How do you shop?

I have lots and lots of twin mommy friends from my twin club, and we’ve all discussed this topic at great length. There seems to be two schools of thought:

1. There’s no way in hell I’m taking my kids to the store, they can spend some time with Daddy, I need some time by myself to peruse the Lean Cuisines, and I don’t care if it’s midnight when I finally get to the store.

and

2. I don’t care if people stare at us, I don’t care if we’re in people’s way, I don’t care if the kids are making a scene, we need groceries, and I need to get out of this house and see some sunshine before their third birthday.

I’ve noticed there are many moms who flat out refuse to take their kids shopping unless they absolutely must, and there are just as many who take their kids everywhere. It’s been something of a point of contention between my husband and I, because HE thinks we should stay home, thus avoiding car accidents, stray dog attacks, purse snatchers, kidnappers, and cold germs. Of COURSE he thinks this, since he’s away from the Casa de Chaos for ten hours a day. I, on the other hand, spend most of my life right here in this very kitchen, standing at this very counter. I get to where I feel like my eyeballs are sunburned from all the Playhouse Disney. I need to sit and drink cocktails chat with my mommy friends at someone else’s house while the kids color on the walls once in awhile.

First shopping trip alone. So, from the very beginning, I’ve been putting myself out there in the world. One of the things I was dreading when I found out I was expecting my second set of twins was the whole logistics of GETTING anywhere. What I’ve discovered, though, is that it’s not that big of a deal. I mean, sometimes it sucks – when the weather is cold, when people at the mall let the door shut in my face when they see me struggling to get my stroller inside, when people make comments like, “I would kill myself if I had that many children.” (Yeah. Somebody actually said that!) But for the most part, it’s no biggie. When our second set of twins was a couple of months old, I decided it was time for me to figure out how to go shopping. I went to a store where I knew I’d be able to get my hands on one of those big shopping carts with the toddler seats, and I buckled my one-and-a-half year old kids into the seats and I put the two infant seats on top of the cart. Hey, it worked? I had to shove the groceries underneath one of the infant seats, but by golly, we managed. We got a lot of stares and comments, but I felt so completely VICTORIOUS on the drive home, I was practically in tears!

The answer to But babies grow quickly, and it wasn’t long at all before I realized we were going to have to figure something else out. The kids were just getting too big for me to sling them around in their infant seats. We needed another option. The answer for us was the Quad Stroller! Now, this is no wimpy plastic stroller from Babies ‘R Us. This is commercial grade, designed for daycare centers. It’s all metal and weighs EIGHTY POUNDS. (Yet another example of something you can do when you realize you’re out of options: lifting an 80-pound stroller in and out the back of your van!) It’s not the prettiest stroller in the world, but my God, I had a love affair with that thing. With the quad stroller, we could go anywhere – the zoo, the mall, the park – and yes, the supermarket. I somehow figured out how to push the stroller with one hand and pull the cart behind me with the other. My research has indicated that this is the method most twin mamas employ while grocery shopping with very young children.

Time for School! You make it work. That’s something I wish someone would have told me when I was expecting twins: you’ll figure out a way. If it’s something you feel like you need to do, you’ll figure it out. And honestly, that time period goes by in the blink of an eye. Now I long for the days when I had no choice but to push the ginormous stroller around, because I knew where all the kids were! Now, they all want to walk, and I spend all my time counting them to make sure we haven’t lost anyone!

13 thoughts on “How do you shop?

  1. I only have twins and I had a guy say the whole “I’d kill myself” thing. Ugh…it doesn’t bother me as much now as it will when they actually understand idiots like that. Oh well. I too do the pull the cart thing when I can’t shove what I am getting into my basket underneath the duoglider. I am impressed that you do it with 4. You are an inspiration to those of us with “only” one set of twins :) I think one of the perks of these outing too is how great you feel afterword that you accomplished such a task. I always love mentioning it matter of factly to my in-laws as if it was just the natural thing to do :) Yes I am shameless!

