Grocery Shopping With Small Children In 100 Simple Steps

Grocery shopping with small children

Shopping with kids?

Better yet, grocery shopping with kids?


  1. This is NOT the time to be brave! Write a DETAILED shopping list complete with highlighted notes, question marks and exclamation points prior to shopping day. (Better yet, create a meal plan and base the list on that.) Organize and group items according to the store’s layout. Pray they haven’t changed it. Again.
  2. Gather all coupons ahead of time if you intend to use any.
  3. Plan to shop on a week day during morning hours when stores are less crowded. The less witnesses, the better. But realistically, you’ll probably end up leaving no sooner than lunch time anyway. Don’t sweat it.
  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. Breathe.
  7. Feed your children well.
  8. Locate your wallet. Check that your credit cards are all there. If they’re not, check your kids’ pretend register.
  9. Find missing credit cards and some real money in the toy register. Keep it. It’s probably yours anyway. Explain to 3-year-old AGAIN why she can’t play with the content of your wallet and watch her not pay much attention at all.
  10. Pack a suitcase of snacks and drinks and all other usual necessities.
  11. Announce it’s time to go and have children 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 made a mutual decision to bring a half of their room worth of toys for the ride. Negotiate down to 2 toys 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 wrestle with 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 red light, hand the toy back to your child, explain you won’t be doing that again and answer more completely random questions.
  20. Turn radio up.
  21. Turn radio down and tell 3-year-old 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 momentarily. Check that you have both the list and your wallet. Breathe a sigh of relief.
  25. Arrive at the store.
  26. Explain to 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 upon entering the store and reminisce about all those years of sanitizing entire shopping carts for your precious little germless babies.
  30. Grab the first available shopping cart, ask children to stop bickering over who gets to sit/stand where, and instruct them to quit running NOW, please!
  31. Ask again with your outside voice, and keep your mean-mom monologue in. 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. Realize it’s not there and activate cold sweat and crazy eyes. Utter a half-silent F bomb.
  36. Find the list in your other pocket, wipe sweat off your face and thank the Universe or whoever it is that you worship. Crisis averted.
  37. Tell 3-year-old that we don’t throw potatoes.
  38. Listen to 6-year-old’s constant chatter. Answer all questions ’cause you’re a Supermom. Describe the day she was born (per her request). Explain to her that she’s really not getting a sibling in the near future. Agree that she can name the baby if you happen to be wrong. (Fingers crossed that you’re not wrong.) Tell her you don’t know if the hypothetical baby is a boy or a girl. Steer conversation to ice cream while you check the time.
  39. Ask 3-year-old to please stop poking items in the produce section.
  40. Remind 3-year-old twice that she is too old to lick the cart.
  41. Insist that 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 find out why 3-year-old is 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 your list. Distractions! Go back.
  44. Let 3-year-old roam free again if she promises to stop crying.
  45. Overhear 6-year-old telling 3-year-old that it’s not acceptable to test food from the bins in the bulk section and watch 3-year-old try and break that rule anyway. Twice.
  46. Hold 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 put them back.
  50. Find an item in the cart and feel a little embarrassed leaving it on a random shelf because you really have no clue 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 3-year-old it’s not nice to push items towards the back of the shelves and point out why it can’t be called organizing.
  54. Try and fix the mess 3-year-old has made so far.
  55. Resume reading labels.
  56. Read three lines and snap at 3-year-old for her organizing efforts again.
  57. Feel worthless.
  58. Attempt to read labels again while holding 3-year-old’s non-organizing hand.
  59. Apologize for 6-year-old abandoning the cart in the middle of the aisle, blocking the way for a nice elderly lady.
    1. Skim labels instead and hope for a quick painless death.
  60. Change the course to grab a bottle of wine and quickly glance over the selection while children start to play tag.
  61. Remind both children that glass bottles are breakable and explain why it’s not a good idea to play tag at a store.
  62. Save a bottle from being knocked down off the shelf and put it in the cart. Leave quickly.
  63. Ask both children to stop randomly opening doors of the refrigerated cases in the dairy section. Watch 3-year-old not care and do it anyway. Hold her hand again.
  64. Feel sweaty despite the sudden abundance of cold air.
  65. Walk by the cake display and feel like sitting down with a cup of coffee and a slice of cake. ALONE.
  66. Put a slice of prepackaged no-artificial-flavors-or-colors raspberry mousse chocolate cake in the cart inconspicuously.
  67. End up putting three more in the cart when you get busted and listen to how selfish you really are. Deny it was just for you. Of course you were going to share…
  68. Threaten children through gritted teeth with life-long ban on cake if they don’t stop pushing each other.
  69. Reply that you don’t need to buy a bar of chocolate when children bring five of them.
  70. Put two in the cart anyway when they’re not looking.
  71. Remind children to keep their voices down.
  72. Ask 6-year-old to please stop dancing ‘like that’.
  73. Apologize to other shoppers for your children bumping into them. Apologize twice to that nice elderly lady you’ve met before.
  74. Tell children without fake-nice voice to stand still and to stop bothering other people. Make them apologize and apologize for a stubborn 3-year-old that refuses to and is now apparently shy.
  75. Save 3-year-old from tipping the cart on herself while you reach for a box of cereal.
  76. Wonder if people can see how sweaty you really are.
  77. Promise children they can have some of that chocolate you secretly bought IF they just stay co-operative and quiet until you’re done shopping.
  78. Make sure they know they’re not getting any of your chocolate since they’re not behaving and threaten you’ll eat it all while they watch you.
  79. Abandon the ideals of peaceful parenting in the cracker isle and scare other shoppers.
  80. Head back across the store to get a loaf of bread. It is crossed out with a blue crayon on the list; no wonder you’ve almost missed it.
  81. Pretend your kids aren’t really yours for a moment while you check and re-check the list.
  82. Find the shortest line and sort out coupons.
  83. Watch children help you load items on the conveyor belt in a completely chaotic way that your OCD part hasn’t learned to deal with yet.
  84. Make sure you have all coupons ready and put the head of cabbage rolling down behind you back on the belt.
  85. Pry two egg cartons out of 3-year-old’s clumsy little hands just in time.
  86. Make a small talk with the cashier and for a split second imagine the combination of cake, chocolate, wine, and bedtime. Hallelujah!!!
  87. Hear a loud thump and find three-year-old screaming under the heavy cart.
  88. Feel like the worst mother ever while you help her up. Quickly check for injuries and tell her quietly that she got exactly what she had asked for. Karma, baby. Karma!
  89. People are staring and you wonder if you should have reacted in a fake-nicer way. More sweat coming.
  90. Pay, head for the parking lot and realize you forgot to use the coupons. Curse grocery shopping.
  91. One brief look at other people’s carts on the way out and you immediately recognize the items you forgot to buy. Despite of them being on the list.
  92. Wrestle and argue with a tired 3-year-old over who buckles her in.
  93. Feel more sweat and wonder why you don’t carry a spare shirt for yourself.
  94. Kiss the small bump on 3-year-old’s head and feel sorry for her once she’s buckled up.
  95. Load never ending bags of groceries into the car and swear you’re not doing this ever again. You know that’s a lie.
  96. Turn radio up on the way home and make it clear you’re not picking up toys purposely thrown on the car floor.
  97. Remember the cake, chocolate, and wine, and count hours till bedtime.
  98. Glance onto the back seats and see both children holding hands lovingly in complete silence.
  99. Turn radio off and realize that you’ll have to do this again soon… 


Facebook Comments
If you like this, please share!