ParentDish Size Six: Why I will never again take my kids shopping

Filed under: Teens, Places To Go, Media

When I think of shopping with my children I often have an image of the three of them and myself cavorting through stores as we carefully inspect each item and then gently place it in the shopping cart. In my altered reality, the children ask how they can help make the trip easier and we engage in educational conversations. The true picture of our shopping excursions is somewhat different, so much so that just last week I swore to myself that I would never again set foot in another store as long as an of my kids are under the age of 39. Following are just a few of the highlights that have brought me to this point of enlightenment:

  1. There is a constant mantra of, "Mom, can I have this? Mom, can I get that? Mom, I need this because my old one broke." I can barely think straight under the best of circumstances, but toss in brightly colored displays, Muzak and the chattering demands for more stuff and I simply can't think.
  2. I am a bargain shopper, I try to buy everything on sale. When I send my older children off to find the best deal on peanut butter they invariably return with the most expensive one in the coolest package. I then must find the peanut butter myself and find the best deal; no time saved there.
  3. My kids are grazers. By the time we leave the store we have five packages of opened food that then spill all over the trunk of my car. Not only is the car a mess, but all that food is then covered in dog hair and not at all appetizing to my offspring.
  4. I can only battle Devon's requests to be set free from the confines of the shopping cart seat belt for so long before I succumb to his demands and stupidly set him free. He then runs as fast as his toddler legs can carry him to the nearest package of anything that bears a cartoon character. It doesn't seem to matter what is in said package, only that it has Shrek on it and it absolutely must to come home with us.
  5. If I do agree to buy the kids something for $2, there then follows an aggressive discussion about what if it costs $2.10, $2.25 etc. Then what? Is it still a go?
  6. Finally there is the cost of these expeditions. I once saved my grocery receipts for several weeks and logged the expenses of when I did and did not have the kids with me. The average increase of my bill when the kids were along was about $20. Over the course of a month that adds up.
It could be that were I a more stern mother my kids would be less unruly and better behaved in shopping establishments. But until I reach that point I am going to cut my losses and shop when they are not with me.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.