“When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them.” ― Rodney Dangerfield
During our pre-baby days, shopping was a breeze, almost a hobby in fact. There are so many of us who swear by retail therapy. The pleasure of browsing through the cool centralized A/C malls or the busy open flea markets, looking at all the pretty, colorful stuff on display, trying them on and then coming home with a happy heart and relaxed mind.
Glorious days. Glorious PRE-BABY days.
Nowadays, anyone who is a parent knows that whatever the age of your child, going shopping for something as trivial as a few vegetables is no piece of cake. Earlier you had all the time in the world to dress up, shop, try it on, have a coffee and meet up with friends. Now, you’re lucky if you can get home in one piece. Add to that the crowd during the sales and you have a sure-fire recipe for disaster. Not to mention, regrettable, spur of the moment purchases.
But then, what’s the solution? Leaving your kids home for every shopping excursion? In this day of nuclear families and truant babysitters, we know that’s not a very practical option. Also, we need to get our kids accustomed to the outside world, we can’t keep them cooped up forever can we?
After many fun and equally tear-inducing shopping experiences with my now four-year old, I have a few tips to share with other weary mothers out there :
1. Make sure everyone is rested, fed and has visited the bathroom. Yes that includes you, Mom. Have you seen the Snickers Ad? Yup, hunger can bring out the worst in everyone. And there’s nothing like a ‘I-want-to-pee’ dance by your toddler to divert the whole store’s attention towards yourself.
2. Pack relevant supplies. Of course, if you have a baby, a diaper bag goes without saying. But we need to consider older kids too – a small toy/game/book, a snack, bottle of water, sanitizer and tissues are basic essentials.
3. Include a place of interest for the child. 5 shoe stores in a row will bore any kid. Be sure to put in little trips to the toy store or gaming zone or book shop. It’ll keep her from getting too cranky. Another option is to make a game of some kind – count all the red shoes in the store.
4. Dress sensibly. This is especially for parents with younger kids. Heels are no help when you need to run behind a junior Usain Bolt. Nor are flowing dupattas that keep slipping off or bags with short straps.
5. Talk about the trip beforehand. Knowing what’s coming seems to make kids behave better for some reason. If your little ‘un is turning into a little shopaholic, explain clearly what you’re going out for and what’s in it for them. I know all parenting magazines are against bribes and stuff, but just do what works for you and your kid. After all, isn’t everyone’s sanity of the highest priority.
These are the little pearls of wisdom emanating from my experience and hope they’re of some help, especially since sale season is here. May this shopping season be a fun and enjoyable experience for you and your kids!!
Fabida Abdulla is a former software engineer turned stay at home Mother Lion to her four year old son, whom she calls ‘The Cub’. She blogs about her crazy life at Shocks and Shoes.