Parenting Essay: Grocery Shopping with Kids in Tow

By Carolyn Richardson

Parenting Essay: GroceriesI know what you’re thinking. There’s no such thing as grocery shopping with one baby, let alone three. But I have my parenting ways. That is because I ask for help.

A few appointments ran long while the kids were at daycare, so there I was at Albertsons in Reseda after picking up my 6-month-old twins and my very active 3-year-old. I walked into the store, and before I could even get to the first aisle I realized there was no way I could do this on my own.

The Ask

So, I went to the front desk and asked if a bagger could push the cart for me and walk around the store to get things off the shelf. I was sure this was not going to go over smoothly, or that I’d have to wait a long time as the store seemed busy, but, voila, here comes Tariq, a minute later, ready to take me on my grand grocery shopping tour.

Doing My Part

I had a list and he knew where everything was, so I was able to push the kids in my mega-stroller (the Baby Trend Navigator Double Jogger, that is) and just tell him what was next to get. While some outstretched arms and screams did come from the 3-year-old in the ice cream aisle, there was little fuss during our trip and I got to the register in about 35 minutes. This, my friends, was a personal best even without the kids, and I was truly floored by how much of a blessing Tariq and his pushing my grocery cart, picking things off the shelf and helping me to the car was for my schedule and my psyche. What would happen if I could make a grocery-shopping appointment?!

Come On Grocery Stores!

It seems like a no-brainer that a grocery store would offer this kind of help, especially to a mom toting three kids. But far too often we don’t really think we can ask for VIP service for grocery shopping, and grocery stores don’t usually aim to make customers feel special. I do think it’s kind of crazy, though, that they have people available to help you to your car, but not in the store. This has to change. We are the feeders of families, loyal as all get-out and craving some extra time and energy. Grocery shopping can take an hour or more even if you’re alone. You deserve this kind of help.

So, go ahead. Ask your local grocer for your own personal bagger/cart-pusher/shelf-picker, with or without the kids. If they say no, go to another store. Anywhere you spend hundreds of dollars a month should offer you VIP treatment. Seriously.

FYI, I got the same treatment (after asking for it) at Ralphs in Encino, and have called in advance to Whole Foods and Sprouts, Tarzana and Chatsworth respectively, to have them bag and/or cart certain items for me prior to my arrival. Lastly, after begging a Target team member to take some formula to Guest Services for me, I had a manager bring it out to my car – twice. Call me crazy, but I needed the help!

What about you? What could make grocery shopping easier for you and your family?

Carolyn Richardson is an L.A. Parent contributor and mom of three who writes the Family Valet blog. Visit her online at

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