Errands with children

How is this done with four? Really?
I can barely do it with two. Notice my technique: both kids in the cart, food spilling out from underneath, bribing both kids with food and drink. I am all about containing the kids in the cart. I can't have them running around the store. But how will I manage four? They won't all fit in the cart.
Will I just buy those harnesses and strap two of them to the side of the cart? And get dirty looks and nasty comments for leashing my kids? Then again, you get dirty looks and nasty comments if the kids are running around, too. It seems like a lose-lose situation.
And I refuse to get a sitter or wait until Mark is home and suck up my downtime to do something like GROCERY SHOPPING. No, I must figure this out.
Two carts?
Human chain?
Daycare rope?


  1. I give my kids little jobs to do. They prowl the produce section looking for six green apples, or three carrots, or two oranges. Now that they are older, I will give them even more specific pieces to search for. It helps me to get out of the store faster and gives them something productive to do. Usually I end up in the store when there are only sweet little old ladies around. They usually think it's pretty cute to see a couple of little boys running around helping their mommy. But a daycare rope doesn't sound like a bad idea either. :)

  2. Oh...I so enjoy evening shopping. I go to Starbucks. I enjoy a coffee and leisurely stroll through Trader Joe's. It's fantastic.

    Although, now I'm a fan of Fresh & Easy. And they have tons of samples AND they give the kids coloring books. That's nice too.

  3. We go to a grocery store that has a playroom. Yes, God bless them, have you ever heard of such a thing? Of course, you have to be at least 3 and potty trained, which won't help you too much, but it's a start. Barring that, my kids know that it is their job not to lose ME.. not the other way around. (of course I watch them, too). When we are walking someplace, I say "Line up" and they line up behind me by height so that I can take a quick glance behind me and see that they are all there. Or we do partners. At the grocery store, it is one in the seat, one standing on the back, and sometimes if there is bad behavior, a kid holding onto the side. Also, you need a grocery store that has those huge fun carts to ride in... like a car with seat belts on the front. Your grocery store does not look very kid friendly.

    Or, grocery shopping will become your "Get Away From the Kids" time on the weekend while Mark watches them all, and you will linger as long as you possible can doing it.

  4. We just gave up eating for a while after Noah was born. ;)

    DO you have a friend who would swap baby sitting during grocery shopping times?

  5. I would search out stores that had those massive carts (that look like bumper cars or something?). The kids thought they were so cool. I could fit two in the car part and two in the actual CART part (say that three times fast).

    This was when we had a foster baby in tow, so I had four kids six and down.

    It was no longer about finding the bargains, or shopping at the place closest to home. It was all about the MASSIVE grocery carts.

    If you CAN'T find one of those, always go in the mornings when it is fairly quiet in the stores. I've also been known to keep Skittles in my pocket, and give them a "prize" if they can count the number of floor tiles on each aisle. ;)

  6. I agree, find the stores that have those big carts. Here they have one's that have a truck face on them. The kids sit in the truck and it frees up the cart for groceries. A third one will fit in the front of the cart as well....and there is also a sling for the baby??

    or just order in a lot...

  7. Gone are the days when we (5 children) were locked in the car for an hour while my mom shopped in peace. I tried the leash idea and Russell only went limp on the floor. I think this is why so many kids are in preschools;-)

  8. Good ol Publix in Florida has one of those car contraption 2 get to sit in the drivers seat and they give you 2 steering wheels so they don't fight and then you can put the other 2 in the cart!!! Does your grocery store have these?

  9. In Illinois the markets have carts that have two seats attached to the front of the cart. So two kids will go there, one will go in the baby seat of the cart, and one will go in your sling/bjorn. I can't imagine Ralphs or other stores not having those types of carts.

  10. Oh Hillary, that's a funny reminder. My mom left us in the car while she shopped, too.

    Unfortunately I am a Trader Jo's devotee for my groceries. It is SO much more economical to shop there, and the only way I can afford all the organic/healthy items we love. So we are stuck with smallish carts and no car cart in site. I do love those things when I go to Target!!

  11. my mom DID wait for my dad to get home and went by herself.

    she said it was WORTH IT to use some of her alone time because it was easier and WAY faster.

    also, maybe don't consider it your 'alone time.' consider it an errand ... that way ... mark still has to give you your REAL alone time


    and i'll re-read this comment some day when i have kids and i'm sure i'll laugh at myself for my IGNORANCE BEFORE KIDS comment.


  12. Give Mark the list and have HIM go do the groceries on HIS downtime. hehe. Sorry Mark. :)

  13. JennGB5:46 PM

    today I conquered Costco with three kids! I was so proud of myself. No fancy carts, but they are massive!

  14. When I go to the grocery store alone {once in a million years} I get at least 5 employees say, "Hey! You get a break, huh?!" Very sad. And TJ's does NOT come with the silly kids carts that are impossible to maneuver. I go to the "candy" aisle first, grab a pack of organic lollipops, distribute pops, and threaten if they don't stay within reach of the cart, they may have to go home with a new family. Somehow I always manage to make it home with the same three kids :)

  15. i only have one baby, and i have no idea what you'll do with four, but wearing your baby in a sling will at least keep your hands free, baby calm, and give you more space in the cart. good luck!

  16. Well, duh! You have to do it the ways Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt do it with their six-- you assign a nanny
    (of the twelve) to each child. No wait! My bad. They send their personal chef(s) and assistants to... OMG! That's not right either. I forgot. Angie just doesn't eat.;-)

  17. Omigosh, Candis, you are hilarious.

  18. Don't ask "how" but "why" would you want to go to the store with 4 children? You will totally lose your train of thought, never purchase what you went in to get and eventually have to go back without them !! Let Mark stay with them!! And take your time, and if you happen to make a stop or two for yourself along the way before you get to the grocery store, no one will ever know and you have squeezed in a little extra you time !! A happy Mom is well a happy Mom !! And there is nothing wrong with that picture.

  19. I go to the grocery store EVERY WEEK with my kiddies (3 under then age of 4).... We just do it!!!

    I lay down what I expect and we go from there...LOL! Sure some days are horrible but usually when I give the kids the responsibility of being "good helpers", holding coupons, or getting stuff off the shelf the kids do really well:)

    My now 3 yr old son has started the wander off bit... quite frustrating and so I'm brought in our "leash"... some days it works other days its more of a hassel.

    And I try to promise a snack that they'll get at the end of the trip (which I try to keep short by using a list)! And when they were a little younger I kept Tic-tacs in my pocket and would give them out as I saw the kids having good behavior. When they started to get wild or fussy, I'd just shake my pocket and they'd all get straight again:)

    And you can catch us in the dairy aisle eating Lenders bagels... it's become almost a tradition:)

  20. I'm thinking, "Hey Dad, you keep these for an hour while I run to the store" seems to be appropriate. ;)

    I only have one and I still have a hard time!! It's just easier to leave her at home with her daddy and go by myself when we have that time. Or we both go with her on the way home from work--dad pushes the stroller, I push the cart.


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