6 Signs You’re Shopping With Your Child

Metal shopping cart isolated on white background

Shopping with your child is the WORST

For the past eight years I have struggled with taking my children grocery shopping. I love my girls, but their behavior in public is like getting stabbed in the ears with chopsticks. Their indoor voices aren’t their strong suit.

In fact, for years I’ve tried everything to make sure they aren’t with me when I’m at the supermarket. I’ve even written about their behavior in a book I co-authored – but did that change them? Nope.

If the kids are invited to a play date, I’ll grab my list, drop them off and set my GPS straight to market. Grandma asks to see the munchkins? “Hi and Bye!” I’ve got a little errand to run. Free at last. God Almighty, free at last!

Even when the Jehovah Witness’s knock at the door, don’t think I haven’t considered making a quick run to pick up a few necessities.

But the other day was the first time I made it through the entire event without my blood pressure raising the roof. No, I wasn’t drunk or showing signs of dementia. Shh! Don’t tell anyone, but my girls are finally helpful. Oh, sweet baby Jesus the day has finally come!!

Just like when they started tying their shoes for the first time – it happened over night. Can you imagine my surprise? So what is it about being 7 or 8 that turns them into helpful humans? I’m sure not going to sit around and analyze this miracle, but I wanted to share the glorious wonders of it all.

Shopping with your child…

1. If your child insists on reading every word of the grocery aisle signs and reminds you where the large vats of ice cream are…you might be shopping with a 2nd grader. Normally, when people point out my flaws or are telling me what to do, I get irked. But now the munchkins can read and help me find items or even read labels when I can’t locate my stinking old readers, they are little shopping sidekicks!

2. If your daughter remembers you need cheese IN the dairy aisle, instead of realizing you forgot it as you pull into your driveway…you probably are shopping with a 2nd grader. When you hit a certain age, perimenopause takes over your brain causing a pea soup thick fog to lead you through your day. This is why it is helpful to have fresh sharp brains right beside you, to keep you on track. College nightly adventures didn’t do my brain well. PSA: “Kids don’t do drugs…or drink heavily. When you’re older, you will miss all those braincells.”

3. When your kid begs to heave the groceries on the conveyor belt giving you time to chat with the checker to discuss important things like the weather, fruit ripeness and sporting events…you might be shopping with a 2nd grader.
I’m not sure why I thought I would be doing everything for my family the rest of my living days. These children who I carried for 9 months, and wrecked my abdomen, ahem; really can take over and give you a break from time to time. I’m not talking indentured slaves or free child labor, all day long; but we can share some of the family responsibilities to make our house a messy, but sanitary home.

4. If every. single. time you stop the shopping cart to turn and grab something, and you find your son riding the cart…he’s a 2nd grader. Really my girls do this too. I can’t keep the monkeys off the rails without threatening a “brown out” at our house. I guess I can’t blame them. If I had someone who would push me around on the side of a big, red Target cart; I’d be whooping and hollering like rodeo cowgirl who sat on a hill of fire ants. I like me some fun too!

5. If your daughters are discussing the difference between regular lemonade and diet lemonade and the words, “big butt” come up…you are hanging with 2nd graders. Body image talks have already started with my girls and the grocery store is usually a forced time to do it. I love asking the hard questions, especially discussing airbrushing while looking at the celebs in the checkout magazines. Suck it, Cosmo!

6. If your kids “ooh” and “ah” when they enter the chip aisle, like they are watching the grand finale of a fireworks display…yep. Second grader! As long as I can remember, my girls have been obsessed with chips. ALL chips. It’s like listening to Forrest Gump’s friend, Bubba talking about his favorite shrimp. Pringles, Doritos, Nacho Cheese Doritos, Cool Ranch Doritos, Fritos, Big Scoop Fritos… It’s like the store pumps in LSD into the air at the end of that aisle. Turn on the Grateful Dead and let my munchkins drool, stroke and hug the bags of chips. When people laugh at their behavior, I just tell them I haven’t fed them since last Tuesday. Then that ends that!


For those of you who haven’t reached this magical time in your parenting career, I’m here to shake you back into consciousness and repeat, “It shall happen to you too.” It may seem like an eternity for the stage to arrive, but the payoff is so worth the tumultuous wait. Investment in ear plugs can be a smart choice too.

Now I find myself imagining how pleasant my summer is going to be. I relax by the pool, imagining how my shopping stress will be minimized. I dream of floating on a tranquil cloud down the aisles, giggling with my girls on our magic ride to the produce section. Life is good.

But if I’ve jinxed them by writing of this newfound bonding time, you can bet your sweet bippy I’m calling Grandma for a visit until they snap out of it!

