It truly is a marathon.
1. Have a well written list complete with store layout map and coupons.
2. Pack snacks, books, child seat cart liner, and sanitizer.
3. Tell toddler it's time to stop playing.
4. Explain to toddler why it's time to stop playing.
5. Bargain with toddler and agree to let two toys accompany toddler in the car if they will just stop playing.
6. Wrestle toddler into car seat.
7. Start driving to store.
8. Pull over and retrieve toy from floor of the car.
9. Resume driving.
10. Tell toddler "no," you aren't pulling over again to retrieve the toy that is once again on the floor.
11. Listen to toddler cry.
12. Turn the radio up.
13. Arrive at store.
14. Debate with toddler about leaving the toys in the car.
15. Win debate and feel quite proud as you enter the store.
16. Sanitize entire shopping cart and place child seat liner inside child seat.
17. Put toddler in shopping cart.
18. Realize this particular cart has a broken safety belt.
19. Remove toddler.
20. Sanitize entire second shopping cart.
21. Place liner inside.
22. Place toddler inside liner and buckle toddler in.
23. Hand toddler snacks while looking for shopping list in purse.
24. Realize you left shopping list at home.
25. Look up to notice toddler licking the cart handle.
26. Thank God for sanitizer.
27. Silently curse yourself for forgetting shopping list and head off on an uncharted expedition.
28. Head to the deli first.
29. Silently curse the woman in front of you for taste testing every potato salad the world has ever made.
30. Turn around to find toddler dumping snacks on the floor.
31. Explain to toddler why we can’t eat off the floor.
32. Attempt to calm toddler’s tantrum.
33. Watch taste testing woman move on to taste testing salads and decide you don't really need deli meat.
34. Head to produce and get bananas.
35. Explain to toddler why we can't eat the bananas right now.
36. Attempt to calm toddler's tantrum.
37. Give toddler a book.
38. Head to dairy aisle.
39. Check expiration dates on 9 gallons of milk while looking for the freshest one.
40. Overhear toddler calling a man with grey hair "grandpa."
41. Apologize to man with grey hair.
42. Head to cracker aisle.
43. Explain to toddler why we can't eat the crackers right now.
44. Attempt to calm toddler's tantrum.
45. Wonder where toddler's book went.
46. Realize you now no longer own the book.
47. Try and remember what was on your list.
48. Tell toddler to stop licking the cart handle.
49. Head to baking aisle.
50. Look for cake mix.
51. Turn around to see toddler has managed to rotate backwards in the seat despite the safety belt.
52. Unbuckle toddler, rotate facing forward, pull legs through leg hole, buckle tighter.
53. Resume looking at cake mixes.
54. Notice toddler has gotten both arms under safety belt and slid belt up to their neck.
55. Scold toddler and replace buckle to its appropriate location.
56. Resume looking at cake mixes.
57. Hear toddler loudly asking why someone has a big nose.
58. Hastily apologize, make no eye contact, and abandon the cake mixes.
59. Head to cereal aisle.
60. Explain to toddler why we can't buy twelve kinds of marshmallow cereal.
61. Attempt to calm tantrum.
62. Wonder how and when toddler became in possession of a jar of mayonnaise.
63. Attempt to remove mayonnaise from toddler's hands and replace with a cart item.
64. Watch toddler throw cart item in a fit of toddler rage.
65. Give toddler back mayonnaise and explain they can hold it, but it won't be coming home with us.
66. Head back to produce to get forgotten apples.
67. Stop to look at the lobster tank.
68. Attempt to calm tantrum upon departure from lobster tank.
69. Get to the apples and look for the least bruised ones.
70. Look up to see toddler eating an apple.
71. Quickly remove apple from toddler and toss into produce bag.
72. Attempt to calm tantrum.
73. Fail at calming tantrum.
74. Feel eyes beating down upon you from every direction.
75. Become aware of how much a scream can echo off a commercial grade ceiling.
76. Abandon ideals of firm parenting, open, and thrust unpurchased box of crackers into your toddler's lap.
77. Quickly start grabbing items you believe were on your grocery list—time is of the essence.
78. Turn around just in time to see toddler dump contents of cracker box on floor.
79. Explain why we don’t eat off the floor. Again.
80. Fail at calming tantrum.
81. Make a beeline for the nearest checkout lane.
82. Silently curse the store for having 30 checkout lanes and only two open.
83. Get in line behind 5 people, one with two full carts.
84. Silently curse the person with two full carts.
85. Watch toddler pull Houdini moves to escape safety belt.
86. Attempt to distract toddler with keys, lip gloss, wallet, mirrored compact, and other purse contents.
88. Explain to toddler why we can't buy candy.
89. Be amazed at toddler's lung power.
90. Apologize to everyone around you.
91. Avoid eye contact.
92. Watch toddler escape from safety belt again and wonder if it is safer to set toddler free or hold on to now-standing-in-the-child-seat toddler's arm.
93. Decide both are terrible plans and wrestle toddler back into seat while whispering life long time-out threats into toddler's ear.
94. Apologetically throw all your purchases, including empty cracker box and half eaten apple at the cashier.
95. Forget to use your coupons.
96. Exit store feeling like you have run a marathon.
97. Drive home contemplating what you will make for dinner with bananas, milk, a half eaten apple, three boxes of marshmallow cereal ... and mayonnaise.
98. Realize you forget child seat liner in shopping cart.
99. Silently curse grocery shopping and vow never to go again with toddler.
100. Turn around to see peacefully sleeping toddler in the car seat and realize how much you love motherhood. Most of the time.
This article was originally published at Scary Mommy. Reprinted with permission from the author.