Life is Hard

Tuesday’s plans included the grocery store and the pool. When I told the kids this news, Ali said with a sigh, “Let’s go to the grocery store first. I like to get the hard things over with first.”

“Oh really, honey, is going to the grocery store so hard for you?”

“Yes, it’s just not fun. And it’s a lot of work.”

I internalized the rest of the conversation so as to not permanently prevent my daughter from having children. But here’s how it went.

I am SO sorry that tagging along at the grocery store is so hard for your seven and a half year old body. I know it’s terribly taxing, as they only give you one cookie each, you have to pick out snacks and lunch food, all while riding around in the race car grocery cart that you’ve outgrown but I still allow you to use.

You poor, poor thing.

I have noted your complaint and found it LACKING.

Until you have to tell a three-year-old to SIT on his BOTTOM fifty-hundred times during each two-minute interval then have to wrench his leg free of the upper cart because he didn’t SIT on his BOTTOM like you told him to and now he’s screaming because he’s stuck, your trip to the store isn’t hard.

Until you have to maneuver a whimsically-shaped shopping cart that is the shape and weight of a whale that just ate two wriggling children and that is scientifically crafted to be physically unable to pass by another whale of a grocery cart without knocking twelve cans of corn off the shelf and onto your toe, YOUR TRIP TO THE STORE ISN’T HARD.

Until you have picked up a pack of ground beef only to drip meat blood onto your shirt and toes and possibly toddler, your trip to the store isn’t hard.

Until you have had to answer the question(s) “are we done yet can we have another cookie I wanna go home why are we at the store I want candy can I have a car from the overpriced toy shelf I don’t want those cookies I want these cookies I NEED a balloon my favorite color is not red I don’t like that juice I want this juice can I have a cookie?” then your trip to the store isn’t hard.

Until you have had to explain to a whimpering toddler why you will not turn around and ask for another free cookie just because he dropped his AS HE ALWAYS DOES and no he cannot have it back because it’s covered in grocery store floor germs AS IT ALWAYS IS, your trip to the store isn’t hard.

Until you’ve had to pick up three dozen boxes of previously delicately-iced cupcakes because you knocked over a rickety folding table with your whale of a cart that took up twice the given clearance on either side of the table which was inexplicably placed in the produce section, your trip to the store isn’t hard.

Until you’ve had to politely dodge nosy elderly ladies who feel the need to tell you that your child isn’t properly harnessed or is leaning over the edge of the cart or has chocolate on their face or has non-matching clothes, your trip to the store isn’t hard.

Until you have to hold your breath and bite your lip to keep from crying out in pain when your grocery total comes up because HOLY FREAKING QUINOA grocery prices have skyrocketed, your trip to the store isn’t hard.

Until you’ve had to maneuver your blimp of a cart to the car and unload groceries and children and attempt to return the cart and close all doors and properly latch all children while your phone rings and the children whine about how hot they are without losing your already-fragile mind, YOUR TRIP TO THE STORE ISN’T HARD.

And until you’ve run home, carried bags of groceries up the stairs and into the kitchen, frantically unloaded the cold stuff, packed a cooler, and sprinted back to the car to take your precious children to the pool so that they can have a fulfilled life, then YOUR TRIP TO THE STORE ISN’T HARD.

That is all.

24 thoughts on ““Life is Hard,” Say Kids Everywhere

  1. Oh, I can so relate! My s-i-l and I were laughing about this recently, after our kids whined that they were having a TERRIBLE day because we wouldn’t let them stay at the pool 5 more minutes! AFTER, mind you, a whole morning AND afternoon spent at the pool, new goggles and pool toys, and multiple delicious and high-calorie kid snacks. Life is truly hard for the middle-class-uber-priveledged-young.

  2. Amen. Amen. Amen. Jeremy can’t go to the store with the kids because he comes home with NOTHING that was on the list I so precisely wrote out for him, and stressed to the max. He’s like, “How do you do this every Saturday with both of them?” I want to tell him, “Suck it up, buttercup. Just do it.”

  3. Amen Sister. Good job on internalizing that conversation, because sometimes my mouth flies off and I quickly have to stop and remind myself that he is only a child.

