Few expeditions test our skills and patience as a parent in the same manner as a trip to the supermarket with our children does. An outing anywhere there are trolleys, treats and queues is not for the faint hearted but it’s a necessity for most of us at some stage during the week. Recently I’ve realised however, that a trip to the supermarket can also teach you a lot about the type of parent you are and those around you. Taking the familiar titles we hear frequently brandished about here are a few of the types I’ve seen in action in recent weeks
1. The Tiger Mum
Determined that no opportunity will be missed to educate and further her child’s development she can regularly be seen in the aisles asking her two year old to add up the cost of a bag of carrots and two avocados. She also encourages her little one to repeat the name of every vegetable in three different languages, loudly so that everyone can appreciate how wonderful her child is and more importantly how wonderful a mother she is. Tends to have very well behaved kids, in the supermarket anyway.
2. The Helicopter Mum
Dives sporadically in front of oncoming trollies and keeps her hand on the side of own trolley occasionally catching her knuckles on the treacherous shelves littering either side of the aisle, ensuring her precious offspring come to no harm throughout the perilous task that is doing the weekly shop. Wide eyed children look all around behaving impeccably. They have no alternative, mum is by their sides every second of the way, warding off dangerous old ladies who might come over and admire or speak to them.
3. The Attachment Parenting type Mum
This one is very easy to spot. She’s generally in the organic section singing to her children. Difficult to tell how well behaved her children are because she’s still wearing the seven year old in a sling.
4. The Free Range Parenting type Mum
Basically this is the anti-helicopter mum. She can be spotted strolling along while her children run, no gallop, up and down the aisles, discovering themselves as they play piggy in the middle and donkey with tins of beans and a chocolate fudge cake. She is not stressed by events. She is at one with the supermarket. Her children’s behaviour could be described as wilful or
playful if you were feeling particularly kind.
5. The bit of every type mam/mum/mom
This is majority of mums/mams/moms shopping. Slightly, (ok a bit more than slightly) frazzled, dishing out orders and threats to her various children, placating toddlers on the verge of tantrums and willing strangers not to engage with those already mid tantrum. She can be observed expertly manoeuvring the trolley single handedly, up and down the various aisles, knowing exactly what she needs without having to refer to a list, while answering the twenty questions per minute directed at her by her children looking to purchase various items. She smiles weakly and knowingly at other “bit of every type mam/mum/moms” hoping the baby won’t wake up for a feed before she’s finished and willing the queue at the checkout not to be too long. Her children’s behaviour depends on the humour they’re in!
6. The Dad
Immediately identifiable by the dazed and confused look on his face. A supermarket’s dream, he can be seen regularly referring to a list drawn up by his other half, without which he would spend twice the amount and bring home half the essentials. He can also be heard asking of his children, “how many of you did I bring with me again?” His unease in the unfamiliar surroundings is palpable. His children’s behaviour is typically supportive. They know this can be an overwhelming experience for him.
Who would have thought shopping could be such an eye opening experience!