Upon perusing my grocery receipt, wondering how the bloody hell it was so expensive (again) it occurred to me that I buy the same things with great, incredibly depressing and mundane, regularity. I lob a great chunk of my wages at the money-sucker that is The Supermarket week in, week out. During the halcyon days of no children, (back when we had the freedom to eat a biscuit without having to hide in the kitchen and cover up the rustling packet by running the tap, and back when vomit on the carpet was only for really special occasions like eating an undercooked sausage at a barbecue), I never would have bought most of the things I buy now. Of these items, I have discovered that many are absolute necessities when you’ve found yourself saddled with little Beasts, so I thought a shopping list would be helpful for anyone who is in a similar situation.
So in no particular order:
Wine. It’s possible that I love wine just a smidge more than I love my husband. Sorry but I’m not sorry at all. Although I would probably buy it children or no children. It’s just so magnificent. I know I just said no particular order, but wine’s always going to be at the top, obviously.
Chocolate. A close second to wine. Can also be used as a bribe or threat to control beasts in times of need. Until the sugar kicks in and they’re worse than they were before. Any that isn’t used as a (poor) parenting tool is also available for you to eat, for those ‘days off the diet.’ Or just all the time.
Tena ladies. Now you don’t have to be ashamed ladies. Especially when it’s just the light ones in the lovely fancy box, not the full on plastic knicker type ones** but as most mums would agree, jumping on a trampoline doesn’t feel *quite*the same as it did before (because I do that all the time, obvs).
** while we’re on the subject, just a brief interlude – if anyone’s up there, listening to prayers, I’ve never asked you lot for anything other than some 90s wedged trainers, which never turned up FYI, so unless I’ve banked some major bad karma, please let me never need the knickers. Thanks**
Diet magazines. Having grown and delivered said beasts, and with no more excuses for not dieting, I find myself in a constant battle between wanting to be slimmer & well – wine and chocolate. So every six weeks I’ll ‘treat’ myself to the latest slimming world magazine & read all the wonderfully motivating articles about people who have lost 10 stones or 15 stones or even just 2 or 3 stones. I’m always very careful, where I’ve been cramming it in my mouth, not to smudge melted chocolate mixed with spit onto the corners or to splash wine on the pages whilst learning about Sally in yorkshire’s life long issues with food. Those magazines aren’t cheap you know so you do need to look after them.
Healthy fruit and vegetables. In support of the above, I find you also need to get your 5 a day in. Running around after beasts is a tiring business and a healthy diet is a must. No need for all those faddy pills or shakes, just eat an apple. And I keep telling myself that if The Beasts see me eating carrots and broccoli and *delicious* lettuce often enough, they will learn to love them too. I’m sure they will. At some point. Maybe.
Rennie. All that wine added to the stress of remembering to *not* be a shit parent and actually read the newsletter that comes home from school every Friday, before Monday morning, can occasionally cause a bit of heartburn. So when panic strikes because Beast 1’s swimming kit is still screwed up in the bag because I forgot to wash it, and I didn’t know it was school photos or another tombola or bring your favourite book /dress up/ world book / non school uniform day – and I don’t have a bloody pound in my purse to pay for not wearing the (expensive) school uniform (which I also paid for), never fear. Just choke back some minty chalk and be on your way.
Healthy snacks. The more expensive and fancy the packaging, the less likely they are to eat them but I buy them anyway – just to keep up appearances really. I give them a sugar free quinoa and cranberry bar to start with but we all know within 2 minutes and 24 seconds I’ll be adding a biscuit or some sweets to that bowl – and then will be throwing away the soggy quinoa and cranberry bar 10 minutes later where it’s been licked and discarded. Because it’s gross. No trace of the biscuit will remain.
Calpol. I’m pretty sure I’ve inadvertently created the country’s youngest drug addicts as they will literally feign illness in the hope of being given calpol. To be fair it is delicious, but I have to draw the line when Beast 1 runs headfirst into the radiator then tells me he really ought to have some calpol for his ‘terrible headache.’
