Before I had kids, I loved grocery shopping. I loved going through cookbooks, picking out recipes, and browsing the aisles of the store for new products or ingredients. Now that I have to go shopping with kids, it’s not so much fun.
Too often I forget my list, my cart is full of kids or kids stuff, somebody doesn’t want to be there, and its a race to get in and out before we have a meltdown. Recently I have been trying some new things, to help make shopping a little less miserable – and its working! These may not work for everyone, or maybe you already have a good shopping routine. But, if you are here because you just don’t know what to do anymore, here are some tips!
This tip is not only helpful when shopping, but it also makes dinner time go so much smoother. I plan 1-2 weeks of meals in advance and create my list around these meals. And since I am a frequent list forgetter, I now email my meal plan to myself, so I always have it. It also helps for budgeting and I am able to use more coupons. Some weeks I get to browse Pinterest and cookbooks for new recipes and other weeks I just throw meals I know my family loves on there. My friend Brandi over at The Amabisca’s just added a weekly meal plan to her newsletter and it is my new secret weapon!
Snacks, Snacks, Snacks
Snacks are a must when shopping with kids. I have a 2.5 and 5-year-old – no matter if they have just eaten a full meal – they are going to want a snack as soon as we get into the store. I’m sure its the excitement of seeing everything on the shelves and wanting to try new things. It quickly can turn into a meltdown, when they realize I am not going to let them try one of everything. Having a few different snacks in my bag, for them to choose from is a good distraction. And when I forget to pack snacks, I’ve been known to grab and open a bag of crackers off the shelf to keep us all happy. Some grocery stores offer a little something for kids too! At our Kroger store, you can get a cookie, slice of cheese, or a piece of fruit if you ask!
Empty Your Cart Out
But how can I empty my cart when I am filling it with groceries? Shopping with kids means you have a cart full of all the things, not just groceries.
Let me introduce you to my new friend The Cart Mama. The Cart Mama is a reusable bag that connects to the side of any grocery cart. You can use it to make space for your infant seat, to hold the stuff you don’t want to get squished by little legs, or you can put coats, your wallet, or whatever else you need to take into the store in the pockets. If you shop somewhere that requires you to bring your own bags, it is great for that too!
Another option is to babywear. If you are comfortable wearing your baby, especially when they are tiny, it eliminates the carseat taking up the entire basket.
Use the Pickup Option
If you have a grocery store that allows for online ordering and pick up. USE IT! Your sanity is so worth the extra $5 and many stores will honor coupons even if you aren’t shopping in the store. I especially love pickup if I just need a few things, and don’t want to cart my whole crew into the store.
*Bonus Tip* Go Alone
I know, I know, this is often a laughable idea. As rare as time alone is as a mom, do I really want to spend it at the grocery store? The answer for me has become a resounding YES!
Not only is it some quiet time to myself, but it takes me back to before I had kids. Knowing I get to spend that hour or two alone, remotivates me to look for new recipes, to browse the aisles. Maybe I’ll even enjoy a beverage or treat while I shop ( can we get an Amen for Starbucks inside of Target). I never thought that grocery shopping alone would turn into one of my favorite forms of self care. This may not be the most practical of my tips, but when you do get the chance to do it, I highly recommend it. And if you aren’t making time for self-care, this is a good place to start.
What do you do to make grocery shopping a little bit easier? If there is something I am missing, let me know!