Mom Struggles With Two Under Two – Grocery Shopping


As a parent of two young toddlers, I’ve faced some serious mom struggles when it comes to grocery shopping. 

I’ve been lucky to not have had any major issues or disasters, other than a few embarrassing moments here and there. But with two kids under two, the logistics of grocery shopping got very complicated for a while and I serioulsy struggled. 

Main mom struggles of shopping with two under two

Here were some of the issues I’ve encountered shopping with two kids so far:

  1. How do I seat an infant (in a carseat) and a toddler into a shopping cart?
  2. Where do I put my groceries when my shopping cart is full of children?
  3. How do I get my two kids from the car to the shopping cart?
  4. How do I seat two toddlers in one shopping cart?
  5. What do I do when my child sees me get something they want right away?
  6. How do I keep my child from getting bored and having a fit?
Mom Struggles With Two Kids Under Two - Grocery Shopping

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1. How Do I Seat an Infant and Toddler in One Shopping Cart?

When my first child was born I had family visit the baby and I managed to sneak in a quick grocery trip on my own. But when my second was born, things became more hectic and I struggled with having to take both kids to the store with me.

I had a hard time thinking about how to place both my kids in a shopping cart.

Kidnapping Fears While Outing with Two Kids

As a paranoid parent, I worry about kidnapping situations so much more as a mom of two.

There have been so many stories about strangers snatching kids out of shopping carts and running off, which is why I make sure to strap my kids and make sure the straps aren’t loose. I even worry about strangers passing by in the parking lot as I’m getting the kids out of the car and snatching one of my kids. 

I know the chances are probably slim but things happen all the time so I will do my best not to avoid ever living that nightmare.

When I had just one child, this didn’t concern me as much because I could drop whatever I was doing to protect my son. But with two its much more difficult. I’m only one person with two hands and and two eyes, it is my job to keep them both safe.

So that’s why I had to come up with the safest method possible.

My Shopping Cart Logistics for Newborn and Toddler

My kids are only 15 months apart and, although my oldest could walk, there was no way I would let him walk around the store while I pushed the shopping cart to do my grocery shopping. It would be very difficult to keep an eye on him, keep them both safe, and focus on my shopping. And he’d probably end up grabbing things off the isles and make a mess, as any curious toddler would.

Some people use their strollers to buy groceries, which I’ve rarely seen. Using my double stroller wasn’t an option though because I could barely fit the stroller and a week’s worth of groceries in the trunk of my car. Also, a stroller doesn’t have decent enough storage for larger grocery items.

My usual store has a couple of shopping carts that seat two toddlers but the carseat wouldn’t fit in the basket so I had to wait for my youngest to grow.

Using a regular shopping cart, I sat my oldest on the front of the shopping cart and put my infant, in the carseat, in the main part of the shopping cart. Together, they took up all the storage space of the cart.

So then came my next problem, where do I put things?

Mom Struggles With Two Kids Under Two - Grocery Shopping
Mom Struggles With Two Kids Under Two - Grocery Shopping

2. Where do I Put My Groceries if My Cart is Full of Children?

So with my toddler taking up the front basket and my infant’s carseat taking up the main part of the cart, I was left with the bottom rack of the shopping cart, which doesn’t fit much.

On days when I didn’t need to buy much this was enough.

Sometimes I would grab a hand basket or two, which fit underneath the shopping cart with a little extra room. I could store more small items into these baskets.

Once I hung my my reusable shopping bag from the cart handle using a heavy duty hook clip to shop with.

And certain things I could put on either side of my toddler in the front, which entertained him, or slide them next to the tiny crevice next to the carseat in the main area of the cart.

On the way out the store I would often have an employee help me carry everything back, usually in a different cart they would push.

3. How Do I Get My 2 Kids From the Car To the Shopping Cart?

Another part of my paranoia kicks in here, probably even more than inside the store, where there are more obstacles and witnesses to prevent a kidnapping. In a parking lot, a kidnapper just has to take a few steps to get to their vehicle with my child.

So my next mom struggle was how to plan and avoid any open opportunities for kidnappers and to always keep an eye out for my surroundings and both my children. I might need to grow some extra eyes.

Car to Cart and Cart to Car

Getting two kids out of a car doesn’t seem too difficult. But when you think about the time it takes to unbuckle your child out of the car and place them safely into a shopping cart while the other one waits anything can happen. 

A stranger can quickly pass by and snatch your child out of the car and you may not notice for up to a minute or two. Or even while you’re grabbing the second kid out of the car, someone could pass by and take your child from, or even with, the cart.

To make matters worse, I had to leave them in the car for less than a minute with the car locked just so I could bring a cart to the car! I died inside EVERY TIME.

That’s not something I would normally do when with one child. But  because I had an infant and a toddler, I couldn’t walk my very young toddler across the parking lot to the building while carrying my infant in her carseat (heavy stuff) and somehow manage to get them both in the shopping cart with only two hands.

If that wasn’t enough logistics to figure out, I also had to plan the quickest and best way to get them each out of the store and into the car. I thought this through over and over many times and at different growth stages to come up with the best solution.

When my daughter was still an infant and I had to carry her around in her carseat, I had to get her out of the car and into the cart first because it was easier to put the carseat in with the front basket closed. Only after putting her could I fix the basket seat to put in my toddler. Getting back in the car was the reverse order, the same set of worries plus groceries to load and more time ticking.

I sound crazy right? Well I feel like I’m keeping them safe so I’m okay with that.

