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6 Things No One Warned Me About When Grocery Shopping With Children

March 6, 2015
grocery shopping with kids

He looks like he’s having fun, right?

I went grocery shopping on my own for the first time in a long time recently.

Casually going up one colourful aisle, and down the next. Comparing prices and looking at all of the new exotic options of everything from cereal to coconut water.

I had forgotten how much I actually like grocery shopping, because these days I like it not so much. Grocery shopping with children is like hanging out with a really drunk friend. It might be ok, but it might turn bad at any second and end up in puke and tears, and poo if things get really crazy.

A week or so ago I was standing in line for the self serve checkout and my kids were running riot. I flipped it in the end and dumped my basket and dragged them out by the hand with full intentions of taking them straight home. I realised as I paid for my parking that I would have to come back again later, and I’d still have the kids so really, the only person being punished here was me because they were happy as Larry and still larking about.

I slunk back and retrieved my basket and the lovely lady whom helps the noobs madly pressing ‘no, I’m not using my own bag’ said “They are really quite good compared to a lot of kids I see. They’re just having fun and being silly.”

Yep. I know.

But still……supermarket + kids = ball ache.

Back when I thought having children was a beautiful experience (i.e. before I had them) I wish someone had given me this list to consider before I made unprotected whoopee.

1. If your children have been beautifully behaved all day, then second you arrive at the supermarket they will become possessed by the Devil.

Manic, evil laughter, fighting, screaming, tantruming all reminiscent of a scene from Exorcist. You will ask nicely, you will threaten with a hiss and you will bribe, and yet, those little Devils will have you on egg shells like hand grenades that may go off at any moment.

2. When you contain your children in the trolley there is no room for actual groceries.

My kids fight about who gets to sit in the trolley, so I end up with one in the baby seat even though she’s 3 kilos above the cut off weight and soon I’ll need the ‘jaws of life’ to get her out, and the other one sits in the actual trolley. Or surfs more like. We’ve never had an actual man overboard, but we’ve experienced other nefarious trolley surfing mishaps.

My fruit gets sat on, and my eggs get cracked, but the alternative of free-range children in the supermarket is so foul that I simply make muffins with squashed fruit. Or put it back en route to the check out.

3. Your kid will need to shit when your trolley is half full.

Even if they’ve already had three craps that morning, you can guarantee when your half way finished – too far in to quit, not close enough to make them hold it – that they will want to take a dump.

Every. Damn. Time.

4. People will judge you by your children’s behaviour.

I used to judge people by their squalling, poorly behaved children as they painstakingly read the labels on products oblivious to the chaos their kids were causing. They opened packets before paying for them, ran around the aisles in bare feet, and sometimes the filthy dirt bags would even lie on the floor mid-aisle and obstruct my shopping experience.

Now days, that is me. And the judgement sits on my shoulders like a heavy cloak as I endeavour to get the flock out of there as fast as possible without buying products that people will judge me for in my children’s lunchbox.

Oh, the judgement…. it’s everywhere.

grocery shopping with kids

Buy me a lollipop or the pile gets it.

5. Your children will never grab the fruit at the top of the pile.

Because they will grab the one at the bottom that is the fulcrum for the entire pile that will topple and roll across the produce department leaving you foolishly picking up runaway oranges on your hands and knees….unless you simply ditch your trolley and leave without looking back.

It’s been done, peeps.

6. Before your child reaches 5 you will unwittingly shoplift.

We’ve all done it. You get to the car and see something in the bottom of the pram or in someone’s hand. You know you should go back, but you just managed to get out without losing your shit and you ain’t going back in the danger zone for no honesty policy.

You chastise you child, sure, but you take that stolen chocolate bar and savour it’s sweet, calming goodness as you pat yourself on the back for getting through one more shopping expedition.


Did I miss anything? What do you wish someone told you???


