As a parent, there are a lot of things we’re forced to learn the hard way. Like, how an exception quickly becomes a rule to a child, or how an injury can occur from the most benign source, or how grocery shopping with kids is a special brand of torture.
And I’m bitter about it. Particularly about the last one. Somebody could have at least warned us. We might have been able to better prepare ourselves, bring in reinforcements, or develop an app for that, but noooo. Each one of us is thrust into grocery store grief unaware of the mayhem to come.
The first time we’re required to leave a full cart in aisle five on account of an explosive diaper or tantrum, we fool ourselves into believing things can’t get any worse. But they do. Soon enough, we find ourselves shopping with a hungry kid (or three) on crowded Sunday afternoons with only two aisles open. We shop when there’s only soy sauce packets and stale tortillas in the house despite weather suggesting certain armageddon. We shop when our kids are cranky, exhausted, and sometimes even contagious; all because we need stupid food from the stupid grocery store to stupid survive. Remind me again why there’s not a grocery store daycare center?
Despite the unforeseen and always ridiculous circumstances surrounding grocery shopping with kids, there are chilling constants I’ve grown to depend on. Take a look at 20 things that happen every time I go grocery shopping with kids:
1. Constant complaining.
I don’t want to go!
It’s too cold in here!
This is boring.
I want to go home!
Do we need a lot?
How long is this going to take?
Can I push the cart?
3. Promises, bribes, and lies.
Hang in there, it’ll be quick.
I only need a few things.
If you’re good, maybe you can pick out a treat.
4. Losing one or both of my kids to:
- colorful marketing displays for nutritiously void and expensive kiddie food products promising unparalleled fun with every bite
- food sample tables
- the lobster tank
5. Some kind of dramatic situation involving:
- extreme hunger
- extreme thirst
- extreme need to use the restroom
6. Saying no to purchasing:
- coconuts (always coconuts.)
- candy and/or gum and/or both
- chocolate milk
- novelty straws designed to be worn as eye glasses
- dinosaur or dolphin-shaped sandwich cutters
- anything with a cartoon character on it
- a live lobster
7. Saying no to touching, poking, playing with, or otherwise breathing all over:
- bakery items
- dry goods in barrels boasting fun scooper shovels
8. Getting stuck holding everyone’s sample fork and plastic cup.
9. More questions:
Do you have to read the labels on everything?
We’re having that AGAIN?
Are we almost done?
Why can’t we have this?
10. Heated negotiations in the cereal aisle.
11. Security camera antics.
12. Sending my tween four aisles back to locate an easy-to-find item …
… that he is inevitably unable to locate.