... because soooo many people ask me, "How do you do it with all of your kids?" Or they tell me I'm some kind of super-mom. No, I'm not at all! I'm super-cheap and if I send my husband to the store, he comes back with $100 worth of potato chips and crappy sushi. If I try to get a baby sitter, I may as well have just ordered my groceries online from a pricey store for pickup. I'm just cheap. So I take extra time and put forth extra effort to haul the brood of infant twins and toddler to the store... you know, the same reason I buy the giant bag of carrots and spend hours peeling and cutting them into carrot sticks to keep from having to pay for baby carrots.
So here's how it goes.
Step 1: Load car. Addie gets lifted over the rear seats and clipped in. Jordan gets clipped in next to Jack. Jack gets clipped in. Play DVD.
Step 2: At store, unclip Jordan's infant carrier, place in trunk. Climb into trunk, unclip Addie's infant carrier, place in trunk. Get Jack out, stand him next to trunk. Hook one arm through each infant carrier and instruct Jack to "help me carry a baby" so that he holds on to the handle of one of the carriers while we walk across the parking lot.
Step 3: Pray he doesn't let go.
Step 4: Procure two shopping carts. Set babies down, put Jack in the seat of one cart, place one baby carrier on seat of 2nd cart with 3rd child in carrier in the basket of the 2nd cart. Now I have a twin cart and a Jack/food cart.
Step 5: Begin shopping. Push one cart, pull other cart. Apologize profusely to people who get stuck behind us.
Step 6: Politely try to disengage myself from conversations with well-meaning people every other aisle.
Step 7: Push one cart around a turn, assure child I'll be right back, sprint back and grab 2nd cart and navigate it around said turn, rewarding all children with kisses and praise for being so patient.
Step 8: Ignore glares from other shoppers when BOTH my carts are blocking the coffee shelves. Shurg shoulders and continue shopping.
Step 9: Plead with baby to stop crying, plead with people to stop talking to me, and plead with God to grant me patience.
Step 10: Check out. Lead with kid-cart, sandwich myself between the 2 carts to pull the food cart through the lane, unloading groceries alternating with bestowing kisses.
Step 11: Push and pull carts to car. Load Jack. Load Jordan. Load Addie. Start car, start A/C, start DVD. Load groceries.
Step 12: Get home, leave car running, leave A/C on, leave DVD on, unload groceries, check on kids, put frozen food away. Get Jordan, get Addie, get Jack. Put fridge stuff away. Nurse Jordan, nurse Addie, bribe Jack. Put pantry stuff away.
Step 13: Crumple onto couch and remind myself that I spend $250 on groceries for 5 every other week and the effort is SOOO worth it.
It really isn't too bad. I just have to know that everything will take extra time and prepare for that. A 45 minute trip is a 2-hour trip now, and as long as I plan for that, I can do it. I pack a diaper bag and a snack bag for Jack the night before. I memorize my list AND carry another copy with me. I forgive myself for forgetting things and I don't make any apologies to people for my crying babies because we're all just doing what we have to do to get by. I go during off-peak times and I repeat the same routine time and time again because fewer deviations make for happier kids and give me a prayer of keeping things somewhat streamlined. Methodical. Slow. Patient.
And at the end of it, I feel a sense of accomplishment equal to turning in a 30-page end-of-semester paper and can enjoy the next 2 weeks of a well-stocked pantry before taking the circus to the store again. You see, I'm not "Super Mom"... it's just a method. Like Bob Ross and his paintings. Not Van Gogh-quality, but anyone can do it if they just know the steps.
Coming up soon: bath time with 3 under 3 and breastfeeding twins...
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