The few weeks before school starts and tips on a happy shopping trip for families

A feeling of unease has crept into my stomach as it dawns on me that school is on the horizon. It's not that I hate school, rather it's that feeling I got as a kid knowing that free time, my time would be over. I know my kids are feeling some of this as they are thinking about backpacks, supplies and clothing. We went clothes shopping today. We don't do this often because it is expensive and usually I get some basics as the summer goes on. However, having my feet out of commission from healing from blisters and now I sprained my ankle, we had to wait.

So, after being stressed out at the store, frustrated at kids who seem like the most annoying cats on leashes (if we leashed cats in a store) and wandering around like aimless shopping zombies, I came up with a list of things for shoppers with a family in tow or just with a spouse or friend. This list is #1 list for shopping. Feel free to share and to print. It will save you stress and anxiety.

1. Always eat before you leave to go shopping. You will need food. You will need food and drink for walking around aimlessly searching for basic stuffs. You need sustenance and hydration. If you are lucky you will be in a store that has food nearby. This is handy. Use it. If not, eat before you leave. If you have a child under 15, bring snacks in your bag. If you have someone 16 and up, bring snacks in your bag.  If you bring someone who is under you elbow, bring snacks and a stroller. Do not let the little one scream at high pitched volume and ignore. Give them snacks/drink place in stroller and then either leave or sit and rest with them. They are your alarm that you are hungry too. You just do not know it.

2. Write down all the sizes of crucial body parts to get proper clothing sizes. Do not let them talk you out of it. This is golden material. If possible, take the list and go shopping minus the bodies and have some free time for your self. Taking a teen shopping who is cranky, hungry, either glued to your back or wandering around in the clothing isles is not fun for you or anyone in the radius of 20 feet...30 feet. It is stressful and annoying.

3. You spouse, your team players, your pose will become some strange echo chamber that will have all their worst attributes on parade for you for no other reason then the lighting is different from you home. They will stagger about in strange steps, whine, complain, if possible cry. All because we are looking for shoes.

4. Don't bother guessing. Don't. Don't look at the prices (though, look and shake your head in dismay). get someone to measure your kids feet. Ignore their stinky feet from their crocs. Just get it done and get out. Look for the lowest price, if possible but get out fast.

5. Do not respond to any complaints. This should be the second in the list, probably. If you respond, your blood pressure will go up and you will feel defeated to get through this. Just turn off any responses you would have made and ignore. This is a good quality to master for most any occasion regarding a teenager. Look sad and try to empathize but move on.

6. It is all right to take breaks. Do not do a full nine yards of shopping. it is too much to ask. No one was made to conquer this in a day, let alone an hour or two, let alone with 2 teens and a kid and a husband who's gone into shopping shock.

7. After shopping, get food treats. Munch on the way home. Give people a good feeling for shopping and remember to feed before you leave the next time. It's life, a learning experience. It's okay.

8. Take a nap. Sleep will heal all. If possible, get teens to nap too...most likely, they won't but at least nap for your self. That is the balance part of life. Everyone needs a nap.

There you go. My list for shopping with a family. Don't take to heart what is said in shopping trips. Try to focus on good things. Positive feelings. Always feed before leaving and nap to heal. I hope most of you have gotten all of your supplies already. I still have to get notebooks but the shoes and stuff are done. woo hoo! And I got a good long nap too. :)


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