Guess what I did today! That’s right – I carted myself to the store. And it really got me thinking how going to the store seems like such a simple task, but when you really break it down, it’s quite a hefty task.
So I wanna catalog all it takes for a mom to go to the store. Why? Because there’s so much more to it than just going to the store. And if a mom ever says she went to a store, I don’t want anyone to think, “Oh, that’s it??”.
Before she even gets to the store…
She has to make a list. This involves going through the house and checking all supplies: toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, toiletries, clothes, etc. It can also potentially involve keeping the family’s calendar in mind, in case she needs to pick up anything for an upcoming event, such as a toy/card for a birthday party or a container for some baked goods to send to work with her husband.
Oh, and if she likes to get ready before going out in public and still has small children, she’ll likely wake up 30-60 minutes earlier than usual so she can get ready in peace. Ya know, without her toddler trying to get into all her lipsticks and begging for some dry shampoo.
Oh yeah – then she has to get any kids ready. Whether she’s taking kids to the store or sending them off to school, kids still need to be ready, right? Getting kids ready to leave the house is a task in itself: feeding breakfast, getting changed, combing crazy hair, wiping faces, brushing teeth, putting on socks and shoes, etc. And God forbid if her toddler is in an independent phase and insists on putting on their socks and shoes themselves!
When she arrives at the store…
She has to scope out prime parking. I personally always try to park near a cart return. My BFF has two younger kids so her goal is always to park as close as humanly possible. And don’t even get me started on trying to find shade for parking during the Phoenix summer…
As she’s parking, she’s probably mentally preparing herself for her time in the store if she’s bringing children with her.
Here’s a short snippet of what goes on in my head:
“Whew, okay, Clementine is probably not going to want to sit in the cart quietly. She’s more than likely going to want to be free and roam around, which means she’ll be grabbing stuff off the shelves and I’ll be calling her name every 3.4 seconds. I could buy her a little treat to bribe her into the cart, but sometimes that doesn’t even work… Oh man, how many people are going to stop me to chat about Clementine today? I hope the check-out lines aren’t too long – Clementine hates to wait…”
Depending on her specific child(ren), she may have similar or varying thoughts and concerns.
When she gets into the store…
It’s only been 12 seconds and she’s probably called her kids’ names like 17 times each. Especially during this time of year when every aisle seems to be overflowing with toys.
As she begins shopping from her list, she becomes hyper aware of prices and their tight budget. She may spend several minutes doing math in her head (while trying to keep tabs on her wandering toddler) to make sure she gets the best deal. It took me like seven minutes to calculate the fact that the 10-pack of socks was the cheapest per sock. It’s possible she finds an end-cap with an item she needs, but still wanders into that specific aisle to make sure she’s paying a fair price.
She’ll stop at least once to exchange polite words with an elderly person. The elderly person means well and just wants to compliment her kid, but in the mean time her toddler has turned the corner down a different aisle and disappeared. Or has started throwing stuff into the cart.
While she’s walking the aisles, she’s continuously praying that none of her kids will have to use the restroom while there. Or, if she’s currently pregnant, she’s praying she won’t have to use the restroom. It’s like a constant loop that’s playing in her brain.
At check-out, the toddler is more than ready to go and at her most impatient. She’ll put her kid in the cart to at least keep them corralled, but the check-out aisles are so narrow that her toddler can basically grab everything: magazines, chapstick, gum, mints, headphones, etc. This is usually where the most yelling happens – the unreasonable toddler is extremely upset that mom keeps pulling things out of their hands. Strangers look on disapprovingly.
Oh, she was like $5-$10 over budget but has too much pride to put anything back and now feels like a failure.
When she gets back to the car…
She has to unload all the bags into the back of the car, load all the kids up, make sure everyone is buckled safely, and return the cart. Because, surely, if she doesn’t return the cart, a single man will call her out on it while not offering to just return it for her. This is precisely why I always try to park next to a cart return.
The car ride home usually involves ripping into any foods she purchased to appease her children-turned-wild-animals. She’s throwing snacks over her shoulder, praying a single morsel makes it into the mouth of her child so they’ll be quiet for the four seconds it takes them to chew.
When she finally gets back home…
The real work begins, if you can believe it. She unbuckles her kids and starts to unload the car. Maybe she has an older child that helps. Or maybe she has a younger child that threatens to run into the middle of the road. Unless it is absolutely perfect, the weather will pose some sort of problem here. Either muddy snow, puddles, scorching heat, rain, wind – all some sort of problem. She probably trips over her kid at least three times while unloading the car.
Whew – finally everything is inside. Her toddler has already taken off their socks and shoes and abandoned them in the middle of the walk way for her to trip over again.
As she unbags everything, she sorts it by where it needs to be put away. At this point her kid is ravenous and needs a snack this very second. She’ll stop what she’s doing to prepare the snack her kid asked for and then again to prepare another snack when the toddler changes their mind.
She begins to unpackage everything. She questions why kids pajamas and socks are clipped into their packaging in six different spots. Everything is finally out of bags and their packaging and ready to be put away. Depending on the items she purchased, she may have some work ahead of her.
- New socks for the toddler need to be paired up, the old socks need to be tossed out, and the new socks need to be put away.
- So do the new jammies.
- She’ll need to rotate any toiletries, replacing old, empty containers with new products.
- Trash can is now full, so she’ll take that out.
- Maybe she purchased a new child-proofing mechanism that now needs to be installed.
- She finally purchased some supplies to implement a new organizational system in their house, and she’ll take time to organize a space in their house for that.
- Toddler gets hold of a plastic bag and she has to wrestle it away from them.
- She bought some of those nifty Command hooks for her new Norwex cleaning supplies and now needs to hang those up.
Oh, and while she was doing all this, guess what her toddler was doing! Yupp – destroying the house. Mine likes to violently stab a piece of paper and pierce it with holes and then rip it into 33 pieces.
When everything is finally done…
She’ll plop down on the couch and realize she forgot an item.