Every Shopping trip is a new experience. Some do it for Leisure, Others do it out of Necessity. Some do it Daily, others weekly, some only when the occasion calls for it. One thing is for certain, you don’t know shopping trips until you have done them with kids.
Shopping with the whole family is a great experience, most of the time. Dad taking the kids shopping without Mum? Well that’s completely different.
So How Often do you go Shopping?
Honestly? As little as possible! even before Kids, Before Marriage, I only ever shopped out of necessity. Food where required, and when the occasion called for it. Now I have a kid, I tend to stick to the same pattern. Although when its wet outside and the shops have indoor play equipment, they can be useful. (I call it necessity).
The reality is, now you have kids the last thing you want to do is go shopping, the preparation involved, the experience itself, and the aftermath (which can be good or bad).
How is Shopping with Kids Different?
Well it really comes down to the age of them and what you are shopping for. When they are still young enough to be in a pram, it might seem easy, but the preparation involved in ducking down to the supermarket to get bread and milk is massive. Yes it gets a little easier each time, but chances are as a Dad you won’t have too many times you do it alone, which means you are going to make mistakes, I know I constantly forgot to take different things.
Once you have finally got the hang of it, the pram gets boring and they want to walk beside you. All of a sudden everything takes longer, a lot longer. Kids at this stage are also constantly learning new things, like grocery shopping. Not only is your trip longer, but now its more expensive, because your kids are putting a lot more in the trolley, and either you didn’t know they put it there, or if you take it out a tantrum isn’t far away.
Advice for Dads
Get used to it because there is no getting out of this one. Seriously its not all that bad, there will be tough days, there will be days where you question why you decided to do it solo. But! just like parenting the good will always outweigh the bad. To make your life a bit easier, here’s a few pointers.
- Preparation is they key. You can’t pack enough supplies, whenever you think you have packed enough, pack more. If your driving there, why not throw another bag in the car. Nappies, Wipes, Clothes, Snacks, the Lot! you are going to need them. A short trip can easily turn into a long one.
- Make sure you have the time to get it done. As I said earlier, everything takes longer with kids, so leave plenty of time to complete your trip. You don’t want to be rushing, not only is it stressful for you and the kids, that’s when you make mistakes.
- Don’t be embarrassed. I know I did the first time I was out and things went a little pear shaped. All parents have been there before and know exactly what your going through. You know what your doing, its the same as being at home except all your supplies (preparation?), are mobile. Just do your thing and you will get through it.
- Enjoy the Experience. While it may seem like a simple shopping trip, you are making memories that will last a lifetime. This is quality time between you and your kids, for some dads this doesn’t happen often enough. In the end, even if the trip was a disaster, you can guarantee your partner will appreciate the kid free time you gave them by taking your kids shopping.