Baby wipes, toilet wipes, potty training wipes, anti bac wipes, clean-your-whole-house-with-them wipes. If there’s a wipe to be purchased, chances are I’ve bought it. If someone told me pre – children that I’d be spending at least a fiver a week on wet bits of material soaked in various chemicals I probably would have laughed (nervously) in their face and scurried home to immediately unfriend them on Facebook. And while we’re on the subject of wipes, who’s bastard idea was it to make the packaging so crinkly and noisy? So it’s 4am and your little angel has filled his nappy or puked down your arm just as you’re settling them back to sleep? Here’s just the thing for you – the world’s noisiest plastic wrapper with the shittest little hole to try and get the bunched up wipes out of so that little Toby or Harley or Rosie *or whatever* is now up and alert wondering where that interesting noise is coming from as you try, but fail miserably, to get your wet wipe out quietly. That my friends is just someone having us on for the Craic.
Coffee. My first (and automatic – I’m sorry I can’t help it) response when someone tells me she’s pregnant is to laugh a little hysterically and say ‘I hope you don’t like sleep because you’ll never do it properly again ha ha ha’. This is where coffee is useful. Anyone who can get through the day without caffeinated goodness is as alien to me as those (very peculiar) people who ‘forget to eat’. Who ‘forgets’ to eat? Literally most of my life is just me thinking about, buying, preparing and eating food. My hobbies could quite truthfully be listed as 1. Eating and 2. Complaining that I’m fat because of all the eating.
Point of sale. Doesn’t matter what it is, if we need it, or if The Beasts have already had more sugar than a jam factory. If it’s a point of sale promotion and it means the cashier stops eyeballing me (and talking to me), any item that’s on sale at the counter when I’m trying to pay, pack bags, restrain one (or both) beasts from smacking / climbing out the trolley/ shoplift / lick the chicken, I’ll buy it. Then I’ll probably eat it so that daddy beast stops wanging on about all of the money I spend on crap we don’t need.
Overpriced magazines with plastic shit taped to the front. You know the ones. Tree fu tom and peppa bloody pig, mister maker and the one that The Beasts always go for – the princess one with the rubbish tiara and fluffy wand. All at Beast eye level, all bright and tempting. Well all I’m going to say is £3.99. THREE POUNDS NINETY NINE PENCE. For some plastic tat and pages thinner than cheap wrapping paper, so that someone puts their finger through it within 10 seconds. Then cries because there’s a hole in the magazine. I literally have clothes that cost less than £3.99, but The Beasts love being allowed to choose one from the shelf, so as per, I usually cave.
Carpet cleaner. Mud, wee, sick, poo, jelly, play doh, toothpaste, dinner, juice, milk, crayon, nappy cream, blood (just occasionally mind – don’t call childline please) you name it and I’ve probably had to scrub it out of my carpet. So a decent cleaner is essential. Not being able to quite afford to pay someone else to do it for me, what with all the money I waste at the supermarket, I always opt instead for DIY carpet spray. I’m aware that this gives the impression that my house is clean; it’s not. No matter how much you scrub, sudocrem is very stubborn. As is vomit. At least the expensive carpet cleaner smells nice. Nicer than a big pile of puke anyway.
Bathroom cleaner: Anyone who owns boys, beastly or not, will verify that they can never get it all in the loo. Never. Often there’s a little puddle around the base of the toilet and little rivulets running down the trunk (which are especially pleasant for your bare legs to touch, all cold and wet, when you’ve forgotten to check). Again this might give the illusion that my house is clean. Don’t be fooled. I do most of the ‘cleaning’ with a baby wipe 5 minutes before any guests arrive, but find that I do draw the line at my bathroom being covered in stinky wee.
Detergent. For the *thousands* of loads of washing. It never stops. My washing basket is always full, there’s always a load on the airer or line and no one can ever find a matching pair of socks.
Boxes and boxes of fish fingers because let’s be honest, that’s all they’ll really eat. I can buy broccoli until it comes out of my ears but neither of the little *treasures* will ever eat it. It is handy however, due to its bulk and opaque colour, to pile on top of the boxes so that avacado and quinoa mum over there with her perfect figure and perfect kid can’t see them in the the trolley, and then turn to her equally perfect twatty mate, wheatgrass and organic salmon mum, and say ‘is it any wonder her kids are so naughty when all she feeds them is fishfingers? And supermarket own too, not even Birdseye.’*shakes head in disgust while handing perfect kid another stick of freshly chopped pepper to snack on.*
So there you have it. Next time you’re in the shop and one beast is kicking your shins while the other is running off, taking bites out of the vegetables and then putting them back (yes really), while people gape at your incompetence as a parent, and you find yourself picking up another bottle of wine and chucking it in the trolley next to your tena ladies and fishfingers, remember you’re not alone. We’re all in it together. ❤️🍷🍰
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