Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My Grocery Shopping Evolution

The other day I had the rare privilege of going to the grocery store with just one child. ONE. This cutie right here:
And it got me thinking. Wow have I evolved in the whole "taking kids to the grocery store" thing. Because the whole time I kept thinking how easy and fun it was to just have Eli with me at the store. There was a time I thought taking a baby with me to the grocery store was the HARDEST THING EVER. 

 (note: this is MY story. I'm not saying anything about anyone else's experiences or making a statement about the hardness of a certain number of children. Just telling how it's gone down here in the evolution of having 3 kids in the past 4 years.)

Let's start with before I had kids.
Grocery Shopping Before Kids:
I dressed in a cute outfit- you never know who you might see at the store! I grumbled at the long car trip between stores. Must hit all the grocery stores in town to get the best deals at each one! I breezed through the aisles- haphazardly filling my list because why remember that noodles are in aisle seven with the tomato sauce when I can go back to the aisle multiple times- making sure I saw and capitalized on every deal possible? I had a file folder of coupons that balanced on the front of my cart. I had a specific, organized meal list with a plan for each item. I checked out- no rush! I argued with the cashier when he overcharged me .05 on some cereal. Yay! I saved $49 and spent $51. I am a rock star! I leisurely loaded my groceries back up. I neatly parked my cart back in the cart station and then headed home. Maybe hubs would be there to unload them for me? No? Life is so hard!!!! I made an elaborate, homemade meal for dinner that night.

Grocery Shopping With One Kid:
I dressed in a semi cute outfit but put Addison in the CUTEST outfit. You never know who might gush over her adorableness in the store! I grumbled at the long car trip between stores because I couldn't see her very well and I wanted to make sure that her breathing position was optimal in her car seat. I breezed through the aisles- haphazardly filling my list because my baby sat sweetly in her carseat and snoozed with the motion of the cart. I got most of the deals possible. I had a small stack of coupons that I carried in my wallet. I LOVED strangers to notice MY BABY and comment on her. OF COURSE SHE'S THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BABY EVER- THANK YOU FOR NOTICING! I checked out- slightly impatient because she might wake up if I stalled for too long. I mentioned to the cashier that he charged me .55 too much but didn't make a big deal of it. Yay! I saved $20 and spent $75! I am a rock star! I loaded my groceries after positioning Addison back carefully in her seat. I take the cart back to the cart station, but I hurry. Precious cargo in the car! Maybe hubs would be home to unload the groceries for me? No? Well, I've had worst days. I made a homemade dinner- nothing too elaborate.

Grocery Shopping With Two Kids:

I dressed in clothes that sort of fit and were mostly clean. The kids were attired in perfectly clean, seasonally appropriate clothes. On a lucky day they might be even matching. I cut out the long car trip between stores and only went to one store- the one with double carts where you can buy in BULK to maximize each trip. I breezed through the aisles with a specific list per aisle- no time to dawdle when both children suddenly turned into octopuses who liked to grab random objects from each shelf. At any given moment one child might be sitting peacefully in the cart, but the other one would be trying to dive out on his head. And then the one you thought was happy might start screaming just as the diving one finally settled down. Forget coupons. I barely remembered my wallet. I loathed the constant "Are they twins?" comments and started keeping track of them as a "Mommy just earned another piece of chocolate when we get home" sort of deal. I checked out in a huge rush. I couldn't look at each item's price as it was rung up because just then one child started choking the other. I spent $100 and got five items. Awesome. I loaded my groceries after getting two wiggling kids back in their seats while both were screaming because "HE'S STILL IN THE CART WHY DO I HAVE TO GET IN THE CAR!" and "YOU PUT HER IN THE CAR FIRST NO FAIR." I was afraid my cart of groceries will roll away while doing so so I held onto the cart with my ankle while maneuvering small bodies behind buckles. I leaft the car on and quickly give the cart a shove toward the direction of the cart station. Maybe hubs will be home to unload groceries for me? Oh well, I figured out I can put the groceries on the back deck, bring in and secure children in the house, and then retrieve the groceries the rest of the way. I make a super simple dinner- boil hotdogs, dump chips in bowl.

Grocery Shopping With Three Kids:
I get in the car and double check to make sure I'm dressed. Stained tank top and second day worn workout pants? Bring it. Three children are all buckled in, miraculously dressed, and QUIET behind me. I drive in long circles to the store because the silence is so amazing and refreshing. I find I need a detailed transition plan just to get us from the car TO the double grocery carts. Infant seat- check- two toddlers- check. Wait- where do the groceries go? I had a great meal list, but I forgot it at home. I throw random items into the cart as we fly through the store at a breakneck speed to keep all the toddlers entertained and happy whilst convincing the infant of the miracle that is sleep. "Sit down Carter!" "Stop crying Addison!" "NO DON'T THROW THAT ON THE BABY!" Wait…you need to breastfeed RIGHT NOW? When a stranger approaches me with questions, I throw one of my "Yes-my-hands-are-very-full" and "Yes-they-are-all-mine" business cards their way. I get to the checkout and pay the entire year's grocery budget on all the items that were on the end caps. What exactly CAN you make with toilet paper, baking soda, and salsa? I don't make eye contact with the cashier lest she comment on the new blobs of toddler-Costco-sample smeared all over my shirt and muddy thighs from where children constantly kicked me for the past half hour. I sprint out to the car with the cart because they all randomly started screaming right when the most people were around us. I get an entire workout in finagling them into their seats while the full cart drifts away into oncoming traffic. I grab as many items from the cart as time allows before a toddler starts beating up the newborn in the car. I leave cart where it randomly rolls. Beaded with sweat and exhausted, I get back into the driver's seat- and realize that I left an item that I paid for back at the cash register. I drive away. We arrive home. I park in my driveway, lean back, and pray for the rapture to come before I have to unload the car. Peek open my eyes- still all here. I take fifteen trips to the back deck while the car runs and children whine over the fun music I left on for them. I unload children and drag them to the house because they are exhausted and "Go to the house NOT the road" is a mean, horrible command that only parents who hate their children give. I finish bringing in the food. I wipe the sweat off my brow. I order pizza.

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