Grocery Shopping With Small Children – How To Lose Your Sanity In 100 Simple Steps


Grocery shopping with kids???

Here’s how it’s done…

  1. This is NOT the time to be brave! Write a DETAILED shopping list ahead of time complete with highlighted notes and question marks and exclamation points. Organize and group items according to the store’s layout. Pray they haven’t changed it. Again.
  2. Gather all coupons if you intend to use any.
  3. Plan to shop on a weekday during morning hours. The less witnesses, the better. 
  4. Wake up to a new day feeling hopeful.
  5. Manage to lose the list first thing in the morning. Pretend not to panic just yet.
  6. Spot the list and snatch it from your 3-year-old’s hands armed with scissors and determination.
  7. Feed your children well.
  8. Locate your wallet. Check that your credit cards are all there. If not, go find the kids’ toy register.
  9. Retrieve missing credit cards and some real money from the register. Keep it. It’s probably yours anyway.
  10. Pack a suitcase worth of snacks, drinks, and any other usual necessities that you’ll need for the ride.
  11. Announce it’s time to go and have kids go to the bathroom.
  12. Ask them to put their shoes on.
  13. Help at least one child remove shoes – quickly – because she needs to pee.
  14. The kids have started piling up toys by the front door that they MUST bring. Negotiate down to 2 per child IF they promise to behave at the store. They promise. They’re lying and you know it.
  15. Head for the car and argue with the 3-year-old over who gets to buckle her in. Breathe in, breathe out.
  16. Start driving, continue sweating.
  17. Answer 138 random questions before you get to the closest major intersection.
  18. Hope for a red light so you can retrieve a lost toy from the floor of the car while your 3-year-old whines.
  19. Stop at the light, hand the toy back, and answer more completely random questions.
  20. Turn radio up.
  21. Turn radio down and tell your 3-year-old that her toy will have to wait because she threw it there on purpose. Prepare for a full-blown tantrum.
  22. Turn radio back up.
  23. Look at the person on your left that’s traveling in her car alone and wonder what her life is like.
  24. Panic, check that you have both the list and your wallet, breathe a sigh of relief.
  25. Arrive at the store.
  26. Explain to the 3-year-old that toys will have to stay in the car.
  27. Debate all the reasons why toys should stay in the car without giving in. You got this!
  28. Win the argument, feel proud, and bask in the brief moment of victory.
  29. Notice the sanitizing wipes container by the store entrance and reminisce about all those years when germs were your worst enemy.
  30. Grab the cart, ask kids to stop bickering over who gets to sit/stand where, and instruct them to quit running NOW!
  31. Ask them again to stop running. Inhale.
  32. Give up and place the younger one in the cart. Exhale.
  33. Listen to her scream.
  34. Take her out.
  35. Look for the shopping list that’s supposed to be in your pocket. Activate cold sweat and crazy eyes. Utter a half-silent F bomb.
  36. Find the list in your other pocket, wipe sweat off your forehead and thank the Universe or whoever it is that you worship.
  37. Tell your 3-year-old not to throw potatoes.
  38. Listen to the 6-year-old’s constant chatter. Answer her questions about the day she was born. Explain that she’s not getting a sibling in the near future. Tomatoes, potatoes, onion… Agree that she can name the baby if you happen to be wrong. (Fingers crossed you’re not wrong.) Steer conversation to ice cream.
  39. Ask your 3-year-old to stop poking items in the produce section.
  40. Remind the 3-year-old twice that she is too old to lick the cart.
  41. Insist that your 6-year-old doesn’t taste any more chips and juice because you’re not at a buffet.
  42. After an unsuccessful attempt to try to figure out why the 3-year-old is still crying, put her back in the cart while she continues to cry.
  43. Realize you forgot to grab an item along the way even though there was an exclamation mark next to it on the list. Go back.
  44. Let your 3-year-old roam free again if she promises to stop crying.
  45. Overhear your 6-year-old telling the 3-year-old that it’s not OK to test food from the bins in the bulk section and watch your 3-year-old try and break that rule anyway. Twice.
  46. Hold the 3-year-old’s squirmy hand while filling up bags with nuts, seeds, and dried fruits.
  47. Say no to marshmallows 5 different times.
  48. Explain why NO marshmallows today and still insist on NO marshmallows 4 aisles over.
  49. Spot marshmallows in the cart and head 4 aisles back to get rid of them.
  50. Find an item in the cart and feel a little embarrassed leaving it on a random shelf because you have no idea where it came from.

