Grocery shopping is a nightmare.

I don’t do it often, but on occasional I become so delusional that I believe I can manage grocery shopping with 2 small kids. Grocery shopping with my little heathens is clearly well outside the scope of my parenting abilities. It’s been proven to me every time I attempt it. And for some stupid reason, I keep coming back for more.

My grocery shopping experience has 4 stages:

  • Over-confidence: As we pull up to the store, children smiling, sippy cups in hand, Starbucks in tow, I’m feeling pretty good. This is usually the point where I’m telling myself a number of lies, centered around the fact that past failures were just a fluke. We’re going to be just fine today. -Insert eye roll so heavy I can see my brain- As we enter the store with my list in hand, cart chock-full of small people, and hair quickly reaching homeless-level dishevelment just from the sheer effort of wrestling both kids from a car seat and into a cart, I begin seeing my flaw. This is where step two comes in.
  • Errors have been made: My toddler is tearing up all the things I put in the cart, or handing them up to her baby sister to gnaw violently on, while she lets out her first of many war cries. I soon realize this is not going to work, and that said toddler will need to walk. Remember, it will be FINE. Let’s get her on the floor. “No, wait, don’t slam that man’s cart into his own shin! Please don’t run to the next aisle! Put that back on the shelf! That’s not ours, hand that back to the woman you stole it from, please! Don’t eat that off the floor! Don’t lick the floor, either! You have to go potty again?!” Why didn’t I bring a carrier? Why didn’t I foresee this? How many mistakes must I make? Why does the baby cry at the worst possible time? Great, she pooped her pants.
  • F*!k this: This is about the time that I start making statements likeĀ “If you can’t be nice, we can’t get your chocolate almond milk” or “Fine, then we’re putting it all back and leaving with nothing”. This is literally the most stupid thing I’ve ever said, because anyone who knows me (my own kids included) knows I refuse to leave that store until everything I need is in my cart. I’m just not capable of walking away from work I’ve already done. So they call my bluff. Again and again and again. And I make weak threats that no one gives two sh!ts about. And then I rage-weep, and I walk through the aisles, corralling my monsters and ignoring hateful stares while L piles unnecessary crap into the cart, that I’ll eventually need to re-route to return to it’s home.
  • I’m never, ever doing this again: When we get to the cart, no less than 5 hours from the time we arrived, looking broken, feeling pretty butthurt/murderous, I vow, THIS will be the end. THIS was the last straw. THIS is the lesson I needed. Now I just need to get us home in a route that bypasses anything that MIGHT sell chicken nuggets. As I do so, I convince myself that no matter how hungry we are, it can wait the 8 hours of my husband’s work shift. This IS the last time.

 

I’m not a particularly stupid person, so I rarely take my kids to the store with me if I can avoid it. But I might be a little crazy, because I keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. I’m at the point where I’m unsure if I’ll ever be able to take them into public places before they reach adulthood. It seems unlikely.

I’ve heard it before, and every time it’s been said to me, I laugh hysterically in my head at it, that if you just keep taking them out, they eventually learn to behave in public. Based on my experiences, my children level up in ridiculousness each time we pull into a Kroger parking lot. So, to those of you who look like hot messes in the grocery store… Solidarity. It’s all I have to offer. And those of you who pretend to have your crap together, please don’t judge the rest of us when we look like fools. Best wishes to my fellow parents trying not to fall apart in a Giant Eagle.

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5 things ALL parents do.

In lieu of the normal “x things y-style parents do”, I’ve decided to be a bit more inclusive. Because as parents, we all need the daily struggles and triumphs to unite us. This is a crazy hard club to be in, and it gets even harder when you try to fit into groups and realize you may have fallen short.

So without further ado… The 5 things every parent will do before their babies grow up.

 

  1. Count down to bedtime. A day with your kids is rife with triumphs and joys and reasons to smile. But sometimes, you need to countdown to bedtime. And when it finally arrives, it’s perfect okay to breathe a sigh of relief that the day has come to an end. Because with kids, things can get downright Alice in Wonderland crazy sometimes.
  2. Go insane. Some days call for it. Maybe you woke up to a poop painting on the wall, or your kiddo is throwing a tantrum because you won’t let them climb the chimney, or you’re just feeling touched out. You will feel on the brink of sanity sometimes. Often (or maybe that’s me). It’s okay. Don’t sign yourself up for a padded room just yet. It’s just a small part of your life with kids. It will pass. And come again. But the important part is that it isn’t constant.
  3. Fail. Every parent on the face of this earth WILL fail some days. Maybe not at an entire day. Or maybe at everything. It’s okay. If you haven’t had a day like this yet, rest assured that it will come, and you will move past it. You’ll grow stronger in your failures. It’s okay not to be the perfect parent. Your children will grow up loving you more knowing that you go through the same things as they do, and they’ll be better people as well. It’s okay to show your flaws.
  4. Grow. Whether you had your kids at 18, before your life really even started, or at 40, after you’ve had many life experiences, parenting will help you grow. It’s completely different from anything you might have done before. Parenting is a hard job. A usually thankless job. It has it’s ups and downs. It can threaten to break you or lift you up in ways you never knew before. It’s a lesson in humility and patience. It forces you into being a bigger, stronger, smarter person than you may have been before children. It’s a beautiful ride, and it has some really beautiful consequences, too.
  5. Love. Parenting is the ultimate test in love. You’ll love every day. At the best and worst times. You’ll love more than you knew you could. And if you have multiples, you’ll multiply that love when you weren’t sure you could. You’ll love from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep. And while they’re sleeping and you’re staring at their little faces, you’ll be certain this love is going to smother you with it’s greatness. You’ll love your children until they’re old and gray, no matter what, because you’re a good parent, and you’re doing a great job (remember that. Even if no one is telling you, just remember that).

 

No matter whether you’re young or old, have 1 kid or 15, no matter where you come from or how you were raised, you’ll go through it all. Because it’s all just part of this crazy, maddening, amazing, beautiful journey. And when it’s all over (it’s never really over), you’ll be a better person for all of it. So when you’re having a bad day, remember to give yourself some grace, and know that everyone else is going through all the same things.