There are several reasons that I began to hate grocery shopping: not being able to securely fasten two children down in a shopping cart, all of those whiny requests (and promises to eat) food in brightly colored containers (none of which my children—the two pickiest eaters I’ve ever met—actually ate), the innate ability children have for pulling out the tantrum card when they sense their mother is easily publicly humiliated or in a big hurry. I also got tired of my daughter announcing to the grocery clerk what color underwear I was wearing that day (a fascination stemming from her flirtation with potty training, so while I was glad to have her covet the notion of wearing panties, I didn’t need the old guy scanning our groceries to know that I had hearts on my underwear that day).
Now that I have regular breaks from the munchkins, I save my grocery shopping for those days. What used to take a good hour, with carseats to undo and redo, cranky children to negotiate with, my inability to effectively menu plan while entertaining kids with Wiggles songs, now takes all of fifteen minutes. I sort my shopping list so that items begin on the left side of the store and end on the right. I know which clerks are fastest for ringing up my purchases, and where the best parking spots are for a quick exit from the parking lot. In short, I’m able to function in the highly organized manner that I did before having children. It isn’t much, a formerly epic shopping trip transformed into a brief, painless outing, but it’s something. A precious reminder that while having children has forever changed my life, somewhere in there the old me still exists, too.