4. How Do I Seat 2 Toddlers in a Shopping Cart?

Thanks to carts with two toddler seats and steering wheels, now that my kids are both toddlers I can sit them comfortably and entertained (for some time if they’re in a good mood) and I can fit a bunch of groceries! 

These days I don’t always go to the store with them because I often take advantage of the time one of the grandmas comes to visit to run errands, but they love going to the store now just so they can “drive.”

Mom Struggles With Two Kids Under Two - Grocery Shopping

5. What Do I Do When My Child Sees Me Get Something They Want Right Away?

This one is a bit tricky and I have recently struggled with it with my food hungry daughter a couple of times. I think this happens most when she is actually hungry.

Toys and snacking are always decent solutions. Everyone does it!

Snacks

If I ever get to a point where I can’t calm my child down I will probably have to give them a snack. 

I don’t always love doing this while shopping because it can ruin a child’s appetite, be a little messy, or sometimes cause your child to be more needy of your attention. But a lot of times it’s a great option.

Some stores, like our favorite, Publix, offers free cookies to kids. You could also stop by the deli and get something sliced and have them try it (mom hack!), make sure you get enough for the whole shopping trip just in case. 

Fruits are also great options. 

If you need to, you can even open a bag of pretzels or something off the snacks isle as long as you pay for it.

You could also bring a snack tray or snack container, or even strap on a univeral stroller organizer directly to the shopping cart.

The best solution to avoid snacking though, is to make sure your child has a full tummy before going to the store. I’ve made the huge mistake of taking my child down the baby food isle just before lunchtime and ended up with a hungry screaming child who wanted her food pouches immediately.

Toys and Distractions

When my child sees me grab something they want right away, I’m usually in trouble. But if my child is distracted or I’m quick enough to hide the item into my cart I’ve won the battle. 

Stroller toys and stroller arches are great for entertaining most children and can be strapped to the shopping cart handles. 

6. How Do I Keep My Child From Getting Bored and Having A Fit?

Every mom wants the answer to this question! 

For now, I have this issue “resolved” on good days because I don’t take them with me for every grocery trip but also because they entertain each other.

Prepare Your List In Order

I find that keeping a list of what I need to get at the store makes things quicker and smoother. Better yet I arrange my list in order of my store’s isles. I start from one end of the store and make my way to the other end, getting everything I need on the way to avoid wasting time going back and forth between isles. 

This way, I can be in an out of a store in thirty minutes, which limits chances of boredom and impatience. It takes a little time to memorize where things are in your store and doesn’t always work when you’re getting something you’re not familiar with.

Offer A Snack or Distraction

Another thing I will occasionally do, either at the beginning or the end of our grocery trip, is to get a free cookie for the kids. I don’t like to do this often because I don’t want to spoil their appetite, but primarily, I don’t want them to expect a cookie and only behave if they get one every time we come to the store. I want them to understand it is a reward. 

Interact With Your Child While Shopping

Sometimes when I notice my kids getting bored, I try to move the cart down the isle, pretending we’re racing and swerving. Other times I have my oldest (who talks more) tell me what he sees around the store or maybe “help” me find things. I’ll even let them hold and shake boxes of pasta or cereal to make music, as long as they don’t rip them open.

Sometimes kids get bored because they feel uninvolved, a little conversation or game-play can easily liven up their mood and get you out the store quicker.

Mom Struggles With Two Kids Under Two - Grocery Shopping

Pick-Up and Delivery Alternatives

I have had a few days where the weather was unbearable and I couldn’t go out shopping with two kids. And days where either I was too sick of one of my kids was sick and I needed groceries right away. 

Some of those days, my husband was able to stop by the store and grab a few things. Other times, I used Instacart to get my groceries delivered to me by my local stores. There are other companies that do the same as well, like Shipt, and may even offer a yearly membership option. 

I was skeptical about it at first, especially about the selection of meats and produce but I was happily surprised. Granted, I did have to pay approximately $6 in delivery fees, taxes, and add a tip (which I could apply after receiving my delivery). The app was really well put together and I could set up my shopping cart in advance and edit whenever I wanted.

Since we enjoy going to the store, it’s mostly beneficial for us on these “rainy day” occasions. But for some families, having a membership for regular grocery delivery is a fantastic option. 

Some stores, like Walmart and Target, also offer pick-up options in a similar fashion, where you can set up your cart online and simply pick up. I know that some you have to walk in but others have a drive up option, which sounds awesome. However, I have not needed to try these myself.

additional Solutions

Here are some methods that may work for you for seating and entertaining your children. Some of these I have tried for a while and some I found more recently and would’ve loved to have tried while my daughter was still a baby.

  • Baby Wearing
  • Bumbo Seat inside shopping cart
  • Buggy Bench
  • Shopping Cart Baby Hammock
  • Use your Stroller
  • Use Hooks & Reusable Shopping Bags for Storage
  • Toy or Bottle Tether Straps for entertainment or snacking
  • Order something at the Deli (they give you slices to try)

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Readers:

What struggles do you face shopping with your kids?

What solutions work for you?

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Swapna
Swapna

Oh… Shopping with baby is difficult, I have that experience. But doing with kids will really really hardest thing to do… Yes how to accomodate stuff when your cart is already full…

Jessica
Jessica

I’m in this place right now! I have a 7 week old and I’ve yet to go to the store alone. I have however been wearing her in stores with my husband while my toddler is riding in the shopping cart.

Angelina Rock

I have a 9 month and a 9 year old. Shopping with the two of them is hard as well. Some of these ideas and hacks will be helpful for me as well. Thank you for sharing your great ideas.

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