How to Shop for Groceries with Small Children

Start out strong by heading to the grocery store with a list that’s half-written, following two other errands, testing the limits of an eighteen-month-old who missed his nap and has been awake since 5AM because the four-year-old woke everyone up to find out the name of the third color in the rainbow.

Locate the shopping car-cart and happily jaunt through the produce section while serenaded by faux-traffic sound effects as the children appear to be getting along in a precariously tight space. Elderly couples smile and make passing comments like, “You certainly have your hands full!” and “What sweet boys you have!”

The day is young.

Make it to the deli counter and through two more aisles before the “Beep! Beep!”s turn into “Mom, he hit me!”s. Grab a snack cup of cookies from a basket by a register and loudly announce to no one that “Mommy will pay for these when we’re all done shopping!” as you thrust them into the hands of the eighteen-month-old, as if the hands used for hitting could also be used for sharing.

Elderly couples are now avoiding eye contact.

Regret sets in as you realize there is little to no reward at this point for the effort it takes to negotiate turns from one aisle to the next when pushing an eighteen-wheeler car-cart around the grocery store at noon two days before New Years Eve. Exactly zero snacks have been shared with the four-year-old. Hands are still being used for hitting.

Crazy Mom Eyes make their grocery store debut as you duck your head into the front of the car-cart to negotiate a peace. Eighteen-month-old isn’t feeling it, would rather scowl angrily and eat all of the snacks.

Remove eighteen-month-old from the car-cart and place in the regular shopping cart seat, much to his disdain. Emits loud war cry to alert all other shoppers that this is not okay. Make a mental note that two snack cups may have been a better choice.

But you’re in the homestretch! Frozen foods, dairy, and that one thing you forgot seven aisles back! The four-year-old now has his feet sticking through the “windshield” of the car-cart as the eighteen-month-old blasts a random playlist of music from your iPhone.

Elderly couples are amused. You are avoiding eye contact.

Make it to the register. No one is crying, but everyone is over it. Hand the cashier the empty snack cup and smile, but she is a teenager and very confused about why you’re trying to pay for it. Finally, everything is in bags and in the cart and you’re loading the kids into the car before you realize you forgot that thing seven aisles back.

Decide you can live without it.

It isn’t long before they’re both passed out in their car seats. Peek back at their sweet cherub-like faces and wonder if entertaining the idea of a third makes you certifiably insane. Decide to take the long way home because nap time is sacred, and there are four more hours til Dad comes home.

Pray for patience and vow never to do such a crazy thing again, or at least until next Thursday 🙂


Author: Erica the Great

Wife, momma, teacher, and a twenty-something for a little while longer. Every day, I'm a lot of things for a lot of people. This space? It's just for me.

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