Monday, October 15, 2007

Why I try to never take them out in public. Ever.

You know those parents; those sick, twisted, masochistic parents, who turn a simple trip to the grocery store into educational and high-quality family time? You know who I’m talking about? The ones where the husband AND wife AND the kids go to the store together, and each parent pushes a buggy containing a kid or two, with the wife giving the husband instructions on which kind of peanut butter or breakfast cereal or dishwashing detergent to select …. Or worse, the moms who are in the produce section, helping their toddlers learn their colors by “Ok, little Johnny, point to the RED apples … good! Now point to the GREEN apples … excellent!” Or helping them learn their numbers by opening up the egg cartons and counting to twelve together --- you know the ones I’m talking about, don’t you? Those parents who believe every situation is a learning opportunity?

I am not one of those parents.

I am the mom who, if we were to run out of toilet paper at the house, and I had recently been diagnosed with a bladder infection, and I had to choose between taking my kids with me to the store to buy lovely, fluffy Charmin, or using folded up cheap, generic, tree-bark paper towels, I would use the paper towels.

I am the mom who waits until dad comes home from work, so he can stay home with the kids and then goes grocery shopping by herself in the evening. I am the mom who will gladly give up a Saturday afternoon so I can go to the commissary by myself, while the kids are again home with dad. I’ve never understood couples who go to the store TOGETHER --- what is up with that? If the husband is off work, then he can stay home and watch the kids. I can get the entire shopping trip done in less time, for less money, and with a WHOLE lot less frustration, if I just go by myself. It probably helps that Blaine feels about the grocery store like I feel about Auto Zone. Or total body waxing. No, thanks. Forget that quality time nonsense. Quality time is a picnic in the park, or family game night, or a bike ride together ---- not scurrying your buggy past the cookie aisle hoping your kids won’t notice and start whining and clamoring and begging for mint-flavored Oreos.

I am the mom who, if meeting friends at McDonalds for a playdate, will go through the drive through to buy the Happy Meals, then get out and carry the food in with me. Because standing in line with all three kids, waiting on them to make their selection, and then trying to pay for my order, fill the soda cups, carry the trays, squirt the ketchup, and balance the shoes they’ve abandoned in their gleeful sprint for the play-land, seriously gives me hives.

When we lived in Ohio, I discovered the best invention ever: drive-through liquor stores. I would go once or twice a week after our morning playdates. Not because being a stay at home mom to three kids under the age of two drove me to drink … often ... or a lot ... normally I didn’t drink until **at least** 2pm, that was my rule. But the drive through liquor stores in Ohio also sold MILK by the gallon --- GENIUS for someone like me who would rather stab myself in the eye with a rusty fork than take a newborn, a one year old, and a two year old into the grocery store. Shoot, it would take so long to get them in and out of their car seats the milk would have expired anyway. But drive through liquor stores? Brilliant.

Even now that they can manage the seat belts on their own, I try to avoid taking them to stores. Maybe when they’re older, and it’s important to teach them the proper way to grocery shop, I’ll take them one at a time for instruction. Otherwise, let me zip in, get what’s on my list, and zip out again, without them bugging me. That’s my motto. It might be a selfish one, but it works for me.

Yesterday I had to fill a prescription at Eckerds and had two of the three kids with me. Eckerds has a drive through, but I needed a few other items as well, so I reluctantly took them in with me ---- because no matter how much I hate dragging them with me, I’m not about to leave them in the car unattended. I might be willing to do that, oh, say, maybe when they’re 30.

So I was standing in line at the pharmacy, waiting to be helped, while Brayden and Kellen played with the automatic arm pressure cuff machine that measures blood pressure. And they were giggling, and getting along, and not bothering anyone, and not pestering me to buy candy or toys, and I began to chastise myself for being so impatient. And cranky. They’re good kids … well-behaved …. I should just take them more often … it’s not such a big deal, right? I looked around, feeling good about my kids’ behavior, not really paying attention, and then realized they had wandered off. Well, they knew better than to go far, so I wasn’t worried.

Then, a moment later, I heard peals of laughter coming from the next aisle, and then a young boy’s voice, suspiciously familiar, exclaiming loudly: “Beano!!! Beano!!! Helps control gas! You know what that means??? It keeps you from FARTING!!!” and then more hysterical shrieking laughter.

