top of page

The Nine Circles of Hell, or as I Call it – Grocery Shopping

I contend that the most vulnerable person in the world is a mother grocery shopping with her children. While my children were growing, I would have almost preferred to give birth in the backseat of a Mini Cooper without an epidural to taking my kids to Target for our weekly rations.

Thankfully, a genius invented curbside shopping several years ago. I will fight ANYONE who says a woman didn’t invent this modern-day miracle. I’m just saying more women have suffered the HORRORS of grocery shopping with kids to have had the vision of this glorious invention. And let’s be honest, a woman would SEE the necessity of curbside shopping from its inception. If it was a man who invented it, sorry for stealing your thunder. I bet you did it because your wife threatened to kill you after a grocery haul with the kiddos.

Like many things, this has me thinking about when I shopped with my ankle-biters in tow. All I can say is if my Super Target didn’t have a Starbucks inside, I would have NEVER made it through a shopping trip. I can’t tell you how many times I sat on the floor by the secret Pharmacy bathroom, sipping my latte while my kids picked out decorative Band-Aids. To this day, I am still up to my butt in Hannah Montana bandages.

But I digress.

One Saturday, years ago, I entered Target with a list of groceries and two small children in a behemoth cart.

Somewhere around the halfway mark, I found myself in the cereal aisle with two rugrats, who had slipped out of the cart restraints like pygmy Houdinis with ill intentions. Feeling the pressure, I opted for the gutless way out.

“You guys can pick out ONE box of cereal to share,” I said.

I will be the first to admit that if I had the option to yell or bribe, I went with the bribe. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Sorry. Not sorry.

Five excruciatingly long minutes later, Braeden and Hadley were still scouring the shelves for an acceptable option. Dare I say that I think I lost consciousness for a moment from the profound level of boredom?

“Dudes, make a choice already!” I instructed my children five MORE minutes later, as they continued to scan the selections like they were choosing mates for life.

I became aware of a woman standing behind me with a smile on her face.

“Oh, excuse me,” I said as I moved out of her way.

“Oh no, you’re fine. I’m just waiting to see how this turns out with your kids.”

Braeden and Hadley returned with one box each.

“Do the math, Turkey Burgers. You’ve got one box too many,” I said with the compassion that only a soulless mother could muster. My bribes did have limits, y’all.

The wrestling portion of the cereal picking commenced between my baby dumplings. I wondered if it was poor parenting to root for the kid with the tastier cereal.

“It’s been a while since I saw two kids so passionately dedicated to their cereal,” commented the woman. “My kids are sixteen and seventeen now, so it’s been years since I’ve been through this excitement.”

“Really? So there is hope that I will survive this age. Because Mommy’s praying for an aneurysm about now,” I replied.

After pulling the kids apart, I threw around some severe threats that included an afternoon bedtime. Instead, they returned to the cereal shelf with one minute on the clock to finally settle on a cereal multi-pack.

Of course, I realized there would be Hell to pay when the selections were down to Mini-wheats and Honey Smacks. At least, at that point, I could lock myself in the bathroom.

“Well, good luck,” I wished the woman as I made my way down the aisle.

“I’ll wish you good luck and give you mine. I think you’re going to need it more than me,” the older woman said with a pure heart.

She was right because I was entering another circle of Hell as the kids headed for the Lunchables section.

Later, as I was finishing up my shopping, our paths crossed once more.

With a laugh, she asked, “What do you have to get now?”

“Tums, of course,” I replied.

How did you (or your mom) survive grocery shopping with kids in tow?

33 views3 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Jan 04, 2022

I don't have kids - dodged a grocery bullet there. I have seen mom's like you having to juggle one or more munchkins and I feel for them and the walk the other way, ha. I will say that Instacart is the best thing ever invented, thus far, I have gotten 98% of my orders. Honestly, I think they forgot one thing, once. I am super lucky but if they take it away, I may never eat again. Just the thought of having to go to the grocery store brings me anxiety and that is me, ALONE, no kids in tow, High 5's to the mommas who had to brave the stores with the littles!


Sarah Girkadirk
Sarah Girkadirk
Oct 27, 2021

After twelve nieces and nephews, I've seen first-hand just how easily an innocent trip to the grocery store with younglings can turn into a terrible nightmare. That fear alone delayed my inevitable experience of braving the grocery store for over six months of my daughter's life. We didn't really get out much during 2020. After many failed attempts with Instacart delivery and only receiving half of the items on my order, I decided to head to the grocery store with my daughter. Her very first adventure out of the house was to our local Safeway. She was so excited to see new faces that she instantly mastered the beauty-queen-wave. The grocery store was suddenly our new favorite way to escape…

Jan 04, 2022
Replying to

This is great and that GIF made me laugh out loud.

bottom of page