• J Mess

SUPERMARKET SWEAT

When everyday errands feel like you’ve just run a marathon.


When we lived in the city our refrigerator was chronically empty. Weeks went by when we’d realize we hadn’t been to a supermarket in as long as we could remember. Takeout was abundant, convenient, and not insanely more expensive, so most of the time, we Seamless’d in or we’d eat out. We Seamless’d so much, that when we went away on our honeymoon for 2 weeks, Seamless sent me an email asking if I was okay. They were this close to putting out an Amber Alert for their best customer.


Now supermarket shopping is a regular weekly chore. Shop Rite has all of the essentials. Trader Joe’s has some specialty things we like. Whole Foods has the mangoes Nathan likes. And Stew Leonard’s has the best produce, meats, and prepared foods. Clearly I can’t go to 4 supermarkets every week, when even just going to 1 is quite the ordeal, especially alone with the baby. I’ve been very lucky that usually we all go together every week. One person to wheel the stroller, one person to wheel the cart. I’ve spent many hours pondering how I would accomplish this task by myself because I knew the time would come, and when it did, I'd need to be prepared. So here are a couple options:


Stroller basket shop:

Only an option if you’re not really getting that much, because once you run out of room, you’re done. This is good if you’re running in to grab a couple things that you can comfortably shove underneath the stroller. I’ve employed this method a few times with little stress. Although I have gotten a couple of side-eyes in CVS like they think I’m trying to steal things. Yes this small human is expensive, but I don’t need to swipe shampoo… yet.


Push and pull:

Need a cart and a stroller? Why don’t you push one and pull the other behind you? It’s nearly impossible to push them both unless you have more than 2 hands, so this is the only way. I did this once over maternity leave and it was unpleasant to say the least. Way too much to maneuver the stroller with one hand. My wrists were aching for weeks. Also I kept running over my own feet with the cart as I pulled it, and it hurt. If the baby had been old enough to laugh at me, he would have. Meanwhile everyone else in the store just felt bad for me. Look at this poor woman trying to drag a cart behind her. She should really try a different method, like…


Carrier cart:

Baby too small to sit in the cart seat, the option above sucks, and you need a cart. Stick that baby carrier into the cart well! Now watch it rock back and forth uncomfortably as you push the cart and wonder if baby will throw up. Then try to put your groceries into the 2 inches of space you have left in your cart around the baby carrier. Fun times.


Baby wear:

I never tried this option but I assume it works okay besides the logistics of space between the end of your baby pack and the handle of the cart. Maybe use this with your go-go-gadget arms.


Cart n’ ride:

I always thought my son was too small for this option until I saw friends posting photos of their kids who were even younger riding in the cart. So I bought a cart cover and got brave enough to try it, after hours of stressing about it before heading to the supermarket. If I don’t play out the entire scenario in my head before attempting new things I get nervous. I’d have to get a cart close to my car, because I’ve never used the cover before which clearly means I have no clue how to do it and I can’t figure it out while also holding my baby. So I parked practically in Siberia, and luckily someone had left a shopping cart sitting right in the middle of the parking spot next to me. Ironic how usually I hate people who do that, but in this instance I was relieved. I attempted to put the cart cover on, which was successful enough to work, but still something was going on with the bottom strap that I couldn’t figure out. Guess I’ll have to look at the instructions later. Put the baby in and did the harness. Success! But, now we have an extremely far walk to the store in the blazing hot sun. Gotta get his hat. Gotta shut the door. Gotta shut the tailgate. Where are my keys? Shoulda used Fresh Direct.


Hat on, everything shut, and I start to push the cart and well, he’s a bit wobbly in the seat, so I end up holding onto him the entire length of the parking lot even though he’s strapped in and he’s not going anywhere. He seems happy in there looking at everyone and trying to grab avocados as we walk by. I have plenty of room for my groceries, only one thing to push, nobody running over my feet, a GIGANTIC coffee, and shopping is a success. I’m exhausted, I have to do this again next week?...

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