How Grocery Shopping Changed When I Became a Parent

updated Jun 4, 2019
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(Image credit: CroMary)

I have always loved grocery shopping. There is something deeply therapeutic about wandering the stalls of a greenmarket or even browsing the shelves of my local grocery store. I love planning the week’s meals, searching for the greatest olive oil on sale and snagging the juiciest Cara Cara oranges in the middle of winter. It’s relaxing, inspiring, and makes me look forward to cooking later that day and week.

But that was before I had a baby. Grocery shopping is a totally different story now that I have a 12-month-old. Here’s a glimpse into what it looks like now.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

What Grocery Shopping Looks Like When You Have a Baby

8:00 a.m. Okay, I have 45 minutes before he has to go down for a nap, so time is of the essence! He is so heavy in this carrier, why didn’t I just bring the stroller? Don’t touch that rusty nail!

8:02 a.m. Grabbing an arm basket. Well, excuse you, sir, I’m moving as deftly as I can among the cilantro, but I have a 22-pound baby and five extra pounds of thigh I never quite shed from pregnancy. Oh, the carrots, good. Don’t touch that dirty beet with the mud still on it!

8:07 a.m. Oh, great, he dropped it. Well, we’re buying it now. Bending down to pick something up while using a baby carrier is really something special. Don’t touch the disgusting floor!

8:10 a.m. The vegetable section is way too crowded; moving onto dairy. He can have frozen broccoli for veggies tonight. Milk, good, eggs, great. When can he eat over-easy eggs? I have to ask the pediatrician about that. I can’t wait to make him carbonara.

8:12 a.m. Okay, snap back to focus. Time to hit up the bakery for fresh bread. Oy vey, a line. How long will my baby be satisfied by constant swaying back and forth in the carrier?

8:20 a.m. Yes, a bagel sample! Is that too chewy for him? Should I suck on it or something to make it softer? Well, he just grabbed the bagel, so there’s my answer. Oh, good, he is cooing adorably at the woman in front of him. Oh, crap, he just dropped the bagel. Bending down to get it is so difficult. Don’t touch that dust bunny!

8:22 a.m. Can my child ever just suck his thumb or something instead of touching everything sharp or dirty? Running over to the meat counter, and by running, I mean shuffling as efficiently as possible. Ground chicken, great. Oh, wow, is that vacuum-sealed duck confit? I’d love to try a cassoulet recipe! Let me just get in there and take a look … nope, baby’s eye rubbies have already started; nap time is imminent. Au revoir, cassoulet dreams! Let’s just take a quick swing by the … hell no, there is no way I can squeeze us both down that tiny housewares aisle.

8:27 a.m. Oh, darn, we forgot the bananas. We cannot live without bananas. Shimmy past the group of teenagers who just came by for an after-school snack run and grab a bunch. Don’t touch that insanely sharp corner of the display case!

8:32 a.m. Okay, the check-out line. How have I spent 30 minutes here and still have fewer than 10 items? Whatever, I can get in the short line. Baby is starting to nod off. We do not want a 15-minute carrier nap. Keep it together, dude. I have to break into the bananas and give him a piece to snack on. Ugh, I forgot the Parmesan cheese. Too late now, as we are almost out of the store. Yes, he is awake, we did it! We went shopping, we are going to get home and have a nap, it’s incredible. Oh my gosh, where is his shoe? And where’s my phone?

Grocery shopping with an infant is never boring, but rarely successful. But at least we got that dirty carrot he dropped on the floor.