Solo food shopping with a baby…

Okay, so you’ve made it. You’ve packed the car up and you’re on the road. 9 out of 10 times your baby is screaming their head off in the back. Does the baby have a sense of the impending doom? I’m lucky we only live a 5 minute drive from our supermarket. The protesting in the back doesn’t last too long, and it’s nothing a few choruses of a football chant his dad has brainwashed him with can’t fix.

So remember the car load of the baby stuff  you packed 5 minutes ago? Well you’ve got to unpack it all now. However, before you do this you’re faced with a trolley dilemma. Depending on your levels of snobbery (is that even a word?!) you’ll decide to either…

a) Keep the baby in their nice sanitary car seat and lug it along with the changing bag (with about a weeks worth of baby grows, 60 nappies, and 3 packets of wipes… JUST INCASE) and your handbag to the trolley bay and either put it all in one of those pathetically small shallow trolleys. Or tackle the ridiculous HUGE trolleys with the tray for the car seat on top.

The shallow one is a rookie error by all accounts. Tobias would know, he’s experienced the small trolley when I ended up partaking in the grocery version of jenga, piling a multipack of McCoys and several packets of Oreos on top of him because I’d run out of room around the sides. (Double parent police penalty points if you have to tuck a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc in beside the baby).

However, the big trolley is BIG GAME, only for confident mums. WHO DESIGNED THIS TROLLEY?! The tray for the car seat is ABOVE my shoulder height. It just doesn’t make any sense, they’re expecting me to lift my 16 pound chunk in his car seat onto it. Bare in mind I’m now a weakling due to my serious lack of physical exercise (note to self: this week you will go to the gym more). Anyway, it’s worth the shoulder workout because at least now you can put things in the trolley instead of stacking an “under 10 items” shop on top of a tiny human.

b) You can stop being an overprotective, paranoid, germaphobe mother and just put your baby in one of the trolleys with the built in plastic seat. But if you’re anything like me (at least in the beginning weeks), every single public surface looks like one big giant germ and you don’t want to set your brand new baby in a cesspool of bacteria.

Big tray trolley it is… and my god you should need a license for this thing…

Now your baby is securely fastened to the top of this monster truck trolley, it’s time to enter (at your own peril). This trolley is designed with so many flaws, you’ve nearly taken out a couple of old ladies and wild toddlers and you haven’t even made it down the first aisle yet. The car seat is perfectly blocking your view of everything as it’s at your eye level, so you commence at snails pace. There are people cluttering the aisles, and more than once a child free shopper tries to manoeuvre around you, frustrated at what a nuisance you are, they sigh in your general direction as they fill their boring basket with cartoned egg whites, kale and pomegranate seeds… you watch them whizz past you and onto the next item… “that used to be me”, you think.

At some point during this hellish experience your baby will decide they don’t like being in their car seat anymore and FREAK out. This whole shopping process is much easier with a sleepy newborn (if they aren’t ravished with hunger and crying for a feed). Tobias has now reached the stage where he tries to sit up and push against his car seat straps… Fun for all! So you end up negotiating (to no avail) with your baby “nearly done dude”, “we just need eggs”, and then you start begging “please refrain from having a breakdown until we reach the car so people don’t stare at me”. Its doesn’t happen often but when T does decide he needs to scream the place down, I always end up being greeted with the same unintentionally annoying comments, “oh, someones hungry” “awk is mummy starving you?” “sounds like someone needs a feed”. Red faced you continue your shopping, now very aware that you have limited time before this turns into a full blown melt down – we’re talking abandon the shopping and abort mission situation.

Baby brain has destroyed any hope of you ever having a good memory again. I don’t know how many times I’ve regretted not making a list. As a mum, you’ll always forget at least 4 items, fact. You will also bump into someone who wants to talk about babies, which is LOVELY in the beginning but you’ve visited the supermarket 40 times since your baby was born now and you’ve just about had enough of reciting the baby’s birth weight, full name, hospital he was born in and birth story.

Forgetting what I actually need to buy, standard occurrence.

You’ve had quite enough human interaction for one day, so when you finally finish your shop you head for the self service checkout. I could write a whole blog post on the pain in the ass that is self service… sometimes I can hear that obnoxious bitch telling me to remove the “unexpected item from the bagging area” in my sleep. There will be at least one disaster during this part of the shopping experience, and of course your baby is at the end of their patience, letting you and everybody else know about it. You can’t concentrate, you’ve entered your pin wrong twice now (BABY BRAIN) and it’s your final attempt.

Once you’re finished you make a swift move towards the exit. Now you just have to repack you car, strap the baby in and abandon the trolley. I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry – do they really think I’m going to leave the baby in the car alone, to return this monstrosity. I think lone parents should be exempt from the “please return your trolley to the trolley bay” etiquette. Until of course you have a toddler, then they can return the trolley themselves, am I right? Promoting early independence. (IT’S A JOKE).

Mission accomplished, you now sit in the front seat, scoffing half a box of Jaffa Cakes that you have just bought. It’s an exhausting experience, solo shopping with a baby. Admittedly I have thought of how much more disastrous it will be once Tobias is a toddler, or even has a sibling. Honestly it impresses me that mums of more than one child manage to leave the house, never mind take the kids shopping with them too. Now all that is left to do is drive home, unpack the car and then put the shopping away (eugh). My favourite part is when I pull into the driveway and suddenly remember all of the things I forgot to buy. My second favourite part is when my partner reminds me that I forgot the bread and milk, but managed to come home with items that we one hundred percent did not need. This of course results in me having to relive this hellish experience the following day. Honestly, ask my friend Jill, every time she calls me I’m either on my way to Tesco, coming out of Asda, or complaining because I have to do a food shop.

Why don’t I do online shopping you ask? Well simply because I don’t believe in it. Its goes against all of my core values and beliefs… kidding. We live in a new build and its taking some time for our postcode to get registered. BUT TRUST ME, the second it is, I will never ever set foot in Tesco’s again… (a mum can dream).








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