To go grocery shopping with a toddler is like asking someone to hold water in a colander and not spill it: good luck, sucker! I’m a first time mother, so maybe it was the disillusionment of “new mommy hood” that had me thinking, ‘gee, it’d be really cute to bring my newly walking beautiful little daughter to the store…what’s the worst that could happen?’.
Even with the help of my husband to field her through the aisles, it was disastrous. I know for a fact I overspent, grabbed things I hadn’t really wanted, missed things that I really did need, and felt exhausted (both in body and mind) by the time we finally got home. Love my daughter as I might, I got to thinking later that maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to go it alone next time. So, I experimented over the next few weeks with going shopping alone after she was asleep and her dad watched over her. I learned so much on those trips and want to share that information here. Here are some reasons why you should consider shopping alone.
Alone time = me time
Sure, you love your husband and your kids dearly. And maybe shopping isn’t exactly your idea of relaxing ‘me’ time, but you’d be surprised what even one hour to yourself can do for your spirits. Sometimes a mom just needs a quiet moment or two to think, take her time, and not have to worry about someone else in that moment. It might take some adjusting at first (I heard a child hollering last time I went and panicked a little before I remembered that my daughter was snuggled and sleeping at home), but believe me, you learn to get used to the peace quick.
You can catch up with friends/music/books
Do you remember those days before becoming a mother where you could drive around with windows down and music blasting? You can have those days back again (momentarily, anyway) if you run some errands alone. To get to my grocery store is a 20 minute ride, but that’s 20 minutes of bliss to me where I can call my friends and catch up without interruption, or listen to that audio book I downloaded 3 months ago. Or, you could just drive in silence and relish that…it’s all good, as long as you’re doing what you want to do!
You save money
Without the stress of trying to keep a toddler happy and pleased, you have more time and energy to really save as you shop. What do I mean? You can take your time comparing prices and also have the time to go through your coupons more carefully as you go through the store. You’re also more likely to buy ONLY what you need, as opposed to just tossing in whatever’s making your child happy at that moment.
You get everything you need
I can’t even count how many times I’ve gone to the store with my little one and found myself suddenly remembering 4 or 5 key items I forgot during my ride home. You get easily distracted when you’re trying to pay attention to too many things at once (or just plain distracted by your kid’s cuteness, as the case may be). When you’re alone at the store, it’s much easier to run through your head exactly what you need and don’t need without having your attention drawn elsewhere. Extra points if you have a list because it’s that much easier to stick to it.
Your shopping time is cut in half
I don’t know about other people, but I hate grocery shopping. I could find so many other things to do with my time, but I know how important it is. But if it’s one thing I’ve learned, the time you spend shopping is literally cut in half when you go it alone and cut down even more so when you go on a weeknight after dinner. Even commuting is quicker because of less traffic!
You’re less stressed overall
I absolutely adore my husband and daughter, but when I shop with them, I get stressed easily, and then end up taking it out on them with my “snippiness”. I definitely don’t want to treat the 2 most important people in my life that way, and I’ve found that shopping alone, I don’t get stressed, and therefore they don’t get the brunt of my frustrations. And spending less time and money at the store makes for a happier mom, which means I can be a better person for them both.