This summer I’ve had to run a majority of my errands with both kids in tow. Target, the grocery store, Trader Joe’s, Home Goods, TJ Maxx (which the kids adorably referred to as “TJ Masks” like our beloved PJ MASKS show), you name it and we’ve probably been there together.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned this summer, it’s that I really need to invest in food delivery.
However, here are some other things I know to be true based upon my vast experience on running errands with two children:
- There is always a cart negotiation. This is the kids’ first bid for ultimate supremacy. Certain kids are perfectly fine to stroll the store holding their mother’s hand gently. Those kids are not my kids. At least not when they’re together. In the beginning of the summer when I was filled with hope and optimism I let them both walk. This lead to me almost being drawn and quartered as each child tried to take off in the opposite direction while I held their hands. Restraint is always best. Wegman’s is great because they actually like riding in the race-car cart. I’ve tried putting Olivia in the stroller when carts aren’t available at other stores but eventually she either jailbreaks out of the thing despite the snacks I throw her way or she stands up inside of it like a victorious King Kong scaling a building.
- There will be eating. Nonstop eating. It doesn’t matter if you run errands immediately after consuming an entire meal of food. Anytime we are somewhere that isn’t our house the kids are hit with a ravenous hunger that needs to be satiated IMMEDIATELY. I stay strapped with snacks but in the grocery store all bets are off. They want everything they see. And by everything I mean anything unhealthy usually begged for when we’re passing someone with the healthiest, organic, free-range cart of all time. Like pizza flavored Pringles. 4YO – “CAN I HAVE PIZZA PRINGLES!”Me- “I’m sorry but we have lots of snacks at home already.” 4YO -“BUT I WANT PRINGLES! THE PIZZA ONES! PLEEEEAAAAAASSSEEEEE!”Me *notices they are on sale and that they would be really delicious* “FINE. But hide them in this bag of kale that we’re not really going to buy.”
- Although not officially diagnosed, I’m fairly certain that both of my children suffer from voice immodulation. We are a deafening crew making our way through the aisles of the stores we frequent. You will hear us before you see us. This gives you ample time to run away.
- Someone will need to go to the bathroom. It will be at the most inopportune time. Like when you’ve just sat down to eat lunch in the Wegman’s cafeteria. You will have to haul the entire crew into the bathroom and scream DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING while your daughter opens the feminine hygiene disposal bin and yells into it to hear her own echo.
- The check-out line is a mirage of successful errand completion. Just when you think you’ve made it, the check-out line with all of its candy right at toddler/preschooler eye level will tempt them more than Boromir and The One Ring (nerd alert high-five if you caught this Lord of the Rings reference!) Look at those dazzling king-sized Kit-Kats! The brightly colored packs of gum! Even though we have 20/20 vision, we need our hands to grab everything in order to see it. I’ve become quite adept at hissing threats under my breath, replacing the multiple candy bars that have fallen on the floor, and putting everything on the conveyor belt. I loathe you, checkout candy display.
- Cashiers can make or break your shopping trip. Generally I’m greeted with a “You have your hands full!” comment followed by a complete lack of eye-contact for the remainder of the transaction. The exception to this rule is Trader Joe’s. TJ, I love your selection of reasonably priced cheeses and your understanding cashiers. You always make small-talk with my kids and hand out stickers that my daughter ends up using to decorate her entire body. Your store is always a safe space for us and I thank you for that.
- When it comes time to pay and you’re almost done, it’s a guarantee that the kids will get into all-out brawls over who can remove the card from the card reader. Like legit hysterics if the other one has the edge and rips the card out. It’s enough to almost make me pay cash. Almost. Momma needs those credit card points to one day plan a kid-free trip.
- You will 100% forget at least one, if not two, items regardless of whether or not you have a list created. You will only realize this once you are in the checkout line and the kids are putting their thumb prints into every candy bar or once you’re in the car. And it will always be the one thing that really prompted you to run to the grocery store in the first place. Leading you to text your husband and explain that despite a $100 grocery bill, he will need to pick up dinner on the way home tonight.
- People are more forgiving than you think. For the most part. One time at the grocery store the kids were making fart noises on their arms and generally causing a spirited ruckus. I was beyond the point of caring when an older woman smiled kindly at me and made a comment that probably was in the “you’ll miss this when they’re older” range. Now, ordinarily these comments make me want to get all Xena Warrior Princess on someone, but when you think your kids are behaving like feral alley cats, it’s a relief to see that someone can see something sweet and endearing in their behavior.