So last Sunday, while visiting during church potluck, one of my friends asked if my youngest would be starting Kindergarten in the fall in which I replied with a devilish grin, "Yeesss," then, "I'm freeeee!" I clarified that I still will be a bawling idiot when I'm kidless all day but I mentioned that my freedom to go grocery shopping and run errands. alone will be SO cool after 12 years of hauling at least one, sometimes three small offspring with me at all times.
The moms then started reminiscing about the day they finally didn't have to take kids with them to the local Super Store, and how WONDERFUL that feeling was. To roam around the aisles with no time limit and no child to keep content, is a luxury many take for granted, unless you're a mom with little kids. I can remember SO many awful trips to the big box grocery store back when my girls were little. I developed a theory years ago, that if those big box grocery stores would offer drop-off daycare while the moms shopped, they'd add 10 percent to their yearly profits. Either that, or offer every mom with small kids some sort of stress-free beverage or relaxant pill as soon as they hit the front door. Whichever.
I remember when my oldest was just a baby, and realizing after a few disastrous trips to the store with her, that my grocery ventures were going to take a little more planning. I couldn't just go whenever I felt like it, or I took the chance she'd be screaming bloody murder the whole time. I'd have to make sure she'd eaten, had fresh britches and was a tad on the sleepy side, praying she'd nap while I shopped. Since babies like to change up that schedule on you every other day, I never was sure what time of day I'd make it to the store. Then once I made my move to the store, nine times out of 10, I couldn't find a close parking space so had to lug that giant, stinkin' babyseat, that felt like it was 103 pounds, clear from end of the parking lot which I'm sure was at least three miles from the front door.
Then there was no dilly-dallying either. I knew I only had probably a good hour before she'd wake up or need held. Of course, there was always that surprise diaper bomb that often interrupted the shopping trip too. Nothing like towing a full cart back to the front of the store, locate the restroom, ditch the full cart temporarily, haul the 200 pound car seat and diaper bag into the restroom, clean the changing table, unstrap the baby, change the baby and then haul everything back out and shove it all back into the cart, wasting at least 20 minutes and burning about 45 calories.
However, I realized taking one baby to the store was a picnic, once I had a toddler AND a baby. THAT was a whole new event. First of all, if a young mom wants a good workout, just take both little ones grocery shopping. From start to finish, it beats any spin class or cardio boot camp. The only negative about that workout is the huge levels of stress it causes to the brain.
I REALLY had to plan for those trips. Just to go the dumb grocery store required snack and drinks for the toddler to keep her occupied, bottles for the baby, diaper bag with diapers for the baby and in my case, diapers for the toddler too. Of course tons of wipes for both children, extra clothes for each girl in case of blowouts or accidents, and some toys or books to entertain. Heaven forbid you try and add coupons to that mix.
Anyways, I remember having to gear up mentally to take these challenges on and of course try to plan them early in the day but only after they ate and NEVER during or near a nap time. Thank goodness stores started using those massive, semi-truck length carts with extra seats up front for little kids. Those were a miracle. Before that I had to somehow and safely put both the baby seat and my toddler in the cart, and then find some room left for groceries without burying a child. The semi-truck carts helped a lot but again, just added more weight to the workout I got by pushing 378 pounds through the aisles.
I don't know what it was either, but it seemed we couldn't get through the shopping trip without my oldest daughter dumping her snacks. Every trip I'd make sure to bring her a baggie full of either cheerios or goldfish to keep her occupied, and it seemed every stinkin' time, she'd dump it. I remember clearly telling her at the beginning of each trip, "Please, don't spill your snacks!" It never failed, though, as I would be turned away scanning the shelves, I'd hear the sound of a thousand, little cheerios hitting the tile floor. Then I'd have to use my feet to sweep them under the aisles so the next shopper didn't have to come crunching through the heap of cereal. Of course, the bawling would commence because snack was gone. Geesh!
If I was fortunate enough to complete the shopping trip, which some days we bailed prematurely due to little ones who lost their minds, then I had to face the exit procedure. I never knew parking lots had so much slope to them until I had to maneuver a ginormous cart packed to the gills with two babies and $200 worth of groceries out to my truck parked clear in New Guinea. The winter days with the wind blowing and ice really added to the fun. I remember being flat out exhausted once we got home, but still had to haul everyone and everything in and then put it all away. Good times!
By the time the third daughter came along, I made a point to rarely take all three unless Hubby was there to assist. Each time I did take all three, I vowed NEVER EVER to do that again. Totally not worth the headache. But ... before I know it, my baby will start Kindergarten and I'll have all the kid-free grocery shopping I can stand! Finally!