Let me start by saying I am a big fan of Walmart. Shopping at Walmart with my kids … not so much.
So you find yourself out of bananas or milk or diapers. You need to go … to Walmart/Target/Other. Not a big task unless you have children joining you and then it becomes monumental. I know some moms that actually pay babysitters or use drop in care just so they don’t have to schlep their kids through the store with them!
Shopping with kids takes longer, is more stressful, and chances are you will forget the one item you really needed on your shopping list. We hide when our kids tear down displays. We cringe when we find our kids opening up bags of chips and sampling in the snack aisle. Worse, our kids opening up toys and playing with them in front of other patrons. Don’t even get me started on the whining and the begging. One of my favorites is when our kids tell me they have to go to the bathroom when I have a full cart and am on the opposite side of the store no where near the restrooms. Then there is the fear of the amber alert when you turn around and cant find your kids. Another day in paradise.
So what do you do to entertain/distract/control your kids while shopping? You read blogs with advice and lets face it, we have tried that shit and it doesn’t work. You will get the stink eye and head shakes from other judgy shoppers as you try to survive the experience.
Some recommend that before you get out of the car that you have a talk about “behavior expectations” while in the store. Others say this is a good time to bribe your kids. Conditions of the deal are that if you behave the entire time that when mom is done with her list that we can all go LOOK at toys. Look at toys … that never goes well. Looking turns into wanting which turns in to “no’s” followed by whining.
So you have set expectations and now you are out of the car chasing kids hoping they don’t get hit by cars trying to park. Then your kid wants the BIGGEST KID CART in the store. You know the ones. The ones shaped like cars with steering wheels and horns etc. They are incredibly heavy, wide and hard to maneuver. The kicker is … they wont even sit in it! Some of these carts have multiple seats. PSA: unless you have a large family, do not take these carts. These are meant for large families. These families depend on these carts and couldn’t otherwise shop with out them. So if you are in the store with one kid think twice about taking the multi-seat carts.
Then there is the wiping down of the cart because you know they breed bacteria. Like it matters as you see your little Jimmy picking up spilt food/candy off the floor and eating it, touching raw meat, and putting snot on his sister.
So now you are officially in the store. Suggestions like give the kids snacks, small toys, books, phones/tablets … ok that lasts about 30 seconds until they are off and running. Especially when you have kids that are too old to sit in the cart but too young to be any less than arms length from you.
Some suggest having your kids help you with the shopping, that would work until they find the cookie aisle or the toys then all bets are off. If your kids can read they say you can have them help you with the list or counting items etc. Turn the trip into a learning experience! The only thing I learn time and time again is to shop fast and then get the hell outta there!
So you are finally done and ready to check out. You have to unload your cart and watch small monsters simultaneously. Throwing stuff on the belt and watching to make sure prices ring correctly and possibly use coupons. Kids running around the checkout, turning belts on and off, pushing cash register buttons, scanning random stuff, and eating candy that is strategically placed at registers just to torture parents.
Now you corral your kids and contemplate spanking. Should I do it? Should I do it in public? Visions of punishments dance in your head as you buy one or two extra bottles of wine. Many times I have gone through checkout only to have pull-ups and wine in my cart. That is a sign of a real mom!
You pray as you once again brave the parking lot to then have to try and strap the kids in to their car seats. Next comes the unloading of the cart. Cart is empty, kids are in car, and now you have to return the cart. The cart return is far from your car. What do you do? Do you leave the cart where it is? Do you leave the kids in the car while you speedily return the cart to the cart return? You ask yourself “Why did I choose to park close to the entrance which is no where near the cart returns?”.
Now you look forward to getting the minions home where then you can start the unpacking ritual. Most of the time it involves opening the wine first and as you unpack and gulp that liquid medicine down.
It is a battle out there Mamas. And you survive it time and time again. You are a warrior. Shop on.
Makes shopping online so much more appealing. Shopping online for pickup a stroke of genius.