How My Parenting Style Has Changed

Hilary Duff has son Luca in a grocery cart cover.
How long before she ditches the cart cover?

I work a lot at Whole Foods. Not in the produce department, but rather I like grabbing lunch and using their free Wi-Fi when I just can’t stand another day of writing at Starbucks, so I’m here a whole lot. Being that it’s a grocery store and not a real office, I see a ton of parents make there way in and out of the building, so I’m always making judgments–don’t pretend you don’t too.

And whereas the younger, childless me might have sat here thinking, “What the hell is she wearing?” the older, mom of two can’t help but look at the parents and see what they are doing with their own kids. For instance, today I saw a mom pushing a grocery cart with a little boy, who was probably between 18-24 months old, sitting inside. Of course, like all good new moms with children under 3 do, she was using a grocery cart cover for her son. I say kids under 3 not because there is an age limit on the cover, or really even the cart seat itself, but let’s face it, after a few years of having to remember to bring that thing into the store with you every time, you stop using it.

Not to sound too Carrie Bradshaw-ish, but I couldn’t help but think: When did I decide my kids were old enough to not care about grocery cart germs?

I’m guessing it was around the same time that I realized that the cover was a huge pain in the ass to remember to bring in from the garage so I could wash it every single time I went to the store or used a highchair at a restaurant, but it’s like my diaper bag. At some point, I got so sick of carrying around that back-breaking *Marc Jacobs bag that I begged my husband to buy me, even though the shoulder straps were never long enough to carry comfortably, I was so psyched to retire it.

Was it because everything was covered in formula powder from a package that had spilled at the bottom? Maybe. Was it because I really missed some of my other pursues? Sure. But mainly, I think it was simply a rite of passage in parenting. Basically, 5 years later, I think I have a pretty good handle on what I have to have with me for my kids when I leave the house–and to be honest, with a CVS, GAP, and grocery store on every corner, I can always buy whatever I’m missing. It might sound stupid to some, but it seems more reasonable to stop at the store for one snack rather than carry around a 100 pound diaper bag full of them.

So what about you? What have you stopped carrying around now that you’re kids aren’t babies anymore? Stop by my office on your way out of Whole Foods and tell me…

*I should probably mention the MJ bag was the third designer diaper bag I swore up and down to my husband was a total necessity, so I wasn’t willing to admit it was a mistake.To be honest, it’s actually difficult for me to admit anything by Marc Jacobs is a mistake, so let’s just pretend it’s not happening.

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