Opportunities to leave the house without the kids in tow have become a rare and wonderful thing.
A solo expedition to the supermarket is now one of my favourite things to do and actually feels like a sneaky bit of ‘me time’.
Here are my 10 reasons why; If ever there is a need for one of us (me or my husband) to just ‘pop and get a few bits’ from Saino’s – I’m ALL OVER IT.
- Leaving the house – look at me just popping my jacket and shoes and then, well, going out. I did not cry because my jumper sleeves got bunched in my coat sleeves. I did not poo myself just as I was about to step out of the door. I did not spend 10 minutes colouring Rapunzal’s face instead of getting my shoes on. I did not have fill a backpack full of emergency breadsticks and nobody had to count to three before I got my shit together. I simply leave the house feeling liberated and freeeeee! (And all of the obligatory guilt associated with that).
- Getting in the car – look at me just opening the car door and then, well, getting in. I did not first have to stop on the path to inspect a snail shell. I did not have to go through the ritual of opening and closing the front gate ‘all by my own.’ I did not have to spend two minutes tonguing the car window with my nose squashed against the glass. I did not turn myself in to a stiff plank, arch my back or let out an ear piercing scream as I tried to sit myself down. I just got in, without making a mammoth faff. Click. Brum drum, off we go!! WOO HOO!
- I pull out of the driveway feeling like one of Thelma and Louise (I’ll go with Louise as that is actually my name) Let’s go wild and open the sun roof!
- My finger hits the radio ON button, I’m hoping for something peppy that isn’t Peppa and the radio delivers a cheesy classic that instantly lifts my spirits. I am OUT. I put my sunglasses on. They are so smeared with tiny finger prints, I nearly go through a red light. I take them off again. It’s ok. It’s all good. ‘Yeah I wanna dance with somebody…la la la..’
- Arrive at the supermarket and grapple with my conscience about whether or not I can get away with parking in the parent and child zone even though I don’t have the kids with me… Nope. Can’t do it. Have to park miles away but realise that that’s fine because I can just, you know, walk. Nicely. Quickly. Safely and not in a ‘ministry’ fashion, all the way to the entrance. Check.me.out.
- Browsing. This is the ultimate in luxuriation. A good, lengthy, uninterrupted browse can feel as uplifting as any spa treatment. On a recent lone trip I found myself perving over Rimmel lipsticks for a good 15 minutes before remembering I was only supposed to be ‘picking up a few bits’. I’d gone in to a kind of meditative state where my mind had emptied of all thoughts other than ‘This one.. or this one?’ as I swiped swathes of brightly coloured grease across the back of my hand. Somehow ‘In love with ginger’ had snuck it’s way in to the basket. I don’t even wear lipstick. When I got back home and put some on, my husband stared blankly at me before asking if I was having an early mid life crisis. Yes, is probably the answer.
- No one suddenly and very desperately needs the toilet when we are at the furthest point from the bog, with a trolly full of shopping and the beginnings of a migraine. I don’t need to say ‘go and put that back’ 20 times as someone repeatedly drops random items in the trolly. No one talks at me whilst I‘m trying to construct a weeks worth of dinners in my head and then deconstruct each one in to a list of ingredients. No one licks the end of a baguette so that I have to buy it whether I want it or not. (Incidentally, how many people don’t buy baguettes that their children have licked? How many baguettes have we eaten that have been pre licked by someone else child?) I don’t have to open various packets of food before I’ve paid for them so that my children can eat their way out of any impending meltdowns. Always disheartening to arrive home with mostly empty wrappers.
- Look at me having a conversation with a grown up! Since having kids I have become one of the people I used to dread bumping in to. Naturally quite shy, I had no time for small talk, especially not at the supermarket checkout. Nowadays I find myself instigating conversations with anyone who makes eye contact with me. In fact they don’t even need to make eye contact. In fact I may even just be talking to myself.. No one is safe; from the person at the demo stand handing out tiny cubes of Wensleydale, to the fellow shopper beside me in the veg section, having a good squeeze on the avocados. I have become the chatty nut nut who will ear wig other peoples conversations before butting in with my advice/opinion/witty quip. I’m pretty sure people love it when I do that.
- A bit more fresh air as I casually steer the trolly back through the car park (and around it a couple of times. I have forgotten where I parked the car as it is not in the usual zone). These wonky wheels make for a good work out on the hips and waist as I negotiate the rows and rows of cars. And I don’t need to bark ‘Stay by me!’ ‘This is a car park!’ ‘Don’t run off!’ or ‘Hold on to the trolly!’ in an attempt to stop my children from being squashed by reversing vehicles.
- Some more in car boogie-ing on the return journey leaves me feeling thoroughly refreshed!
Obviously it would be unwise to broadcast these feelings upon arriving home and so when my husband asks me with sympathy and trepidation in his voice ‘Are you OK? How was it?’ I opt for; ‘Oh it was so manic, I’ve never known it so busy! I couldn’t park anywhere near the entrance. It took me ages to get round the shop and the checkout person was SO chatty, I couldn’t get away!! Honestly, you would have hated it.’