It starts with sunshine and a naively optimistic plan that you’ll be home by 10am with food for the week, have baked cakes by midday, settled everyone down for a home cooked lunch by 1pm and have dinner in the oven shortly after.
It ends at 10:30am with heavy rain, full hands, broken carrier bags, an even more broken soul and screaming children.
Food Shopping with Young Children
I typically shop online. But on the one occasion I chose to go to the supermarket instead, I learned a lot about myself and my sons:
- I should never go to supermarkets with children
- Children should never go to supermarkets with me
- Supermarkets needs to invest in soft play areas (or padded cells)
It Started So Well…
The sun was shining. We were all up and ready and it seemed like today would be a good day to get s**t done. I was going to be a domestic Goddess. I would shop, I would cook, I would clean and by the end of the day they’d be practically begging me to join the Women’s Institute.
So off we skipped to the shops….
The Problems with Supermarkets and Children
It took no more than 15 seconds after getting through the door to realise that supermarkets and young children are fundamentally incompatible. Here’s loosely what happened.
- Mum enters supermarket with baby in sling and toddler walking nicely beside her
- Mum gets a trolley and attempts to sit toddler in it. Toddler is not sitting in a trolley. Not today. Not ever. He makes sure the whole supermarket knows this fact
- Mum decides that in the interests of keeping the peace, toddler can walk around the supermarket. Ha… joke. Mum doesn’t have a choice in the matter. Toddler is walking.
- No, toddler is running. Like a fu**ing maniac… in the direction of the toy cars.
- Toddler is lying on the floor rolling the toy cars up and down and refusing to move
- Mum contemplates whether she can get the food shop done while he lies here and just return to pick him up at the end of it. Decides against that move.
- Mum takes her opportunity, lifts toddler and puts him into trolley seat
- Toddler makes it clear he is unhappy with this
- Mum bribes toddler with some juice, her iPhone and one of the cars he was just playing with. This appears to work
- Mum sods the shopping list and just throws thing at random into her trolley as quickly as is humanly possible, all the while fully expecting another toddler meltdown
- Mum head for the checkout but sees someone she knows. There’s no time to have a conversation today. Toddler time bomb is ticking
- Mum turns and walks in the opposite direction
- Toddler then catches sight of the cafe and no longer has any interest in car or iPhone
- Toddler screams, “CAAAAAKE,” at the top of his voice and threatens complete meltdown should Mum go in any direction other than the cafe
- Mum goes to the cafe, gets a very large espresso and a piece of cake she intends to share with the toddler (the cake for sharing, not the espresso)
- Toddler has other ideas about sharing. By the time Mum has fed baby, cake is gone
- By the time Mum and toddler return to trolley, frozen food is defrosting but it’s tough
- Toddler has meltdown about being put back in trolley. iPhone bribery fails
- Mum checks out in a haze of bag stuffing and screaming
- Baby joins in screaming chorus
- Mum gets outside. It’s pouring down. She’s parked at the other side of the car park.
- NOW the toddler wants carrying. Obviously.
The Moral of the Story
Mum will always be doing her food shopping online. Always. Forever. And if, one day, the Internet dies and Mum can’t do her food shopping online anymore, then she’ll be shopping at midnight when the children are in bed.