The lady in line behind me just looked at me, and yep, you know exactly what I did. Pretended like I had no idea who they were, gazed around, whistling innocently, and made a mental note to see if Blaine is available to watch them on Saturday so I can go grocery shopping alone.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Absolutely brilliant to have a drive through store that sells milk. I wish we had one near us. With DH traveling a lot and especially when Marielle was neutropenic, oh heck, who am I kidding, even when she isn't, to get milk and not have to get out of the car would be heaven.

Marie
www.caringbridge.org/visit/marielle

Anonymous said...

We share similar shopping philosophies!!! Glad my kids are not the only ones acting up!
Claire in TX

Kim said...

Im with you, totally dont get the "family shopping adventure" deal. Too many people clog up the aisles, making it a pain for people like me - who are in a hurry.

When my kids go to the store with me, Im constatly telling them, "get behind me, stay BEHIND my cart." It drives me crazy when they start going wild in the aisles, getting in everyone's way, and getting run over - mostly by my cart.

Lauren said...

OK, so I'm one of those moms who has taken my kids to the store most of their lives. The way we share parenting and work schedules, going alone always meant going on Sunday--our only day off together (or really late at night). It's worked out for us, mostly. They behave pretty well overall. But there WAS one time...

Norah was almost two. Young enough to be in the cart seat the whole time--if I was smart. Fergus was walking nicely with me, Norah was in the seat, and we saw a childless friend. I said hello the first pass by. Then we were passing her again, and Norah was wailing. Sudden frantic tantrum-y wailing. I murmured to her and kept looking up, offering a cheery smile to my friend. Kept walking. Norah kept yelling. So I looked down, and there I was pushing a cart with my skinny two year old daughter hanging out one of the leg holes, pretty much by her neck and one arm. Nice. She stopped crying--for help!--as soon as I rescued her. Feeling awful, I let her get out and the kids sat on this little park bench Shaws has at the beginning of the meat aisle. I didn't walk away, but I was putting meat from one section in the cart. Suddenly, there was Norah--she scampered up the ill-placed bench and was standing proudly--in the meat.

After that day, we did take a "family shopping" sabbatical for a few weeks.

Lauren
www.caringbridge.org/vt/fergus

Olivia said...

No kids here, but my husband and I always shop together. Shortly after we were married, I made a trip to the store by myself after work and he was disappointed because he likes to go with me. It can take longer, but at least I'm not the only one responsible if we forget something.

Renee said...

I don't get the family shopping either. Ends up being a bigger grocery bill.

I'm waiting for the day they open a drive-through post office. I loved the drive through dry cleaners in WR. I'm lazy.... was great though with the kids.

LIBSMOM said...

Oops. Was I supposed to teach them the "proper" way to grocery shop BEFORE they moved out?
I'm a regular customer at the "beverage barn" drive thru. I'll gladly pay double the price for a gallon of milk to avoid the whole crew coming in to Publix with me.

The Running Girl said...

At least they were just yelling "farting" and not actually doing it. That would be my son! I guess I'm the lucky one in that my husband is the grocery shopper in our family. The only time we "family shop" is if we really need something, we are already out and we happen to pass by the store.
Briana

Alice said...

Actually, I would have probably been laughing with them, too. I guess some of us never grow up!

MarlaCharles said...

I found your blog from Kim's and I have to say I love your parenting/shopping techniques. I was blogging about alcohol fantasies before 8am this morning.

Marla

WendyK said...

I love it! I am one of those crazy moms who turns a shopping trip into and educational experience, but then I homeschool my kids, so what else would you expect LOL. Taking the hubby and family time, uh, no. My kids go nearly everywhere with me, but that is just me. I do wish that we could get everything at a drive through though. Walgreens should let us pick up milk at the prescription window.

www.caringbridge.org/visit/kadenkilburn

lizinsumner said...

Well, I only have one child, so - I take him in with me. After all, if I went by myself, I wouldn't get to hear the lovely, constant whining and moaning over the fact that he doesn't have a Wii!! Evidently, the Nintendo 64, Gamecube, PS2, 3 different Gameboys and the PSP don't count.....

Anonymous said...

You know what I don't get? Those parking spots that are "Reserved for Expectant Moms." WTF? How about "Reserved for Moms with more than one car seat?" Infact, I contend that if you have more than one car seat, you're "Handicapped" and should be able to park in those spots!

Anonymous said...

oh - forgot to sign my post (about the Handicapped parking spaces).

