97 grams of sugar per serving, you have time to search for said coupon on your phone.
It will take you no less than an hour to get out of here. Seriously, if you have other plans just cancel them now, because after this you have to put everything away, which is also going to take far too long because you'll constantly be interrupted.
You're in and out in 25 minutes, and that's after intentionally picking the longest check-out line because you don't want this beautiful solo mission to end.
Your Level Of Success
The important thing is that you tried and we know you did... but the other important thing is that you completely forgot to pick up the ingredients for dinner tonight and you have to go back now, so go ahead and have yourself a cry and hop to it.
Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.