When did your kids finally get to be helpful on shopping trips? Please leave your answer below in the comment section. I’d love to compare and whine.




bright and colorful children toys at poolside (family vacations concept)

So have you crossed over to the other side? To the days of summer? A time when all kids are exhausted from working so hard, that they have morphed into a pile of dirty laundry and returned school art projects.

Perhaps you have older children and finals are done. Since these teens lost so much sleep during the last few weeks studying, their nonexistent immune systems have caused them to come down with a case of the plague. Good luck to you all on that. No fun!

At my humble abode, we have one last week before the summer begins.

Five short days until the “start-of-the-school-year-countdown” begins. And then a part of me wants to curl up in the fetal position in my closet with a flask of something strong.

I know there are some parents who relish summer time with their children. They are the parents who announce on Facebook how they can’t wait to put together their color-coded calendar of exciting events for their family.

Who does that?!

And if they do, what are they giving up in their lives to be able to get it done? Sleep…sex? *gasp* Social Media!!!

These parents have to be afraid to let their negative feelings out or have patience of steel.

Or maybe their kids are a hellava lot better behaved than mine.

Not to say that my girls are juvenile delinquents. That couldn’t be further than the truth.

But they are kids!

Normal kids who bicker and are learning to get along with others. They are constantly working on sharing and trusting – and not beating the whoo-ha out of each other. These are life skills which are developed over time. And no one can claim it’s fun watching them go through this all day long for 90 days! It sucks.

So to most parents out there, who are nearing the last week of school…my prayers are with you.

All you others with perfect lives…


good luck not getting your permanent Sharpie marker on your linen blouse.

Here’s a little something I wrote for y’all. It goes a little sumpin like this…

by Stacey Hatton

One week of school,
One. Week. Of. School!
The kids underfoot
are beginning to drool.

Chaos is starting.
The homework, they’re farting.
Their brain cells are switched
to full on de-smarting.

I’m feeling the hairs on my head turning gray.
Or will I be bald by end of the day?
Because I do know in less than a week,
My house will be LOUD and I’ll start to freak.

The fighting, the WHINING!
The begging for shit.
Three months of torture –
Grab the wine, let’s get lit!

But then there’ll be times when we’ll play at the pool.
When I’ll hear them tell friends that their mom is still cool.
So I’ll try to quit bitching and enjoy the long summer.
We’ll head to the zoo before that is “a bummer.”

They grow up so fast.
Then they’ll move far away.
Will I have my Sunday call with the kids today?

As I pour into bed after all of the fun,
after playing with neighbors – enjoying the sun.
I’ll know that the fighting and whining is fleeting.
‘Cause without my loud kids, life sure would lose meaning.

(repurposed from original post on May 2014)

I love it if you would keep in touch on Twitter or Pinterest! All the cool kids are doing it. 🙂


Grass is Always Greener on the Golf Course

Landscape of a beautiful green golf course with sky(This post is sponsored by The Blogger Collective.)

When I moved out of the house into the dormitory freshman year of college, my folks decided it was time to start a new chapter of their lives. They bought a beautiful home on one of our town’s golf courses and then conveniently forgot to give me a key.

True story. Only a little bitter now.

Sometime during my first or second year, they gave up a copy of their house key – but it probably was when they needed me to feed the cats while they were off playing golf at some fancy course.

I’m not saying they didn’t love me. They just were ready for some privacy. And after becoming a parent, NOW I get it!

When my parents looked at new homes, neither of them knew how to play golf. My father claimed that people do this all the time, but as a college student I thought that was just my parents being quirky.

Mom liked the neighborhood.

Dad liked the view from the back porch. And after sitting out with my father many a night, I came to agree with my father that having a house backed up to a golf course makes your yard seem as if it’s perfectly manicured and goes on forever.

Plus, we had an instant pond equipped with singing toads and the entertainment when ticked off golfers would throw tantrums and heave their clubs into it. Truly enjoyable, especially when they noticed you were watching and then you gave them the neighborly wave.

It didn’t take long for both of my parents to take up the sport. I believe my father did so first, and then my mother thought she might as well join a ladies group so she had something to talk to my Dad about other than laundry and “what’s for dinner?”

Ironically, over the years my Dad’s love of the sport began to sour and then to disdain. He still loved the view, but really didn’t enjoy playing the sport. He would rather spend five hours of his day doing something he enjoyed and that he wouldn’t mentally beat himself up over. Smart man.

My mom, who didn’t want to play golf in the first place, but thought maybe she could get some beautiful vacations out of it, improved her golfing skills every year. Plus, she found a great group of gals to play with.

But my dad was firm in his stance to retire from golf, which left my mom only dreaming of their golf vacations to beautiful resorts around the country.

No Lake of the Ozarks Tan-tar-a Resort and Golf Club. No Verandah in Ft Myers area and no time spent in Desert Princess Palm Springs Golf Resort. Plus, any future plans of touring
SW Florida golfing spots was out of the question.

