Dear Mom Who Feels Like She Just Ran a Marathon {And "all" you did was go to the grocery store with young children}

I hear ya, Sister. I was just there today braving the produce aisles with our four young children and when we finally got back home it was this huge internal sigh of, "we made it."

Because seriously, taking any amount of young children to the grocery store, no matter how well-behaved they are, is a serious act of bravery.

In fact, I try to avoid it at all costs and usually send the hubs out alone to the grocery store in the evening. But when the fridge and freezer are bare, you sometimes have to pull up your mom pants and just get out there and get it over with.

In order to go grocery shopping with young children I figure there are about 4 Phases (give or take a few depending on how the trip goes):

Phase 1: Make sure everyone is fed, watered, and changed (or that they have taken themselves to the restroom.) Do not, under any circumstances, neglect yourself in this phase.

This first stage can be a feat in and of itself, but is something that must be done or you WILL regret it when you are about half way through the grocery store. It also, in my case, must be timed perfectly. As in, it must be accomplished either right before the baby wakes up from his morning nap or shortly thereafter so that you can get out the door, do all of your shopping and get back home BEFORE the baby's afternoon nap. Otherwise, he will fall asleep in the car for a whole two minutes and not want to go down for his nap. True Story.

2. Get everyone loaded up, buckled and then unbuckled and unloaded upon arrival at the grocery store.

This one isn't too hard but can be more complicated should you choose to grocery shop on a day when it is raining out. Statistically, it is more likely to be raining or snowing on those days of the week that your fridge is most bare.

3. Enter the store and begin to shop.

This, my friends, is not a task for the fainthearted. Did I mention? I'm fainthearted. Why do you think I usually send my husband out to do this?? But, man, I'll do just about anything for food.

Once we got in the store, we got ourselves in order and the children were given strict instructions to stay close to Momma and follow along behind me. I'm sure we resembled a mother duck and all her ducklings as we weaved single file in and out of the aisles.

And let's not forget the assortment of people you come across while shopping with children. Especially when three out of your four have red hair. It happens every time. The elderly ladies just can't get enough of that red hair and they want to tell you all about every second cousin, once removed that had red hair too.

And bless our lone dark-haired child. After people get done gushing about the red hair of his siblings, he stands there waiting for a second to talk and then politely shares that he has red hi-lites.

Now don't get me wrong. I appreciate these sweet ladies who want to talk to my children and me, but at the same time, I can feel my heart start to race in my chest because I know that if I don't get moving again, things can fall apart real fast.

The whole time you're shopping it's like this mad dash to get what you need and get out before someone decides to let everyone around them know they are "so over shopping" or before the baby starts to cry and wants out of the stroller. (Which by the way, I found the stroller to be uber helpful today. My 8 year old pushed the baby in it while the middle two walked and I piled the groceries in the cart. Using the stroller for grocery shopping was a first for me, but I think I'm going to stick with it for the next time I venture out alone grocery shopping again with children in 2019. (Did you notice that the word "alone" takes on a whole new meaning once you have kids? Pre-kids, that word meant I was literally the only human being in a room. Now it just means I am the only adult with all the kids and that type of alone is not even close to meaning the same thing it used to.)

4. Load the kids and groceries into the van (good thing we got that Big Daddy Van I told you about!) and then unload the groceries when you get home.

This one can be tricky, but today, it went very well. We only had a few heads of cabbage and spaghetti squash run away from their bags and roll around in the van on the way home. When we got home, our oldest, bless his heart, volunteered to unload all of the groceries for me while I put them away and the middle two entertained the baby.

Once everything was put away, we celebrated our adventure with a Bolthouse juice the kids spied on sale and a bag of overpriced share size Lays Potato chips I got in the checkout lane. We snacked on our treats in celebration of Survival and one child even said it was such a great day. Doesn't take much, does it?

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Unknown said...

I just have one 10-month-old baby and I feel your pain! It's actually not so bad shopping with him (yet). But so true about him falling asleep on the way back home for just a few minutes and then not going down for his nap.

Beth said...

I laughed so hard at this and I only have an almost-three-year old and a 13 month old. :) LOVE your blog! Blessings to you! said...

Glad you girls can relate! Thanks Kristen for blessing me today. :)

Chris Carter said...

There are times I don't know WHAT I was thinking, dragging my 8 and 10 year old kids to the store. It goes from baby issues to kid issues... And I almost ALWAYS leave the store completely frazzled and of course-

Having forgotten exactly what I came in for in the first place! lol

Gabby said...

I am right there with you! And I'm about to tackle this very same feat, with a 5 year old, a 3 year old, and a 1 year old. Would you believe this was actually much easier when my youngest was a newborn? It's true. It really was. said...

I understand Chris--it is much easier to forget something when you're trying to keep track of everyone! In fact, I did forget something. Guess I could have added that to the list. :) said...

Gabby, hope your adventure went well! :)

theintentionalmom said...

I so feel your pain on this one! We don't get nearly as many sweet old ladies as we do non-sweet "ladies" that either do not have children or have forgotten what it is like to go to the grocery store with kids. I wrote about it here:

Thanks again for writing this post!

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