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A Trip to the Mall Before Kids and After

Oh, we all know our lives change big-time once we have kids. We can’t even count the ways it will never be the same. Of course it’s a good thing, we love our kids with all of our hearts. But, do you ever miss those little things that you used to do? Those things you would do without even thinking about just how good you had it? Something as simple as running to the mall?

Well in case you forgot... I am here to remind you what it was like to just run to the mall, before kids. And, what it's like now to just run to the mall, after kids.

Getting ready to go to the mall.

Before kids, I could spontaneously run to the mall.  Maybe I will browse some outfits looking for something great to wear this weekend. I throw on whatever is convenient and grab my tiny purse and take off.

After kids, I must start preparing at least an hour in advance to get everyone dressed, deal with any tantrums and outfit battles, feed the baby, pack up sippy cups, snacks, outfit changes, extra diapers, a sling for the baby in case he fights the stroller, and get us all out the door. I lug the industrial size diaper bag and heavy double stroller into the car and get going!


On the way to mall.

Before kids, I listen to my music, loud. Maybe I'll stop and grab a soda since I can easily run into any store I feel like.

After kids, I listen to my toddler screaming "no!" at each song she does not like on the radio. The baby is crying and trying desperately to get out of his seat. Someone chucks a shoe at my head.


Before kids, oh look I can easily park my sports car in this tiny tight space. Hop out and into the mall I go ready to shop! Hey, maybe I will stop in a nail salon and get a manicure before I start shopping.

After kids, I circle round and round trying to find a spot big enough for my mini van. I finally find a big enough space and get out, pull out the double stroller, and get each child out of their car seat. I battle with my screaming toddler about the fact that she does not want to wear a coat and give up. I finally have both kids ready and struggle to get the double-wide stroller though the mall doors, but we make it.

Into the mall.

Before kids, I start browsing the shoe section right away. Check out the clearance rack and start trying on amazing boots immediately. And they are on sale, I think I better grab these!

After kids, as soon as we get into the mall my oldest needs to potty. Into the bathroom we go. I do my best to get her pants down but she ends up peeing mostly onto her pants and shoes. I change her pants and attempt to clean up her shoes the best I can. I figure I should change the baby’s diaper while we are in there too. Oh he pooped, great! And it got on his pants. That’s okay, good thing I always have spare clothes in my giant diaper bag.

Next on the shopping agenda..

Before kids. I am going to check out some dresses now. Maybe try on a couple.. or 10. Whatever I feel like. I have all the time in the world.

After kids, my toddler is out of the stroller and pulling garments off racks faster than I can maneuver the stroller through the aisles. I find what I am looking for, a birthday gift for one of my daughter’s friends. As I go to pay the baby starts fussing to get out of the stroller, and my daughter starts screaming at me that she “wants Elsa hair.” I look to see the prominent display of overpriced Frozen accessories and then plead with my daughter to be patient because we are going to lunch next. Then resorting to bribery, promising her an apple juice and cookie to get her to be quiet and give up on the Elsa hair while I check out.


Before kids, I hit the food court and browse all the offerings. Maybe try a sampler and then decide what I want. I get my lunch and sit down with a book or browse on my phone. Maybe I will just get a refill of my soda and sit here and people watch for awhile.

After kids, I stand in a ridiculously long line while my kids scream at me that they want food now. My older one who is particularly demanding these days wants to know where her apple juice is "NOW MOMMY!”

We get our lunch and I juggle a tray of food, a couple of drinks, a double stroller and try to pull a high chair up to a table without spilling anything. As we eat, my baby spends the entire time trying to escape the high chair, while the toddler throws anything that does not please her on the ground.

After lunch.

Before kids, time for more shopping! I head off to the cosmetics counter to try some samples and maybe buy myself a gift.

After kids, my toddler is off again and pulling jewelry off racks as I try to speak with the sales woman at the cosmetics counter. I end up agreeing to buy something in haste, and hurry to pay as quickly as possible while trying to contain my children.

Last stop.

Before kids, I think I will grab a coffee on my way out. Maybe sit back down for a few minutes and people watch again.

After kids, my toddler has decided she does not want to leave and throws herself on the ground, refusing to walk and scream crying at the top of her lungs. I carry her in one arm while pushing the stroller with the other, and strangers stare at me like I am torturing my child. After struggling to get us all through the door, I am covered in sweat and my makeup is running but the cold air feels so refreshing.

On the way home.

Before kids, more music, maybe loud. Maybe I will sing along. I will call a friend and see what she is up to and maybe even stop by.

After kids, music. The kids pass out. I am exhausted but need to enjoy this peace while I can. This is the most relaxing part of the day, driving home, I don’t even care about the traffic because I have some solitude. Maybe I will even go through the drive through and get a coffee on the way! Ahh pure relaxation.


Karyn Allen

Thursday 10th of September 2015

Thanks for the great article, Jen


Saturday 23rd of May 2015

Haha! I've never been much of a mall-goer, but I can definitely relate to how much more planning and mental gymnastics at required to get all of my errands done. And your little one in the striker is SO cute!


Sunday 24th of May 2015

Thanks Amy! Yes pretty much every errand takes on a new level of planning we never would really anticipate without going through it :)

Marina @ Parental Journey

Monday 27th of April 2015

Oh my god, yes yes and yes.. I can relate with all of this!!


Monday 27th of April 2015

Hi Marina! Thank you haha I think most parents can relate :)


Friday 24th of April 2015

It's all so true!Even the simplest of shopping trips turn into a logistical nightmare when you go with kids :)


Friday 24th of April 2015

Yes, Kathy! It's never simple :)

Linda kurrus

Thursday 23rd of April 2015

so true!! You captured it all beautifully!! Yes going to the mall will never be quite the same:) but as you say a new appreciation for the things we took for granted - the quiet drive home!