One of the BEST developments for parents everywhere is the ability to grocery shop online. I managed to avoid proper shopping for the last 6 years. No more dodging the “I want this” minefield. The ticking tantrum timer had finally been defused. Shopping was now a peaceful experience done from home, with coffee in hand. Things on the list were ways bought, the budget was mostly stuck to, and nothing extra ended up in the basket. Absolute bliss….until COVID-19 happened.
Suddenly thrust into a global pandemic, people were panic buying, and the beloved online grocery slots were no longer available. Everyone was quarantined with only household contact allowed, so I had no one to watch the kids while I bought food. Now I was faced with an actual grocery shop, accompanied by three small kids (terrifying on it’s own), amid a virus pandemic.
I wasn’t prepared for this scenario and who really was? Time to improvise. We would use our winter scarves around our mouths as makeshift masks. We would also keep our winter gloves on, mostly just as a physical reminder not to touch our faces. Luckily, I had a bottle of hand sanitizer in my purse, because the shelves were stripped bare. Each of my children age 10, 8, and 4 were then instructed with military precision: Do not go near other people, do not leave my side, do not touch anything we were not buying, and most importantly, don’t touch your face.
Looking like some kind of winter ninja rejects in April, it was time to enter the store. The youngest 2 boys were hyped pretending to be on a secret mission. My daughter scanned for invisible virus taint everywhere, arms tucked up into her armpits, scowl in place. As for me, I was channeling a hyper vigilant drill instructor, with ”Don’t touch…” becoming my new 30 second mantra.
To our surprise, the shops had been stripped bare. We were greeted with rows and rows of empty shelves, with random sections completely untouched. Clearly the shopping list was useless and I was going to have to wing it. I started grabbing random leftover items, attempting to make it resemble a week’s worth of food. It was looking rather depressing until I hit the seasonal Easter aisle. There I managed to find a bag of bunny shaped pasta and felt like I hit the jackpot.
When we finally made it out of the shop, the kids were lined up beside the car, as I put the shopping in. Armed with an empty bag, I carefully removed their gloves and scarves, ensuring no potentially contaminated areas touched their face. Then the hand sanitizer was out so everyone got a double wash before getting in the car.
Mission pandemic shop was a success and now it was back to lockdown with kid, and battles over dinner time. Do you want to share your pandemic shopping experience with us? Join in the conversation in the comments below and share your story.