being a mom

8 Tips For Surviving A Shopping Trip With Multiple Kids

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I’m not a fan of shopping, even on a good day, because it incorporates three of my least favorite things: spending money, standing in lines and not having reliable Internet access. But shopping with children is its own special brand of hell. This is especially true if you’re the parent of a brood of little extroverts like me, but I think this is pretty universal for all parents of large or largish families. But over the years I’ve learned a thing or two about wrangling my little army, and I’m going to share my bounty of knowledge with you. Because I’m a giver.

8. Electronics are your friend, who cares what the sanctimommies think?

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m a huge believer in technology for kids. But I know plenty of folks still frown when they see three little heads bowing down to the Apple gods while I get my shop on. But ya know what? IDGAF, because those precious minutes I gain mean less minutes trying to break up a pint-sized fist fight in the frozen isle of Waldbaums. And that’s worth all the pearl clutching and annoyed glares in the world. Who the hell cares if I look lazy?

7. The seat on the cart is your friend

Since it’s illegal to Duct tape your kids to the cart, I play a little game I like to call “Cart Seat Hunger Games,” where the most well-behaved child gets the cart seat during the next shopping trip. Obviously this doesn’t work with my oldest, but she’s too busy obsessing over Justin Bieber on my iPhone to care (see #1). A bonus is that this keeps at least one child out of face punching range from the rest. WIN!

6. Bring ALL the snacks

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been too shy (and irrationally afraid of prosecution) to be one of those moms who just grabs some Teddy Grahams from the shelf and rips them open for my kids. So I basically bring a four course meal for every shopping excursion. At any given time I will have Cheez-its, turkey sammies and/or celery on me. I’m like Hulk Hogan, if instead of packing massive muscles and a mullet, he packed snacks.

5. Bring out the big guns (aka the “good” stroller)

bugaboo cameleon 3

An umbrella stroller is okay if you’re just running out to get milk or whatever, but for big trips (think the mall or an outlet) you need to bring your stroller A-game. Nothing is worse for you or your kid than bending over a tiny ass umbrella stroller while your kid bitches about the crappy metal bars digging into his lets for four hours. Not fun. If you’re super fancy, try a Bugaboo Cameleon, like the one above. For the rest of us plebes, there are great options at Target and Amazon too.

4. Avoid the toy aisle

This might seem counter-intuitive, because what’s more fun for a little kid than the toy aisle? But be warned, a grocery store toy aisle is like the Bermuda Triangle of sanity. Once you go in, you and your mental health never leave.

3. Timing is everything, and weekends are the worst

The absolute worst time to do anything shopping-related is on Saturday or Sunday. Obviously not everyone has the ability to get their errands done on a weekday afternoon, but if you can, this is idea. Because attempting to wrangle three kids at the mall on a Saturday afternoon is enough to make me rip my uterus out right then and there.

2. Don’t be a dick, your shopping isn’t the most important thing in the world

Is your kid hungry, sick or tired? Then unless it’s an emergency, then keep your ass home. And no, a choco-craving is NOT an emergency. I’m not saying that you need to be a slave to the whims of your spawn, but your needs aren’t more important than the needs of everyone else in the store. No one wants to hear your toddler scream for 45 minutes, and seriously, shoe shopping with a sick kid is cruel.

1. Ignore the Judgy Judys

Even the best parents, with the most well-behaved children, have off days, and that’s okay. But there is always going to be a few sanctimonious assholes who see a frazzled mom wrangling a brood of kids who think “wow, what terrible parenting.” To those fuckers, I say “suck it.” Ignore em’.