This is second in a series about me when I actually am able to leave my house. The first one is The ADD Mom Goes Out…Alone.
If I want to do something 99.9% of the time I have to take my children with me. FYI-they don’t like to leave the house, so most of the time we just stay home. Sometimes, however, we need things. Like food. And when my husband works from early to late and sometimes on the weekends then there is just cause to drag them out of the house. It goes a little something like this:
Keep in mind there is no such thing as a quick trip out of the house when you have younger children. There just isn’t. You must start planning and organizing long before you actually leave the house with the kids. There is a list to make, there are coupons to find. Then you must put them in an order that doesn’t have you sorting through them at the checkout. This usually occurs the night before.
*DISCLAIMER!-I am NOT an extreme couponer. I have a binder with the little pockets that are even labeled. It’s empty. Instead I cram all of the coupons in something that I stick inside the binder. Then I waste a large amount of time sorting through them, only to find half of them are expired. When I do actually use a coupon on a deal before the expiration date, I don’t clear off shelves. This is because a) I’m lucky if there’s more than one thing left, b) my children don’t eat food that is cheap or that there is usually a coupon for, or c) my cart is already too full of other crap. Why do I clip coupons???
Once I have the couple of coupons I actually found then there are other things to take into consideration. You have to take things with you. You must have:
1) Something for them to do in the car. It’s only a 15 minute drive. But if they have nothing to do they will drive each other crazy. And me crazy. With my older child it’s usually his DS. That drives me crazy in a different way.
2) Something to eat. Taking them shopping takes a long time. There must be snacks. Or I will end up spending a lot of money I don’t want to spend.
3) Something to drink. You’d think that would go along with something to eat. But the drinks are consumed pretty much before I pull out of the driveway.
4) Reusable grocery bags. Did you know you are an evil, terrible person if you use paper or plastic?
So I have my list ready, coupons in the purse, snacks, and drinks. Now I will go spend a half an hour finding my keys. Then everyone has to make sure they go to the bathroom. EVERYONE. Even if they say they don’t.
Then we leave. There are usually two to three places involved and it takes 6 hours. We usually start at Target.
We get to the stoplight by Target. I give the warning to stop playing the electronic devices. We pull in to Target. I tell my son it’s time to shut off the DS. My daughter and I get out of the car. He’s still in there. Finally he shuts it off and we get almost to the door. This is where a tantrum will occur. My son starts telling me that he never wanted to go to Target and he should have just stayed home by himself, or that he hates shopping, or that I am a horrible mother for making him leave the house. All because he’s really too big to ride in the cart.
Then I have to go back to the car because I left something in it. Usually the coupons.
Once inside both kids will have to go to the bathroom. Then we fight over carts. My son wants the cart two kids can ride in because he doesn’t like to walk, they refer to it as a “kid cart”. These are the carts that are roughly the size of a school bus. Extremely hard to steer. I’m always knocking something over with it. Once I knocked over a pack of Snapple. That was quite messy. Often I give in because I don’t want to listen to my son complain about how I am the worst mother ever. My daughter will like this arrangement for a couple of minutes, and then wants to get in the “big” part of the cart because why would I want to put groceries in there? And then when I say no she wants to get into the basket part so she can kick her brother. And when I say no to that she proceeds to “touch” her brother with various things.
This is where the bribery portion comes into play. I tell them if they are good they can pick out something for lunch. They always want a lunchable. What is it about kids and lunchables? I don’t buy them often-so that might have something to do with it. In the course of the trip I threaten to have them put them back about 15 times.
My daughter always wants to hold things. If I don’t give her something to hold she’ll grab stuff out of the cart when I’m not looking. At some point something will fall out of the cart that she is holding and we won’t notice. Something really important like toothpaste. She’ll also drop the lunchable about 54 times until I bury it under everything so she can’t get to it. And I wonder why I’m distracted?
Target has something in the store that disrupts your brainwaves and makes you wander aimlessly for hours. They remodel those stores frequently so you can’t actually remember where everything is. And those end aisles: there’s stuff 15% off!! It’s very distracting. Now that they have groceries it’s even worse. There are always a couple of things they’re out of that makes me have to make an extra stop at some evil place that I loathe like Wal-Mart. Or I just don’t because I don’t want to take them anywhere else. Meanwhile, although I have my list I have probably skipped over something REALLY important on it. Like toilet paper. Did you know it’s possible to lose a giant package of toilet paper out of your cart without even noticing? It happened to me. It fell off somewhere in the store and I had to leave the checkout to go find it.
Which brings me to getting to the checkout. Remember the coupons? Remember I supposedly put them in order BEFORE going to the store? They’re still not quite in order, which means that I still miss one or two or can’t find some. And there is just no good place to sort through them. Did you know that it’s not possible to go into Target without spending at least $50? That’s the rule. Even with coupons. With two kids you can’t get out of there without spending at least $100.
Oh, and those reusable bags? It’s almost guaranteed I left them in the trunk of the car.
One of them will have to go to the bathroom at this point. I’m preaching self control because I really don’t want to go back into the Target bathroom.
Once in the car I dole out the snacks. Only I’ve forgotten to pack a snack for myself.
Then it’s off to the next store. Usually Fareway. By this time it’s been forever and I’m breaking one of the two rules of the grocery store. Don’t EVER go in there hungry. The other one? Don’t ever go when you are PMSing. Breaking either of these rules yields similar results: a cart full of stuff that is bad for me that I really don’t need. Where are the coupons? But first we have to visit the bathroom because I wouldn’t let them go at Target. By this time my daughter has asked for 357 things between two stores. Since I can’t put my son in the cart he keeps wandering off…
Fast forward to the checkout. It’s an hour past lunchtime-we’ve been in two stores, the kids have thrown at least two tantrums apiece, and it’s taken four hours.
By the time we get home it takes me another hour to get everything put away. As I do this I see some of the wrong items I’ve picked up-why does Fareway make ALL their store brand cans look the same?? I may or may not realize how many items I’ve forgotten, but I do see all of the extra stuff I bought because I was hungry. Lunch is (of course) the lunchables for the kids and whatever I can find that’s quick. Crackers for lunch? Don’t mind if I do! They’re whole grain so that’s healthy! Add a fruit cup so I can say I’ve eaten a fruit for the day. (And that’s the last one because I forgot to put fruit cups on the list…)
Stay tuned for the next part of my series, The ADD Mom Goes Out… With Her Husband.