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  • Reply Zanni March 6, 2015 at 9:38 am

    Funny! My solution is avoid the supermarket. We go to farmers markets on the weekend and my kids are happy to hang there for literally hours while I sip coffee. And I go to fruit shop, the butcher and order through a bulk coop. The few times I take the girls to the supermarket are actually ok, except for the tussle over the last remaining kids trolley. Which by the way is crazily brave of the supermarket to supply.

  • Reply Tegan March 6, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Love it! One I would like to add is that while your child is in full on demon mode you will get the slowest check out operator possible. While you are just wanting the earth to open up and swallow you, they will happily scan one item an hour.

  • Reply Rach March 6, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Bahahahaha ain’t that the truth!
    Our local supermarket charges for parking, now it’s only 1 dollar but if I get a coffee at the coffee shop they will validate my parking, so technically it’s a win, I get free parking and a coffee. Now the kids are a little older they’ve cottoned on to the idea of a cafe and will often request their own special beverage while I’m getting mine.
    It often goes like this… “- if we can get all of our shopping, without any fuss, then as a special treat, I’ll get a coffee and I’ll get you a milkshake when we are done.
    Typically this promise works, if things get a little loud, I’ll remind them of our ‘deal’ and By simply asking do you still want to get a milkshake when we are done? They pipe down, get back in the trolley and on we go…
    This week- call me a Rookie/naive/just generally exhausted and off my guard, I needed coffee first if there was any hope of getting me and the tribe round the supermarket, we went to the coffee shop first..
    Things started well, everyone was busy with drinks, the list was getting ticked off, sweet 🙂
    Then the sugar kicked in, and somehow amongst all the newly acquired energy the remaining milkshake got dropped… All over the floor…
    Screaming and crying about the spilt milkshake, snatching of siblings milkshake, almost a coffee spill too I nearly cracked it. And where oh where are the staff when you need them, am I liable if I walk away to find someone to help with the spill and someone slips? The temptation to simply leave my screaming children in the trolley while walking casually away from the scene was high…
    And then is it just me that feels awkward about the huge mess we have made and watching someone else clean up? Do I offer? Insist? Assist? Walk away like it’s not my problem.. What is the etiquette?
    I won’t be doing milkshake a in the supermarket again anytime soon and the nan from the deli is very happy about that.

    • Reply Danielle March 9, 2015 at 9:04 pm

      Oh no!!!! That sounds like high drama in the supermarket…..what a nightmare. Yep, I reckon I would have walked for sure (not certain I would have taken them with ;-))

  • Reply Vicki @ Knocked Up and Abroad March 6, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Lol. I cringe when I have to take the Vicklets to the super. I took up online shopping for a while there but alas, I’ve made a return to the old fashioned style and I can vouch for every single one of these points you’ve made. Nothing makes me feel more murderous.

  • Reply carolyn March 7, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Hilarious! Love the honesty in your writing – this is gold!

  • Reply Bel March 8, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    Caught my youngest, sitting in the trolley eating raw mince through the cling wrap one day… yummo!

    • Reply Danielle March 9, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      That cracked me up! Steak tartare??

  • Reply Shan @ Forty Up March 8, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    Ha! I just laughed out loud, I can so relate!! I’ve just started going to the supermarket again on my own, it’s bliss!! Love your work!!

  • Reply Fashionista March 10, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    My children are 19 & 16 and I still refuse to take them to the supermarket……..

  • Reply Jenna March 23, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Oh gosh I can so relate. We’ve recently moved a loooooong way out of town so now our groceries must be done with both children in tow and because we shop monthly it takes a realllllllly long time. My kids are great right up until we walk into the supermarket and then all hell breaks loose. The only saving grace is I can’t do the shopping on my own so we now have 2 trolleys so for the first half of the shop they can both sit in trolleys then the trolleys get too full and they have to walk, that’s when it really starts. My 4 year olds record is needing to pee 3 times in one shopping trip. Pushing 2 full to the brim trolleys around the shop on your own is totes fun

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