Some parents are blessed with easy going, happy, and content toddlers. I was not. Not this time. My 2 year old is 45 freaking pounds of demanding everything in sight, refusing to sit down in the cart, too big to use the little seat belt, and screaming to get out and walk- and when I finally cave and let him walk so that other shoppers have a pleasant shopping experience without my toddlers tantrums… he takes off around corners, hides, and touches EVERYTHING. And did I mention I’m 33 weeks pregnant?? Chasing him is no small task.
So to solve all of this I have resorted to becoming a regular to online shopping and grocery pick-up. But some days… a trip to the store to grab last minute items is unavoidable… and you know what? I dread these days. I have to mentally prepare myself to wrestle my (45 pound) toddler into the cart and bribe him the entire shopping trip to just avoid the screaming… so people like YOU can shop in peace. And you know what? Most of the time… I am UNsuccessful. Meaning my child still screams, I still end up chasing him around the store, I have sweat dripping down my face, and I am avoiding all eye contact with everyone else in the store who is obviously judging me all while whispering “This is just a phase. This too shall pass.” to myself to stay calm. My in-and-out shopping trip has turned into a 45 minute awful ordeal that knocks me on my ass the moment I get home. Guess what?? If you want to assume that all of this means my son “lacks discipline”…you are sadly mistaken. Some toddlers just own the term “terrible twos”. At this stage they are exploring their surroundings, pushing boundaries, learning some independence, and testing every last one of your nerves. And contrary to some people’s beliefs… these toddlers still grow into perfectly functioning adults in society.
So I have to ask you… why in God’s loving and amazing name would I do ANYTHING to make this trip any harder on myself? I wouldn’t. So trust me when I tell you I circled the parking lot (maybe even 2-3 times) looking for a parking spot near a beloved cart return. Some days… I’m lucky and find one no problem. But believe it or not these spots are highly sought after in the parenting community… and some days I am not so lucky. (This is especially true when a major grocery store finds in necessary to only have like 2 cart returns in a MASSIVE parking lot.) By the time I have barely made it through my shopping trip… the first thing on my mind is getting my precious little human into his carseat where I know he isn’t going to fall or jump out of the cart while I am unloading groceries or run into oncoming traffic. You think this is unlikely?? From the time it takes me to park the cart behind my SUV and walk to the side and open my son’s door and back to the cart to grab him… he is already standing up. Getting him into the car is a huge relief as I am sure you can imagine.
When all of this is finally over and my child and my groceries are in the car… imagine my horror as I look around and realize just how far away the cart return actually is. This is where I literally have this debate in my head… 1. I can lock my car doors and run to the car return and leave my child in a hot (or cold) car unattended. 2. I can leave the car and AC running with my child in the car unattended and run my cart to the cart return and leave myself open to someone else jumping into my car and taking it. 3. I can take him OUT of the car and pray that he will hold my hand nicely all the way there and back and not plop himself down on the ground out of protest of having to hold my hand or worse… actually get away from me and take off across a parking lot. OR 4. I can avoid all of these possibilities and just leave the cart right here… and risk eye rolls and being labeled as “lazy” on social media. Which one of these options makes me the least “horrible”?? You tell me. I will be the first to admit that I have done all 4 of these options… and #4 feels the least horrible to me. Don’t worry… I do prop it up on the curb or dirt divider or SOMETHING so that it does not pose a risk to other people’s cars. Just know that I struggled with this decision and can only hope that people understand and aren’t judging me too harshly.
AND THIS ^^^ DOES. NOT. MAKE. ME. LAZY.
I mean at the end of my shopping trip I’ve burned like 20X more calories then you have any ways, my heart rate is probably through the roof, AND my feet are swollen.
But I am sorry that me not returning my cart was such an inconvenience.
And for those stores that have an “Expectant Mothers Only” or “Families with Small Children Only” parking spots with a cart return conveniently placed right there… YOU ARE THE REAL MVPs.
P.S. I do realize that this is my situation alone… and that some times carts are left out of laziness or unsecured. But some times the excuse “because I have kids” is enough to justify this. Feel free to call me irresponsible or ill mannered if you must… but lazy?? NOPE.