My pre-mom self used to love long grocery lines. I’d pick up my favorite overpriced magazine and flip through the pages while slowly edging my cart forward. I’d get a glimpse of how “stars are just like US” before tossing my produce on the conveyer belt. Sigh. I had no idea just how good I had it.
Now, as I approach the cash registers at Target, I practically start twitching. I’ve already used every trick in my Mary Poppins bag to get my wiggly toddler to stay in the cart (seriously, can’t someone design a better belt buckle for those things?). By the time I reach checkout, we have usually cracked open at least one box of crackers from our grocery loot. This last visit I even picked up a small pad of stickers and bolted through the aisles as my daughter plastered them all over her arms and legs – it was a solid five-minute success and definitely $2.50 well spent. As she’s plastering away, I am trying to juggle a grocery list, buying two baby shower gifts and, most importantly, deciding what fits in my budget. Needless to say, by the time we reach the registers we are spent.
But we’ve still got a mountain to climb. At the registers, marketing geniuses (read: bullies) have strategically placed goldfish, applesauce, gum and CANDY in direct eyesight of my exhausted toddler. It is a recipe for disaster. My Mommy strength is already depleted but I desperately try to hold strong as my toddler screams “FISHY” and reaches for the perfectly placed $1 box of crackers. But here is the kicker. The woman in front of me today decides to have a heart-to-heart conversation with the cashier. It was a lovely conversation really, but all eyes were on me as my two-year-old arched her back screaming for her favorite orange snack. At this point, I am feeling bad for myself, my daughter and everyone around me. This is not fun for anyone with in the vicinity. I am trying every trick up my sleeve. “The fish are sleeping. Night, night Fishy.” “OOOO look, Elmo stickers.” You all know how this story ends. Mom gets embarrassed. Mom is tired. Mom gives toddler what she wants. Everyone in the store applauds (ok, not really, but they wanted to).
A group of my Mom friends were discussing this daily battle at a playdate last week. We wondered whose idea it was to strategically place all of the goodies right near the cash register? Surely someone on those marketing teams has children. We are all grateful for the parking spot for expecting mothers…But may I also suggest a grocery line for people with children? One where all of us Smarty Moms can gather and give high fives for making it to the end of the marathon grocery run. One where there aren’t lurking toddler traps that provoke meltdowns. And one where the pre-children folks are left to read their celebrity gossip in peace. We should allow them this privilege for as long as possible.
But alas, I admit the problem ends with me, the Mom of the melting-down toddler. It ultimately boils down to better discipline and timing. I assume my dream kid-friendly grocery line probably won’t make it to the drawing board in a strategy meeting. So, I am coming to you, Smarty Moms.
How do you solve the war of the grocery store checkout?