Anyone who thinks it’s easy to shop with three small children has probably never gone shopping with three small children. My kids are an obstacle course of tears, whines, the touching of ALL the things and conspiring to overthrow my reign — and we haven’t even hit the store yet.
This is just in the parking lot.
Kids don’t care when you’re in a hurry. They fight about who gets to sit in the grocery cart just the same. Surviving the store? Well, that requires some creativity. First up: choose a store where you can get EVERYTHING on your list (heyyyyy Walmart, hey). Then it’s go time!
Here’s how I do it.
1. The Bribe
Yes, I bribe them. Judge me if you must, but call me when you’ve got three. Once I bribe the kids to settle down, we enter the store together. I don’t have a list but I know the layout like the back of my eyelids so I’ve got this DOWN.
2. The Race
Time to speedwalk! We hit up every section like I’m training for the Olympics. First, I grab groceries and some complex carbs that I promised the kids they could have in the car if they could hold it together while we shop. Then, we’re off to the races.
3. The Essentials First
Living without diapers isn’t a choice. So, next, I hit up the baby section. I grab diapers, wipes, and sippy cups. Sometimes I’ll grab a small toy to distract my toddler but I hide it under the diapers. This is a preemptive strategy for checkout line survival. Shiny objects = winning the store trip when you’re only a few feet from the exit.
4. Replacing The Stuff That Doesn’t Fit
Because I’m apparently feeding my kids a diet that causes gigantism, we need new clothes for the big kids already. Again. We grab shirts, pants, socks, and underwear. You know, the essentials so I don’t send the kids to preschool naked — and we won’t be able to find any of it in three days, because this is my life now. Everything vanishes.
5. The Brain Food
Then we grab some books for the kids in hopes the older ones will eventually teach the youngest one to read. (I’ve already offered them a cash reward if they’re able to potty train him before I have to, but that’s a whole other story.)
6. Skipping Your Favorites
Yes, cosmetic section. I hear your sweet siren song. I love you so much, but we cannot have our quality time together when I have the kids with me. I promise I’ll be back just as soon as my mother-in-law visits next week and I need to get out of the house and will have a sitter, or I’ll just use my Google Home to order it because that’s a thing I can do. Technology, amiright?!!
7. Distraction Mode: Activated
At this point my 3-year-old has inevitably started crying over something he can’t have. This is when I whip out that toy I squirreled away (not in my purse, promise, it was under the diapers) as a diversion. Two sections left. I can do this.
8. Feeding The Animals (No, Not The Kids, The Pets)
Next up, feeding the pets. Yes, we have a dog and a cat because three kids just wasn’t quite enough work, apparently. I don’t know why either. So I grab some pet food and cat litter. Cleaning the cat litter isn’t my job, but at least I can buy it.
9. You Know You’re Forgetting Something ‘Cause You Got That Feeling
Okay, slow your roll and stop the race: it’s time to take a moment and figure out what you’ve forgotten. Because you always forget something since it’s been about three years since you’ve had a full night’s sleep, and the kids were underfoot when you wrote your list. So take a quick audit of your cart and if need be, go grab those last three items so you’re not annoyed when you get home and realize you forgot a key element of dinner.
Here’s where it all falls apart. By then my toddler has found a new thing he absolutely must have and just like that, we’ve turned into a store spectacle. We were so close and yet so far, and it’s at this point that I remember Walmart has in-store pickup and I could have avoided this cautionary shopping tale if I ordered everything online and headed to the store for pick-up (it’s not available everywhere yet, but it’s coming to a store near you soon).
Next time I whisper to myself.
Next time it will be a win for everyone.
This post was sponsored by Walmart, and all moms will be thrilled to hear about the new online Grocery Pickup option for your everyday baby needs like diapers, wipes, and formula as well as groceries (but if you need a car seat, you better come on inside).
Grocery Pickup hasn’t rolled out to your store yet? No worries, you can always use Pickup and Pickup Today on eligible items (same day!) to skip the lines and aisles — just grab your online order from the kiosk and be on your way!