It’s a rare occasion that I get to leave the house without my kids. The main reason I get this reprieve is if I’m leaving to get my hair cut. That’s why I keep it short. The shorter I need it to be for my “look,” the more often I get to leave the house sans kidlets. More often than not, though, I gotta take the kids with me wherever I go, and our most frequent visit is to the one-stop-shopping clothes to Kleenex to cottage cheese store.
My kids love going to the store. Because we frequent the same store, everyone knows us. They’ve known us since before my daughter could walk and when my son was still using my uterus as a punching bag. My kids love going to the store so much I’ve started calling it Disneyland in hopes of making myself sound cool to other moms who overhear me say, ‘Hey kids! Wanna go to Disneyland?!”
As much as my kids love the store, it’s not always a super fun excursion. Mommy Brain alone has ruined my ability to remember to grab potatoes for dinner, but when my kids are whining because they’ve lost their snack, or they’re upset because they can’t see their brother, or they’re upset because they can see their brother, the task becomes a bit more cumbersome.
If you’re on the fence about taking your kids to the store, here are 10 very good reasons why you should pack them up and head on out:
1. You get to talk to yourself out loud. If you’re like me, you find yourself talking to yourself a lot. Out loud. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the shower at home or the shower at the gym. If you’re trying to process something it’s going to be out loud and proud. Having your children with you is what keeps the men with the straightjacket at bay. Everyone assumes I’m just talking to my kids because, after all, doesn’t everyone say to their children, “If I forget to buy coffee one more time I’m just going to switch my morning routine to shoveling sugar in my mouth with a ladle.”
2. You get to play in the toy aisle. Okay, I guess if you’re a more secure person than I am you can do this with or without kids. For me, though, I like having the kids around while I swing a plastic sword and press all the buttons on every singing toy before running away cackling a teenager. This is also why I go to the one-stop-shopping store instead of your average grocery store because sometimes you need to make all the Tickle-Me-Elmos laugh maniacally at the same time to relieve stress while no doubt imparting it on others.
3. You get free samples.“Oh these look good! Can I have one for my daughter? And my son? And my daughter’s doll? What about one or two or seven for the road?”
4. You get to practice self-restraint. It’s frowned upon to strangle your kid in public while they scream and hurl the contents of the stroller into the middle of the meat department. Even if your anger wants to be unleashed like the milk spewing out of your son’s sippy cup he chucked to the ground, you’ve still gotta keep it together.
5. You get to teach your children frugality. “No, baby girl, we can’t get that blue box of macaroni and cheese. That’s what is called a name brand which really means ‘More expensive for no good reason.’ But don’t worry, Mommy’s got you covered. You see this plain white box? The one with the dented corner and the ‘Price Reduced to $0.19’ sticker? That’s what you’re having for lunch.”
6. You get out of coming up with a fun activity on your own. My kids are one and two which makes it super hard to come up with activities all of us can do together. My 2-year-old daughter can color. My 1-year-old son can eat the crayons. And he does. I’ve changed the technicolor diapers. Going to the store gets us all out of the house and saves me the trouble of standing in my kitchen with a container of dried beans, a handful of pipe cleaners, and a bowl of water trying to figure out how to turn that into a learning exercise which won’t end with one of my children drowning or defecating blue fuzz for a week.
7. You get a break from the Lego minefield that is your home. Legos, blocks, Hot Wheels, balls. They tile my floors and burrow themselves into my carpet to the point that I feel I should earn a gold medal when I reach a different room without hopping, tripping, or flat out falling over one of these land mines that for some reason I’ve willingly welcomed into my home. The shining store aisles clear of toddler toys bring back fond memories of when I was able to walk around barefoot without fear of losing a toe to passive aggressive playthings.
8. You get to hang out in an air-conditioned environment. I begin to melt when the temperature goes above 85. Yes, I realize 85 is not hot to most of you, but I’m a heat wimp, and I’ve accepted it. My kids are also heat wimps so anytime it’s “sweltering” in our apartment, the automatic double doors greeting us with a frigid breeze feels like strolling into paradise. My mood is lifted. My kids’ moods are lifted. Even their smiles return, at least until I deny them a donut from the bakery.
9. You get to go first in line if your kids are having meltdowns. When the customer in front of you in line is faced with the choice of either A) Listening to your kids scream so loud dogs across the state lines are barking in response or B) Do the awkward cart shuffle and let you go before them so their hearing remains intact for another couple years, most people will choose the latter. It’s probably the only perk of having a couple crying kids in tow.
10. You get compliments if your kids are not having meltdowns. “Your kids are so happy! Are they always this happy?” No, they’re not. And the next person who says that will be forced to babysit from the time dinner begins until both kids are asleep. Not just in bed. Asleep. I’ll be on the porch with my earbuds in and a beer in my hand.
Related post: The 10 Commandments of The Grocery Store