Rediscovering the 'Me' in 'Mumeeeeeee'

'I have always thought that there is no more fruitful source of family discontent than a housewife’s badly-cooked dinners and untidy ways'. (Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, 1861)

August 8, 2012

The Shops

There is a simple, universal, parenting equation I have discovered in recent years, and it is this:

8 weeks of school holidays + 1 frazzled parent + 2 young children + 1 supermarket = Stress!

School holidays. Children. The ‘big shop’. It is a coming together of things which seems to culminate in a barrage of empty  threats, fifteen packets of unwanted biscuits, eight different types of yoghurt, two packets of Lego mini figures, several bottles of wine (for later), and nothing at all with which to make a substantial, nutritious meal. Sigh.

I try – oh, how I try – to give the impression of being a calm, organised mother, enjoying a family trip to the shops with her impeccably behaved children. It may last for a few minutes, but by the time we reach the cheese aisle, all hell breaks loose and I seem to spend the next forty minutes barking orders to stop running off down the aisles, to stop bumping into each other, bumping into me and bumping into other people. It really doesn’t make it very easy to work out which is the best value packet of fig rolls, does it?

And when there are new school clothes and shoes to be bought, it gets harder. I find myself having ridiculous conversations like this:

Me:  ‘Can you stand here. Let me see how big this looks on you. Hmm. Perhaps we need the next size up. What do you think?’
Child: ‘Mummy, can we go and look at the toys?’
Me:  ‘How do those shoes feel? Where are your toes? Is that your big toe?’
Child: ‘Mummy, please can we go and look at the toys?’
Me:  ‘What does that jumper feel like?’
Child: ‘Erm, soft. Can we go and look at the toys now, mummy? Pleeeeeease.'

I find myself staring at rails of clothes, deliberating and debating with myself, trying to decide whether to buy ‘this one’, ‘that one’ or ‘the other one’ while deflecting requests for Moshi Monsters and Lightening McQueens. Is one size too big too big or just roomy, I ponder? It’s a fine line between value for money, and watching your child trip up on their own jumper sleeves.

After a recent trip to 'The Shops', the Tesco school uniform items I’d eventually settled on were tried on with great enthusiasm by my children: ‘I look great, don’t I?’ and ‘Can I wear this all day?’ and ‘This is soooo cool,’ were just some of the comments their mini fashion show produced.

One smart boy. See below for pricing.

Whether I will show quite as much enthusiasm when it comes to washing and ironing the same clothes over and over again remains to be seen. I was, however, pleasantly surprised by the overall quality of the clothing, and with the trousers and skirts in the Tesco range now Teflon-treated (i.e. stain-resistant) and many of the shirts ‘easy-iron’ (hurray!), Sunday evenings - or even Monday mornings – will, hopefully, be a bit less painful.

Shopping with children may not be the easiest of tasks. In fact, there’s probably a reasonable case to introduce it as an Olympic sport. I certainly feel like I deserve a medal when we all get back home, but for now I suppose a box of chocolate éclairs will have to do.

This is a sponsored post.

Pricing: Scuff resistant black shoes (€14.50), 2 pack stain resistant non-iron grey trousers (€8.50), 2 pack easy-iron short sleeve shirts (€5), blue jumper (€5)



  1. Dunnes have some great value uniforms too! August is always a dreaded month to prepare yourself for back to school!

  2. Oh my god, the Lego Minifigures. Between them and flippin' hotwheels, it's like a test of patience to get the shopping done before we get to the toys!

  3. I'm dreading the upcoming Tesco shop for school clothes and Clark's for shoes. I don't know what's more painful, having the kids home all day or having to wake up at 7am and do the school run and do the school run again two hours later (one is in nursery) and school run again at 3pm... HELP!


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