--Patti in NJ

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right about the whole shopping alone thing! My kids often went with me but I always had a much more peaceful trip and could actually THINK when I went alone. My husband hates to shop so he was always more than happy to have an excuse to stay home. The problem with shopping with him, is that he buys everything in BULK. One time, we were having some couples over for dinner. I called my husband on his way home from work to see if he could stop on his way home to pick up some "sanitary items" for me because I couldn't leave the house (people arriving, food cooking, etc). "Sure, no problem." My husband got home, walked through the company and straight into the kitchen to hand me a CASE of tampons! Who knew that they came in boxes that big?!

Anonymous said...

At least you still go to the grocery store- my dear, stay-at-home-dad husband has found a new way to shop so he doesn't have to take the baby in with him. He goes online and does the order, then 4 hrs later he pulls up to the express lane and gives his name, they load the groceries and he pulls off! Can't get much easier!

Trish
Leesburg, VA

cakeburnette said...

LOL...this is exactly why I always hired a babysitter so I could go commissary shopping alone when Mark was TDY/deployed!

Melissa in CA said...

LOL! I love it! I try to shop alone as much as possible! I don't have kids (yet), but leave the man at home ~ he is no help at all in figuring out what to have for dinner, but we always spend more when he's with me. I love the drive through liquor store too. Wish I had one around here. Not because I have kids, but just because I'm lazy & I wouldn't have to put my make up on or even take off my PJs!

Dawn said...

Could have been worse. They could have discovered the condom aisle.

Anonymous said...

I agree that shopping alone is best! We rarely do family shopping. Usually my husband drops me off and I walk home or to meet him. He can't even wait 10 minutes for me! The last time we went as a family, I turned around and he (clearly the instigator) was swinging our 10 year old around in circles in the middle of the grocery store. After he and the two kids were climbing all over each other, the shelves, racing, etc. I told him that I felt like I was shopping with monkeys. His response was "yeah, look at these kids!" Also, if my husband is with me he tries to talk me out of buying everything reminding me that we're on a budget! I then justify the cookies...for the kids (but really I hide them when I get home so I can indulge and don't have to share!)

Prinny

mom25in5 said...

The last time I took all my kids shopping at the same time I was walking into Walmart - and my kidlets were 5, 3, 1, 6 months & 6 months. She asked me if I ran a daycare. Yup, I shop alone...or on date night...God bless 24 hour Walmart.

Kim

Grandma J said...

When my kids were young I would trade off watching kids with my neighbor. I never took my four little ones to the market. When the ads for sugared cereal and pop tarts came on TV I sadly told them our grocery stores didn't have them. I gave them hope by telling them that I talk to the manager about it every week.

The last few years, before I moved to TX, I would order on-line. The delivery fee was very minimal and they always had certain windows of delivery that were free. You could "shop" by aisle or "this week's specials". They even let you know if coupons were available. If you ordered produce they sent the best. I loved it. The delivery guys were not allowed to take tips either. Wish we had that here in TX.

Amanda J. said...

Oh I used to love going to the grocery store with my mom! It was fun spending time with her like that. I was pretty well behaved and never caused any trouble. Don't have any kids of my own but hubby and I always go grocery shopping together. I don't drive so it's either him going by himself or us both going. And, since we do our grocery shopping at Walmart, if I let him do it by himself, he'd come home with no food and a stack of video games. So...I really go out of necessity. lol.

Anonymous said...

No family shopping here either! No way! Like you, I prefer to go it alone. Not with my 3 kids and certainly not with my husband too. As a matter of fact, just today I used a paper towel because we were fresh out of toilet paper. When my husband arrived from work, I made a mad dash to the store for toilet paper and yep, milk.

Steph Jochim said...

Too funny! I would love to have the same shopping attitude as you but I live in the middle of no where. We live 60 miles from the nearest grocery store so I usually have at least a couple of my six kids with me when I shop. Maybe someday I will move and I can go shopping alone!

Steph
www.caringbridge.org/nd/josh

lizinsumner said...

Just had a flashback about going grocery shopping with my mother when I was your kids' age....we had these stores (gone now, thankfully!!) called Prairie Markets - they were cheaper because you had to use grease pens to mark the merchandise yourself with the price and then you had to bag/box everything yourself at checkout. This was long before Costco, WalMart, true bulk-buying, etc., etc. We used to go on Saturdays (my mother worked full time during the week); needless to say, I HATED IT!!!!!!!!!! And, got to say, loved the dead-pan comment about the condom aisle!!!!!

Patty House, Jasonville, IN said...

LOL! I prefer to shop alone too although I RARELY go alone. I do usually get to go with only 1 child...while the other is still in school and Thank Goodness she can't read the Beano bottle or know that it's for farting!