Randomly, I found myself thinking about a family I noticed in the grocery store last week, two parents and their children, shopping for the week’s food. There was some struggling, one child stuck in the cart, the other wandering off. They were being good, no crying, no fussing, no bribery that I could see, but in my head I still wondered, why? I try not to take my children to the grocery store. If my Hubby is home and I have to go to the grocery store (or most anywhere), I give him and the children, a kiss goodbye, then head out. Even if they are being perfect little angels, I know that a 30 minute trip to the grocery store will certainly double if I bring them along. They don’t make it longer on purpose, it's just how it is.
It is not as though I never take my children out shopping with me. In fact, I usually can't go on my own, but usually I take just one. My Hubby and I often “divide and conquer”, we each take one child and split the errands. Again, it makes it all quicker. If I have to take both children, I accept that I will be at the store for hours, that I have to take snacks, drinks, and activities. I try to make it easy and potentially fun for all of us (mostly them). I give the kids tasks, a scavenger hunt-esque game, finding what we need and putting it in the cart. I want to avoid the meltdowns, because I've had enough of those.
I was talking to a friend of mine who said that her husband wanted to make errands like this a “family outing”. She didn't get it. She wanted to just go in and get out as quickly as possible. I told her that I understood his perspective, because that used to be mine. I tried to make grocery shopping a family activity, like perhaps, that family I saw last week. I told my friend that I had learned my lesson. There had been too many crying, fighting, annoying, anxiety-creating moments. I had decided, it would be better for me (or my Hubby, but usually me) to do a quick shop and then have family time after. I didn't want to spend hours struggling at the store. I wanted to spend that time doing crafts, playing games, running outside or even watching a movie together. I wanted our family time to not involve yelling or pleading. So though I may lose an hour here and there, I think quality time is better than quantity time. This might just be me and my family though. I’m sure there are others that have loads of fun at the grocery store… maybe.