What is it about shopping with a young child that turns what formally was an enjoyable, nay leisure pursuit, into some kind of fresh hell you’re never quite prepared for however many times you’ve been before.
Next time, I shall be following my newly created list of rules before I venture out with a skip in my step:
- Forget any concept of browsing.
That wonderful thing you used to do in your lunch hour, or on a Saturday, is long gone. No more perusing gift shops finding that ideal present for your mum. No more hour-detour to Primark to treat yourself to an unethical bargain purchase. The nail was in that coffin at the moment of conception. With a child you are going to be on a mission. Even if, and we all know this is insanely rare, you are fortunate enough to go without the kids, browsing still sucks as there’s a slab of guilt attached to it now. SUCK.
- You will spend at least double your intended budget – save now.
How you will laugh at your previous parenting intentions of boundaries on how much you spend. ‘Maybe if they’re good they can choose just one small thing’ you think to yourself before you go. ‘They can use their pocket money’ you say.You’ll be so fucked off with their incessant “please buy this Mummy, pleeeeeeeeeeease” it will be easier for everyone (including strangers) if you just give in and start agreeing before you’re practically throwing toys and clothes in their direction and remortgaging your home just to gain a few minutes for the things you really need to buy.Suddenly you’ve become THAT parent. Oh.
- It will take you the entire day – make no other plans.
I went shopping a few weeks ago and actually said to Mr MotherFudger “we’ll only be a couple of hours”.How I laugh.We left at 9.30am and got home past 5pm.All those extra minutes in toy aisles, all those discussions about who at school has that toy/dress/fancy dress costume will eat up the day. You will also quickly realise you bred the world’s most prolific dawdler.
- You will have to have at least three refreshment pitstops.
Breaks for the toilet, coffee, drinks, lunch, snacks. Not only should you set aside approximately £100 for refreshments, your child will eat more slowly than they ever have before. I’d say the poor little things are practically in painful indigestion, but I’m convinced my daughter knows just how to work the system.See point 2.
- View your child like a ticking time bomb.
Have a baby – that baby may be asleep right now, but you have mere minutes before that sleeping bubba is going to go off and those screams aren’t going to be impressing anyone. Shop, shop very very quickly.
Braving that trip with a toddler. Basically you’re insane. Pay for whatever amount of childcare/cash in favours but don’t take them. Ultimately though – you have total respect from everyone. No one is looking at you when they have a meltdown in New Look. Everyone (who has a child) is just feeling your pain. But go home. Fuck the shopping trip. Admit defeat now.
Taking a preschooler – brave move my friend, but still this could all go horribly wrong. Walk past that Disney Shop and it’s game over. Decide it’s OK to go into a toy shop and you’ve lost immediately.
- Enjoy it.
Having said all of the above, embrace that it’s not like shopping ‘in the olde days’ and enjoy it. I love shopping with my four-year-old daughter. We call it our ‘girl time’ and she loves being able to comment on things I choose, or pick out stuff for her. It’s cute overload.Annnd, who the fuck doesn’t like playing ‘where am I hiding Mumma’ when she’s buried in a rail of clothes?!