  2. I am impressed…and inspired! And after lugging that 80lb stroller, you must have either biceps of steel, or a really bad back!

  3. God Bless you for going out with 4! I have a hard time with my two. I’ve found that when I take them both out alone, I get more attention from people and end up spending double the time out. Grrrrrrrrrr.

  4. i do the ‘one in the seat with belt, one in the backpack’. strap a toy to the seat, make sure the one in the backpack has a dot (paci) and do it all in 25 minutes because at 10 months they just hang in there. we twin mamas can always find a way. and the quad stroller sounds rad, but a little scary.

  5. I always get looks and comments when out and about with my kids. Often something along the lines of “you’re so brave to be out with them.” Brave?! Brave has nothing to do with it. Staying at home, alone, 24/7, with two infants is the shortest road to crazy-town. Gotta leave the house for your own sanity. My first solo outing with them was when they were about three weeks old, and like most other multiple moms, I’ve been “figuring it out” ever since. Hey, now that they’re sitting, I bet I can even put one or both of them in the cart!

  6. Ah, “crazy town”. Aren’t we all headed there some days?

    I have to say, I do my big grocery shoppings using Peapod (grocery delivery). I’ll do little trips, but it’s limited by what I can fit underneath the stroller. Or, I wait until the weekend and we both go and each baby gets to ride in a cart.

  7. I would surely go nuts if I stayed home 24/7. I go out about 3 times per week and always get the stares and the comments. I enjoy my time out and took your previous advice “quit while your ahead”

  8. You sound just like me…people think I’m insane, but by golly I had to figure out a way to do it alone! Esp since I don’t have the luxury of regular help. I totally want one of those quad strollers. I was a regular walker before the girls were born. I’d just throw the boys in the jogging stroller and off we’d go. I have yet to figure out a way to do that now, short of getting a quad stroller. I just have to convince the husband of it’s worth.

    I’ve also gotten the “I’d kill myself” and “Are they all yours” comments. It’s funny I think why on God’s green earth would I bring 4 kids ages 4 and under to the grocery store if they weren’t mine and I didn’t have to-I mean for real people.

    I do a lot of one baby in the bjorn or maximom and one baby in the cart and then the boys in the basket. I’ve also put everyone in one basket and pulled another. That’s hard, mostly because you draw so much attention.

    I’m not really big on the attention…does it go away as they get older or are people always fascinated with multiplies?

  9. @ Krissy – I have biceps of steel AND a bad back. Ha! True story: I was taking a nice, leisurely bubble bath one evening (which rarely happens in my life) and while I was lathering up, I felt a weird lump in my arm and thought it was a tumor or something. It took me a minute to realize it was a MUSCLE! I’ve never had muscles before!

    @ Goddess in Progress – I totally get annoyed by the “You’re so brave!” comments too. We’re out of diapers, dude. Just doing what we’ve gotta do!

    @ courtney – I’m not big on the attention either. And my non-twin mommy friends can’t understand this at all. But yeah, I’m pleased to report that the stares and comments decrease significantly once they’re all walking. One of my sets of twins is boy/girl, and they’re different heights, so they aren’t OBVIOUSLY twins like the little girls are. I think that helps.

  10. I love this site! I’m a mommy of a 19-month old and am 30 weeks pregnant with b/g twins. I love reading advice from all of you incredibly inspiring and strong women. I can do it too! Thanks for the time you spend to do this blog! Your time is certainly precious. Thanks again!

  11. I completely agree with Jen. This site is fantastic! My twins are just four weeks old (I also have a 2yr old) and some days are so overwhelming I feel like I’m drowning. Reading this blog helps me feel like 1)I’m not the only one 2)Things will eventually work themselves out to a “new normal”. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU ladies for keeping this blog up to date! It truly is my daily source of sanity and salvation.

  12. I go back and forth on this. If I can shop by myself I will, if I have to take them I will.

    That being said, my twins are almost four. When they were three months old you couldn’t have paid me to leave the house with them all by myself.

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