There are few chores as daunting as a trip to the store with a toddler in tow. One must go prepared. I'll share with you a couple of ways that I prepare for the grocery outing, and then I'll tell you about a Safeway miracle that I recently experienced.
Before you leave for the store: Prepare!
• Make a list. My list is based on the menu that I prepare for the week to minimize the chances that I will have to head back to the store later in the week.
• Organize the list. I nearly always go to the same neighborhood grocery store. My list is based on the layout of that store. I start from the same end of the store and work my way across. I rarely have to back track because my list progresses from that end to the other. My list is pre-made, printed off my computer, and based on the staples I buy most often with room for unusual items and a place to include the cost. I highlight what I want to pick up and make a note of coupons if I have them. (A side note: this list is in a discreet spot on the side of my refrigerator. I highlight as I run out of or low on things that will need to be replaced on my next trip, like coffee!) I calculate my estimated expected cost so there are know surprises at the register. I will include a copy of the list I take so you get the idea and can customize one for yourself. A well organized list increases speed and lessens the possibility that you'll forget something.
• Pick a good time of day to go for your little one. For us it's just after breakfast. We are awake, full, and happy at that time.
• Pack a little snack. I keep it in my purse and only pull it of if the need arises. I dole it out slowly. My little guy is still addicted to his pacifier (a habit I hope to break soon). I don't let him go into the store with it. It only comes out to stave off a melt down.
• Park near the shopping carts. Even if you have to park a little further from the door, park near where the carts are stored. You want to be able to get your little one into the cart asap on the way into the store, and be able to get rid of it quickly after loading your little one and groceries into the car.
Phew! Hopefully you make it home quickly and without a hitch. Of course there are always unexpecteds......
A Safeway Miracle
Last week, I headed out for my weekly store run hoping to get in and out as quickly as possible. It had rained the night before so I chose to park near the front of the store hoping that I would get a dry cart from the covered storage. There are a couple of requirements for carts: 1. Working safety strap 2. Dry
My shopping cart wish: working wheels.
I got to the carts with little man on my hip and pregnant belly proceeding me. Most of the carts were wet and stuck together and more importantly missing their straps. It's not always easy to pull the carts apart with one hand. Just as I appeared to be loosing my war with the carts, a women came along.
She was in a business suit and I assumed making a quick stop on her way to work. I stepped aside to let her chose a cart from the many I had already sorted through (I doubt she has as many cart requirements). Rather than grabbing her cart and going, she began helping me get a cart.
I kept thanking her, so shocked by the unexpected kindness. She said we should all take the time to help each other. How right she is. We said our goodbyes and my final thank yous. As I made my way toward the eggs, I found my eyes had filled with tears. My day was made!
So, my new final tip as you head to the store:
• Show some love: Yes, prepare so you can get in and out quickly, but don't be so focused on your task that you don't notice the people you will see when you are out in the world. Someone might just cross your path who needs a little kindness. Don't be in such a hurry that you miss the chance to be a 'day maker' in your neighborhood. I am very grateful for mine!
Do you have any tips for making trips to the grocery store more bearable? Do Share!
Attached is an example of my grocery list.