I am on record as a Stay-at-home Dad who isn’t a big fan of being a stay-at-home dad.
There are some things I like about it, such as spending quality one-on-one time with my son and slowly making myself his favorite parent, thus severing the sacred bond between mother and son. But everything else? Pretty much sucks.
Especially going grocery shopping with kids.
Going grocery shopping in Raleigh is vastly different than going grocery shopping in Brooklyn. For one thing, we had no car in NY. So we’d just order what we needed online and have it delivered. No muss, no fuss, no toddler grabbing things off the shelves.
Down here, though, you need a car. So we just bought one over the weekend, in a grueling five-hour bullshit session in which we totally got everything we wanted (read: a shitload more debt and nothing we wanted). So earlier today, my son and I went to the nearest Harris Teeter to do some shopping since all we have left in the fridge is turkey and congealed cranberry sauce. And stuffing with cherries in it. For the last time, woman: GET YOUR FRUIT OUT OF EVERYTHING THAT’S NOT OTHER FRUIT!
I hate grocery shopping. Now, I hate shopping for just about everything, but going grocery shopping is its own special torture. When we actually went into a bodega or mini-grocery store in Brooklyn – I say “mini” because there simply isn’t enough real estate for the huge, sprawling stores you get in the suburbs…or in Raleigh – we just targeted the things we needed and took what they had with little fuss, mostly because with less shelf space we had fewer options. Grocery shopping outside of a city is an ordeal. It’s not an errand, it’s a Herculean task. It’s like going from shopping at Qwik-E-Mart to shopping at Monstromart.
The grocery store in my new town is enormous and overwhelming and in the South, which makes the experience even less fun than normal. I stood in the mustard aisle for ages trying to decide. It wasn’t easy; there were varieties to consider, and exotic brands, and coupons! How could I not use a coupon! (P.S. I HATE MYSELF.)
There’s just too much stuff and too many aisles and tons of housewives (how you doin’?). It’s all very confusing and very time-consuming and not fun at all. You need clarity of purpose and a good deal of endurance, and when you are pushing a carriage with a toddler mounted on it, clarity and endurance are hard to come by. All the kid does is point at, talk about and reach for the things he wants, which is everything. Which is super delightful. (I had friends in college who loved going to the grocery store stoned, which I can’t even imagine. It took me the better part of an hour just to choose a mustard, and I was dead sober! Anyway, they all went broke buying Ben and Jerry’s and cheez whiz and had to drop out.)
Four hours and several hundred dollars later, I finally got home, unloaded everything while my kid was wrapped around my legs screaming for something called “strawbaloobers!!!” and then my wife got home and told me that I’d gone to the too-expensive store and forgotten several necessary ingredients.
Thankfully we now have a car. So I hopped in and was on my way back to the store when I accidentally took a wrong turn and ended up on the highway out of town.