If you have kids, you probably have a vague memory of what it was like to go shopping before your little bundle(s) of joy arrived. To me, it is a fading memory of spending hours in the mall, having a nice quiet lunch or dinner and maybe even going to a movie afterwards. It seems like so long ago…
Now trips to the mall mostly consist of 20-30 minutes of shopping and then giving up in frustration and taking the kids to the play area (stopping along the way for an Auntie Anne’s pretzel, of course). Trips to the grocery store are cut short when we decide there are things we can live without (“just get me home”) and you know as well as I do that shopping at Target can either go really well or take a quick nosedive, depending on how our kids react to “No, you already have enough toys”.
Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE doing things with my girls! We have lots of fun at the park, the pool and the beach. However, I’ve found that if I want to shop easily and efficiently (and without pulling my hair out), I should just leave them home with daddy. Here’s why you should avoid shopping with children at all costs:
1. They get lost in the clothing racks (on purpose)
The funny thing about this is that I can actually remember doing this as a child too (sorry, mom). This is that game where your children hide inside the racks of clothes and you temporarily freak out because you think you’ve lost them (until you hear the giggles and realize exactly what’s going on)! To them it’s the best game ever but it’s difficult to shop when you’re constantly hunting for your “missing” child(ren).
2. Who wants to spend all that time in public restrooms
My three year old has a strange fascination with using public restrooms and it drives me a little insane. It doesn’t matter where we are, she wants to use the bathroom as soon as we arrive (even if she just went 5 minutes earlier). Suddenly I go from a (seemingly) normal, well-adjusted human being to an over the top germaphobe with a strong desire to enclose my child in a plastic bubble. I know I’m not the only one because I can hear the moms in the other stalls freaking out and telling their own children repeatedly not to touch anything. Of course, maybe it’s for that very reason that they want to touch EVERYTHING! Yuck!
3. The whining…need I say more?
Sometimes they’re fine but if my kids are in a store that doesn’t sufficiently excite them, I can only listen to “how much longer”, “when can we go home” or the inevitable “this is SO BORING” before I eventually crack and give up the fight. If you stick it out, good for you…you’re a much stronger person than I am. Plus, I have wine at home!
4. It gets expensive
No matter where you go, kids will ask you to buy them something. It might be a toy at Target, cavity inducing sugary cereal from the grocery store, or even a princess flashlight from Home Depot. Even driving through Starbucks gets expensive for us and it doesn’t matter if I already have snacks and drinks in the car. My 3 year old always want “cow milk” as she calls it (the boxed milk with a picture of a cow) and my oldest has even more expensive tastes…she’s become addicted to the spinach and feta wrap. I’m glad that she likes to eat healthy but those aren’t cheap! Sometimes I’ll go out of my way to drive through Dunkin Donuts instead, just because that’s one of the few places where they rarely ask for anything extra.
5. We can all use a little “Mommy Time”
I love my girls and they are normally very well-behaved. Children in general are just difficult to shop with and don’t we all just need a little time to ourselves on occasion? It makes the time we do spend with them that much more fun and rewarding. I think I’ll leave the girls with my husband while I go out and spend the gift card that he bought me for Mother’s Day. Maybe I’ll even drive through Starbucks on the way! You’re invited to tag along, of course…you need a little “mommy time” too!!!