How I Grocery Shop With an Infant and a Toddler… (in 27 easy to follow steps)

Ohhh grocery shopping. It is one of those necessary evils in life. I feel like I need a disclaimer here that this is SUCH a “mom post”. Anyway… No matter what time of day or day of the week I plan to go, or how prepared I feel I am with my meal plans, list and coupons, nothing can quite prepare me for the trip. Now add in a two and a half year old and an infant and I may as well throw on a rainbow wig and bright red nose, cause it is definitely gonna be a circus act!

When I had one baby I was also working full time so groceries were usually purchased on the weekend. Bubsie stayed home with Dada and this Mama got some super high quality “me time” roaming through the aisles, all was good.

Then I dropped down to working part time. But by then baby was a toddler and she was content to sit in the cart and “help” me chose items that we needed. I began shopping mid week and tried to remember to go when I knew there would be fresh produce stocked. My little chatterbox talks to everyone (and let’s be real she’s adorable) so everyone and their mother would stop to talk to us. I literally couldn’t get through the store without being stopped ten or more times. It seemed like trips were taking longer and longer each time I went, no matter how hard a tried to make it quick.

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Not technically groceries, but you get it…

Fast forward to now. As a sahm I almost always get the shopping done during the week. But with two kids in tow I feel like it takes an entire day to accomplish. Maybe I’m exaggerating…. but seriously, it takes work! That is why I have outlines these 27 easy to follow steps, so you too can successfully grocery shop with your precious little darlings.

  1. Prepare a meal plan for the week and write a list.
  2. Forget to look in the fridge/ cupboard to check for pantry items.
  3. Tell your toddler that it’s time to go grocery store and help him/her put their shoes on.
  4. Watch toddler then strip naked claiming s/he has to poop.
  5. Wait for 5 minutes as toddler pretends to poop on the potty and then trick them into getting into the car by telling them you’re leaving without them.
  6. As toddler is pretending to poop, baby will throw up all over their clothes, so wipe them up and change them.
  7. Drive to the store and watch toddler take off his/her shoes and toss them over the side of the carseat.
  8. Arrive, get toddler’s shoes out of the black hole that is between the two carseats and put them on and get him/her out of the car.
  9. Realize that baby has had a huge blowout in their carseat.
  10. Set up a diaper changing station in the back of the minivan and assign toddler a special job to keep them occupied (wipes holder/helper usually does the trick here)
  11. Secure baby into a carrier (we like the Ergo), and buckle toddler into the top of the cart.
  12. Try to figure out why toddler won’t keep their shoes on for longer than 5 minutes at a time, pick up their shoes and put them back on them.
  13. Remember to bring the list, wallet, keys and reusable shopping bags inside.
  14. ENTER THE GROCERY STORE!! (that is a definite accomplishment in itself)
  15. Shop the perimeter of the store, following your list and only go down aisles if you definitely need something down them. NOTE: You will continuously wonder if you are running low on certain pantry items. See #2
  16. Explain to toddler 10+ times that even though the store has a bakery, s/he will not be getting a cookie at 8:00am. – is that just me?
  17. Begin bouncing the baby who is becoming fussy.
  18. See toddler trying to take their shoes off again, take the shoes from them and toss them in the back of the cart.
  19. Get through the store in record time, politely smiling when someone tries to stop and talk, but quickly moving along.
  20. Choose what appears to be the shortest check out line.
  21. Realize that you have forgotten a key ingredient for one of your meals. NOTE: Conveniently, said item will be located on the complete opposite side of the store and you will lose your place in line. 
  22. Run back to get forgotten item, while explaining again that we don’t eat cookies for breakfast.
  23. Shush the baby who now is acting like being in the Ergo is the most painful location s/he could ever be placed.
  24. Check out and load children and groceries into the car.
  25. Watch baby fall asleep approximately .2 miles from home.
  26. Get home, unload and put away groceries.
  27. Listen to toddler reject almost every healthy or exciting food item you purchased when offering them a snack. Instead s/he will want stale goldfish that you took out of the pantry to throw away.

There you have it! Shopping with two in a nutshell. You’re welcome. 😉

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Note: This is only loosely based on my shopping experiences. At one point or another all of these things have actually happened to me, but they don’t typically happen all on the same day. And, although my kids are actually quite pleasant to take shopping, it is much, much, much, MUCH easier to go alone. I highly recommend it. 

Also, when questioned about why she takes off her shoes, toddler will always answer “There were crumbs on my toe”. 

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2 thoughts on “How I Grocery Shop With an Infant and a Toddler… (in 27 easy to follow steps)

  1. Look into hannaford to go… Game changer in our lives! Not perfect, but good enough if you can plan your list ahead. Plus, even my husband can pick up the groceries.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have only 1, but this still sums it up. How about when there are no “special” carts (race cars at Lowes or unusual ones at any other store). That’s a fun meltdown WHILE entering the store.

    Liked by 1 person

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