(And no, it’s not the fact that there’s no wine in either cart.)
If you’re anything like me (meaning that you’re winging this whole parenting thing), you’re going to make mistakes while raising your kids. It’s inevitable. However, some mistakes can be too costly, especially when it comes to the safety of our children. So, can you tell me what’s wrong here? No? Don’t feel too bad. It took me almost a year to figure out what I did wrong!
The car seats. They do NOT belong on the shopping carts. You’ve no doubt seen countless parents strolling through the grocery store with a car seat perched on a store cart. When we see something so often, we never question if what we are seeing is safe or makes sense. We are all guilty of the “everybody does it so it must be ok” mentality. Admit it, you’ve thought that before. Regardless, the only safe way to use a cart with a car seat is by placing the car seat directly INSIDE the shopping cart which eliminates any chance of the baby easily falling out. By the way, if you have an energetic five-year-old who considers a cart to be as exciting as the monkey bars at a playground, be sure to explain they cannot hop on the sides for a ride as that can cause the cart to topple over. The first time you take your babies out for a “quick grocery run” (that will end up being a 3 1/2 hour escapade to get that one stick of butter you forgot to buy yesterday when you had some help), you’ll find that a shopping cart is too small to fit two infant car seats. So maybe use two? For one, if you’ve ever tried to maneuver two shopping carts at once, please email me your home address. I have a shiny trophy with “A for Effort!” written in sparkling gold letters that I’d love to send you! And if you HAVE done so successfully, send it back to me as I surely failed that endeavor and would love my trophy back thanks very much. Anyway, after plenty of trial and error, (and error, and error after error – I’m winging it remember?) I found several ways to make a shopping trip (relatively) painless: Use Your Double Stroller My five year old has a habit of naming anything that proves to be especially helpful to us. Our mini-van, Stacey, was the first to have had the honor. Our double stroller? She won’t name it. Despite the fact that it’s been put to use daily, she’s seen me struggle and plead with it to cooperate as I load and unload it several times a day. I have a love/ hate relationship with our stroller since it’s so cumbersome, but it leans closer towards love. For the first few months, it will be your best friend. Be sure to purchase a “Mommy Hook” or two which can clip to the handle and buy a few sturdy reusable shopping bags. I’ve easily shopped for a family of 6 using my stroller-hook-bag technique.
Take Advantage Your Local Store’s Pick-up Service One morning, I squealed with delight when I saw that our grocery store was now offering a pick-up service. I could order groceries online and simply call when I got there so someone could bring them out to my car. My husband thought we’d won the lotters, I was so excited! Now, some stores do require you to go inside and pick them up at a service counter, but that still eliminates maneuvering through the store for what seems like hours on end. In addition, you can have a store employee help load the groceries into your cart. Always use any service that makes your life easier because with twins, or life in general, that’s the name of the game right?
Invest in a Warehouse Club Membership Mark my words, the first time you use a giant shopping cart that you just KNOW was invented by a parent of multiples, you’ll let out a satisfying sigh. I did. Ok, so you won’t invest in the membership solely for the shopping cart size. That would be silly…right? Truth be told, buying in bulk when you have multiples only makes sense. Less shopping trips equals a massive win for any parent. The shopping cart size is just a bonus. Improvise I’ve seen some pretty cool inventions out there to help make shopping with multiple children easier. Inventions such as the “baby hammock” or “buggy bench” which adds an extra seat when you have more than one child could prove to be helpful. Just remember to always follow safety procedures when using these products and never leave a child unattended!
Parents are resilient. We always find a way to make things work for us. Every outing can prove to be a challenge when you venture out without an extra set of hands to help, but believe me, once you find what works for you, i’ll become second nature. Also, more and more stores are accommodating parents of multiples by having double seater shopping carts and those super-cool car shaped carts that sport the fancy plastic steering wheels. When your babies are old enough to sit up without assistance, finding these carts will have you doing fist pumps. I find myself circling parking lots until I see someone who is done using theirs and then proceed to slowly follow them to their car. Yep, I look like a creepy stalker in a mini-van with tinted windows, but once I yell out “I have twins!” I get a knowing grin and a “Ah. Got it.” Don’t worry, if you aren’t already, you’ll be stalking parking lots for super-cool-car-shaped-carts before you know it 😉 Be sure to follow my photoblog on Instagram: @thewaldonkids for more #TuesdayTips I’d also love to hear your own tips and ideas!