    The elderly, nosy, judgmental grandmas giving me the stink-eye are the worse. And my town is SO SMALL, I swear to you, I know every one of them. There is NO 6 degrees of separation here. But more like one… “Oh, I know your mama, or sister, or daughter, or granddaughter.”

    But once there was a woman in our local store I had never laid eyes on. My son was acting like a fool, and I was struggling to pay the cashier. This woman walked over, caught me off-guard, and said to my son, ” I have a special present for you, but you can only have it if you straighten yourself up and be a good boy for your mama.”
    He was silent, I was slightly frightened, and then she was gone in a flash. It was Easter and she had handed him a ceramic egg that we had to crack the top off, it was filled with dirt and a flower seed. We watered it and a flower bloomed a few days later. That made such an impression on him for a while.
    I swear, she was an angel.
    And some days, I pray God will send her straighten out my second born.

  4. As a non-child-having member of the population, I wish to extend my utmost gratitude to any parents who insist on keeping their kids in or near the cart while they shop. I know it can’t be easy, and it has to be stressful. But after one grocery store trip wherein a little boy kept flinging himself into my legs repeatedly while his mother gabbed on the phone, I wanted to scoop him up and put him in MY cart, just so I could get my shopping done. I decided it was not a good day to get arrested for kidnapping, however, and just dealt with the leg-flinging–and my rising blood pressure–as best I could.

  5. YES! I would only add the preschooler who insists he HAS TO POOP NOW when your number is the next to be called at the deli counter (where you have been waiting for what feels like an eternity.)

  6. My 3 yearold and please do not hate me for this is actually Anjou to bring to the grocery store. I am not kidding you. My only complaint would be that the kid asks me to lean over frequently so she can give me a kiss. Now she is not an easy kid but take her to the grocery store or target and she is awesome. Take her to those places with her 6 yearold sis and forget about it. My 6 yearold exhausts me on errands.

    I do have to share our experience yesterday. I took the 6 year old to Target. We pulled into a parking space and my daughter unbuckled herself from her car seat. This lady in the car next to me was frantically motioning for me. I thought maybe some thing was wrong with my car. So I rolled down my window. “Your daughter was not strapped into her car seat”. Then goes on a long rant about my inadequate parenting. I let her finish and said ” um she was strapped in, she got herself out when we stopped”. She swore up and down that was not true and really just went on a tirant. I should have stopped there but I had to add ” Lady, I have an almost 7 yearold Ina 5 point harness car seat do you seriously think I would not strap her in? Her response ” well she should also be using the seatbelt”. What???? I am a car seat nerd, seriously we rearfaced both girls until they were 3. My 6 1/2 yearold was so annoyed. In fact she was so annoyed that the situation distracted her enough that she behaved while in Target.

  7. My first child would lounge in the cart seat and just watch people. I wish I had gotten a picture. He was well behaved and cute. My second child, from about 6 months old to about 2.5 yrs old, would scream when we put him in the cart and then scream for almost the whole shopping trip. He would take a few breaks for a few minutes at a time and then wail his fury a the cart again. But if I let him run free he took off like a little maniac (that is, a normal child) and while he was thankfully not distructive, it is impossible to shop when every moment is spent looking for a child.
    He did this for for 2 years. Every trip. I don’t know how we ever had food.

  8. LOL. All these reasons are why I drop my kids off at my moms before grocery shopping! God knew I couldn’t handle grocery store – kid madness combination! :)

  9. Children love to complain. My son is 12 and always makes a face (not a nice one) whenever we have to run errands. I want to scream: it is not fun for us either but things have to get done!!

  10. While Anderson isn’t the worst at the grocery store I will say I rather enjoy shopping when I’m alone. I usually plan my trips for Sunday afternoons when he’s napping & Daddy can veg out but alas I must go to Costco & Publix tomorrow. Prayers are appreciated…

    1. And WTC?! Why do they ALWAYS drop the cookie?!?! FTL of my sanity, cram it all in at once, or break it into 2 pieces to hold in both hands, whatever you have to do because there is NO way you’re eating it after you’ve dropped it!

  11. My 8 year old thinks it’s unreasonable of me to require her to stay by me while we shop at our ginormous super walmart.

    For the love…

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