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  • Writer's pictureToni

Going into battle...

At the grocery store


Tonight I needed to step out after dinner. There were no breaks today. I was up at 4am, 4:30, 5am, 5:45am, 6am and after that I decided to just give up and stay awake. My toddler chose to be my alarm clock and I accepted it begrudgingly.

I attempted our daily routine with a fight and kept smiling through until 6:31pm. I suppose you can call that my "breaking point". Reality is, she is a good girl. She is also an overly tired girl and any parent can tell you that an overly tired toddler can be lethal. So I left to go to the grocery store on my own. As I get to the empty cart and start walking in solitude I begin to hear a screaming toddler and what looked to be a nervous father. I felt pity for him knowing I was just in his shoes just minutes before. He looked exhausted, frustrated and completely done with his day. His toddler looked even worse. Why? Well, I'm so glad you asked. It's because this man had no weapons to distract. As a parent, why isn't there a chapter about grocery stores and toddlers? It is a battle field and we are literally walking through each isle with a ticking bomb. So what do we do? We prepare. Snacks in both pockets, random toy they haven't seen in a month, fully charged phone, receipt that they can rip, ANYTHING to keep them distracted from the simple fact that they are stuck in this cart in complete boredom. I wanted to teach this man and take him under my wing. "We can do this! Let me teach you!"

Grocery store shopping has never been the same after having my toddler. My wardrobe is usually camouflaged with her breakfast previously spilled on it or wet from washing the dishes. My hair is in a bun because it's easy and sometimes I don't have the luxury of washing it to make it look "nice". My glasses are stretched and crooked from my toddler attempting to "wear" them. This is my uniform for battle.

Fruit and vegetable pouches?



(Don't judge me, I judge myself enough for the both of us.)




Gold fish? Check!

And please, don't believe that my child will to eat all of these items because 60% of it will be on the grocery floor or hidden in my car. I will eventually find all said items after playing the game, "What's that smell?"

Everyday I put on my under eye concealer so I don't scare strangers with my many dark circles and attempt to twease my eyebrows in a parking lot because it's only then when I realize I look like a character from sesame street. It's what we do as parents, as women, as human beings who want to take care of these tiny people who don't know better. We sacrifice, we prep, and we quietly clap in our heads when we hear a screaming child in a store and we see it's not ours. (Don't lie, we all know you give a big sigh of relief.)

So next time you go out to the grocery store and see a parent giving their child a snack, know that they're winning the battle. The war however, that's ongoing. We're all just surviving in our own ways. If it can help any newbie, here's how I survive my trips:


Self portrait comic, 2019


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