Luckily, with all the extra time my father had not playing golf, has given him time to discover what he truly loves and excels at. He has become a top-rate cook and hosts dinner parties almost more often than my kids take showers in the summer.

Also, he just finished writing a fascinating non-fiction book on his grandfather who had only a grammar school education but became a silent force behind the Natural History Museum at the University of Kansas in the first half of the 20th century.

So to all of you golfers out there, I get it. The beauty of the outdoors, the camaraderie… the beer!! But I think I’m more like my dad – I’d rather buy a house on a golf course and have my office window facing the view so I could create my literary masterpiece.

Not that THAT’S going to happen, but the grass is always greener on the golf course – and the view sure would be nice!


Summer Bike Helmet Safety


In Emergency Rooms, hospital staff refer to motorcycle riders who don’t wear helmets, as “Organ Donors.”  I know…empathetic; but the statistics make it not so far reached.  I wonder if these adolescent-behaving adults were once children whose parents didn’t insist their kids wear helmets while riding up and down the cul-de-sac?  Probably not.

Most kids of my generation did not wear bike helmets (or even shoes while racing around the neighborhood) and it wasn’t until the late 70s that Americans started routinely wearing seat belts.

But I think if parents can get their kids comfortable at a young age with wearing a bicycle helmet (and I realize how hard this is to enforce) the future of our children may be more safe.  I know I feel uncomfortable when I’m driving and I have to take off my seat belt even for a second.  It would be the same for kids and helmets if parents were vigilant and started this habit early on.  First with the tricycle, then the bike, scooters, etc…

A habit needs to be formed, and it can be established after repeating the activity for 2 to 4 weeks if consistent.  Hopefully, the helmet will make the child feel safe instead of the helmet being a discomfort or hindrance.

The first step in getting your child to start this practice is for parents to set a good example by wearing a bike helmet themselves.  Going on bike treks this summer with a helmet-wearing adult, shows children it is appropriate to wear them.  Also, if the child chooses their own helmet and decorates it with stickers, paint or whatever makes them feel happy, then the chance of the child wearing it when you aren’t around is higher!

Good luck…it’s not an easy battle, but a fight worth fighting!!

© 2012, Hatton.  All rights reserved.


Large Trash Pick-up Day is Huge

The Kansas City Star news


Now that we’re starting summer, there’s so much to look forward to!

Family vacations pent up in crowded vehicles traveling coast to coast, relaxing poolside while gazing up occasionally to make sure your young children haven’t drowned, all-day spouse golf outings to which you are not invited, and according to many acquaintances, the best day of the summer: large trash pick-up day!

I actually enjoy watching how some people’s eyes light up at the mention of this sacred day. Some treat it as a national holiday and get the whole family involved, while others have cute family names for the big day.

If you have experienced this event, you realize there are two ways of looking at it. Either you are the Type A Personality who relishes getting the family on board to clean out the basement, attic, and/or garage and then place all tired items curbside or you are a (whispered) secret shopper.

Fess up. How many of you have been curbside boutiquing, Dumpster driving or nighttime free drive-buying? If you haven’t packed the family up in the minivan so you can have the fastest getaway with the prime goods, I’m sure you have seen or known someone who has.

My favorite shoppers are those who hook trailers to their old, banged-up trucks. Some even rent big flatbeds. These guys are professionals! And I must say watching a king-sized bed frame, a dishwasher and a hide-away couch traveling through the ’burbs at 2 mph cracks me up, unless I am late for a meeting and stuck in one of these crazy traffic jams.

My neighborhood association has the annual neighborhood garage sale extending over a few days and then the following day is large item pickup. Brilliant! Whoever came up with this idea should get a medal — and a wake-up call from me at 2 a.m. when the scavengers come out with floodlights that fill our bedroom like a scene from an alien movie.

To avoid this annoying late light show, I have vowed, “No more garage sales. Ever!” No curb dumping the remnants of a sale that was so bad no one wanted the junk I didn’t want. I’m also hoping to slow down the night traffic on my street a bit — doubtful, but a gal can wish.

However, I must admit I am not against cleaning house to find the more simple way of life. And in the past on large trash pick-up day, in certain neighborhoods I might have been known to slow down and stretch my neck to assess the curbware. And perhaps on a rare occasion, I may have circled the block for a second look. Is that so wrong? After all, to quote Gandhi (or maybe it was The Beatles), “One man’s rubbish is another man’s load of junk for next year’s event.”

Leawood has tastefully changed its event name from “Haul off my Junk Day” to “Large Item Recirculation Day.” If only we were all so classy.

Stacey Hatton is a pediatric nurse and freelance writer. You can find her blog at http://nursemommylaughs.com.

Posted on Tue, Jun. 01, 2010 10:15 PM