Twenty Six: Shopping with Kids

“The quickest way to know a woman is to go shopping with her.”  – Marcelene Cox

If that is true, then it must also be true that in order to know the limits of this woman’s sanity you must take her shopping with her kids.

I had a gift card that had been burning a hole in my pocket over the last few days, so I packed up the kids and took them shopping. We had two stops before we reached the gift card store, and theoretically I should have been more prudent with my time and kept those stops short. Sometimes I shake my head at myself: I’m 39 and I’ve been a mom for 6 years now. I should know how to balance the need to get out and have a good little shopping session and spending time with my kids.

For the most part, my kids are really sweet and fun in public. We strolled through the thrift store after unloading several bags of donated items. We love thrift stores. They are filled with treasures waiting to be discovered.  My kids know I can lean towards buying ridiculous things, so they don’t think twice about holding up a freakishly-scary clown knick-knack or a dog bowl when we don’t have a dog. (Ahem, there is a reason that Macklemore won a Grammy for “Thrift Shop” tonight; I literally almost bought neoprene kayaking shoes for the Polar Bear Swim I’m going to do 11 months from now.)

My team was already growing weary and snacky in the thrift store, but we had two other stops to make. Arms were grabbing at anything and everything, and wasn’t it reasonable that I should limit how much I  pawed the merchandise. And it all grew much less fun for all of us. We drove over to the shop where I had the gift card, and I was basically like a big gust of wind that blew the kids from one department to the next. I spent out my card and we were on to the last stop, Trader Joes. We had blown making it home in time for lunch and my brood was headed straight for an all-out blowout if I didn’t get them a snack.

Sometimes, I just have to stop where I am and take stock of my attitude. Shifting my perspective is the best thing I can do in most situations to improve things. Now I know this life lesson through and through, but practicing it in the moment can be really tough. I decided to combine this with two other life lessons I know well: one, if me and my kids are grumpy then eat, and two, provide my kids with opportunities to choose. The kids will eat anything from a sample counter; I’m sure I’m not the only parent who has fed their child lunch from the Costco sample counters. They perked up, so I rode this wave of giddiness and offered them the opportunity to choose and carry a snack for later. Bingo! This was now their shopping trip too.

So what have I learned about myself by taking myself shopping? I like to shop alone. I don’t want to be rushed. I need to bulk up on protein beforehand and carry a couple of power bars in my purse. Shopping is a sport, but not a team sport for me.


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