  51. Say NO to 25 more items 75 times. Explain why NO and stick to the list.
  52. Attempt to read some labels.
  53. Tell the 3-year-old it’s not nice to push items towards the back of the shelves and point out why it’s not called organizing.
  54. Try and fix the mess that the 3-year-old has made so far.
  55. Resume reading labels.
  56. Read three lines and snap at the 3-year-old for her organizing efforts again.
  57. Feel worthless.
  58. Attempt to read labels again while holding the 3-year-old’s non-organizing hand.
  59. Apologize for your 6-year-old abandoning the cart in the middle of an aisle, blocking the way for a nice elderly lady.
  60. Skim labels instead.
  61. Change the course to grab a bottle of wine. Glance over the selection while kids start to play tag.
  62. Remind them that glass bottles are breakable.
  63. Save a bottle from being knocked down off the shelf and put it in the cart. Leave.
  64. Ask both kids to stop randomly opening doors of the refrigerated cases in the dairy section.
  65. Feel sweaty despite the sudden abundance of cold air.
  66. Walk by the cake display and imagine sitting down with a cup of coffee and a slice of cake. ALONE.
  67. Put a slice of raspberry mousse chocolate cake in the cart inconspicuously.
  68. End up putting three more in the cart when you get busted and listen to how selfish you are.
  69. Threaten kids through gritted teeth with life-long ban on cake if they don’t stop pushing each other.
  70. Reply that you don’t need to buy a bar of chocolate when your kids bring five of them.
  71. Put two in the cart anyway when they’re not looking.
  72. Remind kids to keep their voices down.
  73. Ask your 6-year-old to stop dancing like that. WTH??? 
  74. Apologize to other shoppers for your kids bumping into them. Apologize twice to that nice elderly lady you’ve met before.
  75. Tell your kids without a fake-nice voice to stand still and to stop bothering other people. Make them apologize and apologize for your stubborn 3-year-old that is now apparently shy.
  76. Save your 3-year-old from tipping the cart on herself while you reach for a box of cereal.
  77. Wonder if people can see how sweaty you really are.
  78. Promise kids they can have some of that chocolate you secretly bought IF they just stay co-operative and quiet until you’re done shopping.
  79. Make sure they know they’re not getting any of your chocolate since they’re not behaving and threaten to eat all of it while they watch.
  80. Abandon the ideals of peaceful parenting in the cracker isle and scare other shoppers.
  81. Head back across the whole store to get a loaf of bread. The list item crossed out with a blue crayon.
  82. Pretend your kids aren’t really yours while you check and re-check the list.
  83. Find the shortest line and sort out coupons.
  84. Watch kids help you load items on the conveyor belt in a completely chaotic way that your OCD part hasn’t learned to deal with yet.
  85. Make sure you have all coupons ready and put the head of cabbage rolling down behind you back on the belt.
  86. Pry two egg cartons out of 3-year-old’s clumsy little hands just in time.
  87. Make a small talk with the cashier and for a split second imagine the combination of cake, chocolate, wine, and bedtime. Hallelujah!!!
  88. Hear a loud thump and find the three-year-old screaming under the cart.
  89. Feel like the worst mother ever while you help her up. Quickly check for injuries and tell her immediately that she got exactly what she had asked for.
  90. People are staring and you wonder if you should have reacted in a fake-nicer way. More sweat coming.
  91. Pay, head for the parking lot and realize you forgot to use the coupons. Curse grocery shopping.
  92. One brief look at other carts on the way out and you immediately recognize the items you forgot to buy.
  93. Wrestle and argue with a tired 3-year-old over who buckles her in.
  94. Feel more sweat and wonder why you don’t carry a spare shirt for yourself.
  95. Kiss the small bump on the 3-year-old’s head and feel sorry for her once she’s all buckled up.
  96. Load never ending bags of groceries into the car and swear you’re not doing this ever again. You know that’s a lie.
  97. Turn radio up on the way home and make it clear you’re not picking up any toys purposely thrown on the car floor.
  98. Remember the cake, chocolate, and wine, and count hours till bedtime.
  99. Glance onto the back seats and see both kids holding hands lovingly in complete silence.
  100. Turn radio up and realize that you’ll have to do this again. Soon… 




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