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Monday Morning Parenting: Gone Shopping

Monday, November 7, 2011

Shopping with the kids Before I became a mom, shopping was one of my favorite pastimes. I liken it to a game of checkers. It's most fun when done with a best pal, hopscotching from store to store together trying to score the best finds, the rush of emerging victorious in your hunt for the perfect cocktail dress.

Now with a kid in tow, shopping is more like going into battle. I have to do a lot of pre-planning, there is no such thing as impulse shopping anymore. My objective is to get in and get out with no tears or bloodshed and without leaving any men behind.

Take, for example, a trip to Target which used to be one of my favorite places to shop. I never noticed how diabolical that store is until I shopped there with a toddler. There is danger lurking around every corner-the brightly-colored Dollar Spot, the toy section, the snack section, and the grandaddy of them all...checkout aisle. You think you'd be safe in the checkout line, but wrong-o. The aisle is packed with candy bars and gadgets that look like toys and so you have a potential a hostage situation on your hands. It takes only a few seconds before I hear, "Mommy! I want that!," which loosely translated means, "give me that bag of chips or else I will throw a Level 10 temper tantrum right here in line and embarrass the crap out of you."

Luck for me, I don't negotiate with terrorists.

Also lucky for me, I learn quickly. It took one hair-raising shopping experience before I understood that I needed to train myself to be a shopper-mom. I had to acquire a new shopper skills set such as memorizing the layout of every store so I can avoid the pitfalls, keeping my child occupied with holding the shopping list because "helping mommy" is her thing, saying no to every well-intentioned employee (and sometimes stranger) who offers my child a lollipop, balloon, or sample of whatever sugary drink they are shilling. If I could toss my money down a special chute and make a mad dash for the exit, I'd be home free. But the checkout aisle always waits like a bear trap.

What are your tips for a successful shopping trip with the kids?


Maureensk said...

Isn't amazing how much shopping sucks once you have kids!?!?! It doesn't help that, though I never had swollen ankles until I had pre-eclampsia with my first, now I get swollen ankles if I am on my feet too much. My clothes get holey these days, just because the effort of shopping is too much, even online shopping. The one thing I did that has helped the most is to make a grocery list in order of our grocery store. By this, I mean that I have a file with all of the aisles already printed, in the order I shop in. When people write something on the list, they write it in the appropriate place/aisle, so I do not have to go back and forth while shopping. Anyone who fails to put their request in the proper place/aisle, will most likely not get the aforementioned item, as I don't go backwards in the grocery store. Of course, I don't expect my kids to be able to handle this when they are young, but by about age 10-12, they can do it.

Kim said...

This is such a great and relatable post. I wish you would submit it to Blogher. It's true, I no longer "enjoy" shopping the way I used to and those damned check-out aisles are lethal.

Nubienne said...

Simple; I rarely take SydKid with me anymore. I like to move fast and having her with me slows me down. So I shop early in the morning, while she's sleep and her dad is home, or I hit the 24 hour market after shes sleep. When I do take her I'm lucky that she doesn't ask for candy...she asks for clothes (which might be worse than candy) and its usually to get something for her specifically which makes it more fun..I can take my time and enjoy the shopping experience with her.

Anonymous said...

Ha! "I don't negotiate with terrorists." I love that. Yes, I am also the mom that gets the sideways "What kind of monster are you?" glares and looks from the cashiers and bank tellers when I say "No lollipops today thank you." I am now also the mom that sadly has to do the whole follow through of "If you act up again I am leaving all these clothes and groceries and cookies right here in this aisle and we are going home." (But I secretly have a manager know what point I'm trying to make hold my cart until I can come back later that night after the hubs gets home to watch the kids and then I can run out and pay for everything then.) I'm not letting all that hard work go to waste for real! :o)

My best, Lynn

Unknown said...

We're attending a wedding later this week and hubby thoughtfully handed me my wallet, a credit card and shooed me out the door to my already waiting girlfriend, ready to go in her car. I actually got to spend a few hours shopping for clothing.. halfway through I literally said "I'm actually enjoying this!"

If only grocery shopping could be that blissful. I count myself lucky when I can take Babygirl and she sleeps through most of it while Hubby stays home with Toddler.

Lee-Ann said...

LOL My best tip? Leave them home with Daddy while I do the shopping when he's home. ;)

An Ordinary Housewife said...

I like the idea of the poster who makes a map of the store. I find it works a little better for me if I do make a list. Also, I do try to have something to pacify DD and sometimes she is content to hold something I'm buying anyway.

charychild said...

I hate shopping with my kids! My 3yo likes to play "kitty" at the store, crawling around on the floor and meowing at everyone... adorable, sure, but it can sometimes take twenty minutes just to move to the next aisle!

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