kids

The emotional stages of shopping with your kids.

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Shopping centres are magical places.

When I say magic, I mean, because the moment we step through the doors, my son undergoes a mystical transformation from a nice, friendly little boy into the devil incarnate.

Something about all those colours and stimulating products on the shelves turns him as feral as a bush turkey with rabies.

Clea with her son. Image: supplied.

These are the stages that I go through each and every time we hit the shops together:

1. Optimism.

The first time I went shopping with my son he was just a few months old. I’d dropped the car off for a service and I thought we would spend a couple of hours at the mall together and have a nice time. I pictured us cruising the shops as everyone stopped to tell me how gorgeous my child was. I thought I’d get the new luggage I needed then we would have a lovely mother and son lunch together.

2. Frustration.

It turns out that my son is not a fan of the pram. When he was too little to walk he demanded to be carried everywhere we went. It was either that or wheel him around while he screamed louder than Axl Rose.

Since he has learned to walk, shopping is even less fun. He takes off down the aisles and the only way I can track him down is to follow the sound of his maniacal laugh. One time we went to Spotlight and I spent over 20 minutes trying to pin him down and prevent him from hurling cushions at strangers.

"Since he has learned to walk, shopping is even less fun." Image via iStock.
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3. Embarrassment.

Fortunately, they don’t arrest toddlers for streaking in furniture stores. If they did, my son would well and truly have a criminal record for hurling himself, sans pants, onto a white suede couch at Domayne.

I’m that mother. The one who is constantly trying to tidy up the shelves and apologising because their child got away from them and wreaked havoc on the glitter display.

4. Desperation.

That aforementioned day when I went looking for luggage, I scored a bargain. But that meant I had to try and exit the shopping centre with a giant suitcase, a pram and a baby who would only be carried. All I wanted to do was get out of there. But with everything in tow I kept bumping into things and progress was slow. And of course the lifts were full – full of other mothers in the same situation.

Now that my son is older, desperation comes in the form of bribery. “Yes darling, you can have an ice cream, IF you would just try on these shoes. Please stop screaming and clawing at the floor, trying to get away from me like you are an extra in a horror movie.”

shopping with kids
"Desperation comes in the form of bribery.” Image via iStock.

5. Resolution.

Never again.

How many times have we all said that?

Along with driving to Sydney International Airport in peak hour, never, ever, EVER again will I take my toddler to the shops on my own.

I recently discovered the joys of online shopping – have you heard of it? It means no more shrieking demon-child, no more desperate bargaining and lots more time to go play at the park and actually enjoy ourselves together.

How do you manage the kids while shopping?