This shopping with kids post was sponsored and I received compensation and product in exchange.
I spent my Saturday shopping. Oh now before you go getting all jealous, let me just state that we all went shopping. Yes, for whatever reason, we took leave of our senses and headed over to Sears at Masonville Mall in London all together. As a family, shopping. That’s right we went shopping with kids.
What Were We Thinking?
Yup, big family fun day here at the Schuck house.
See, my kids have had crazy growth spurts over the summer and that means their winter coats and snowsuits no longer fit. So, I naturally thought of Sears. Sears is typically a go to place for so many things. For years we used them for our Christmas portraits and grandma bought an entire layette for both my girls when we first adopted. Ever since we moved my Mom to London, Sears is the only place my Mom trusts to have her hair done.
Reliable Stores are Vital to Saving Money
Sears is a place that can effectively outfit our entire family. I love to hit their clearance shoe sales and it’s the place I got my last dress, and my favourite watch too. So, after martial arts and my centergy class and a quick trip to the YMCA for all ( it was a fun barbeque anniversary celebration there with bouncy castles) we hit the mall – on a Saturday.
I love the mall. Most days. And I enjoy shopping. Most days. But this day was different. We had a mission. Snow suits for the kids. Pretty much any parent out there knows shopping and kids don’t mix, but I have a rule. Try it or I don’t buy it. Really, you want those $75 shoes? That’s great, Try it or I don’t buy it. What, you want the latest Aeropostale jeans and hoodies? Super. “Try it or I don’t buy it.”
How It Went
So this is how our shopping experience went. Let me set the scene. It’s rainy, drizzly cold outside. One of those days where you think snow can’t be far off. I park my van, which is already doing that slipping thing with the tires because the road surface is starting to get slick. (Love my van. Hate the first snowfall and rain too). Walk in to Sears all happy thinking about winter and winter fun (NOT. Where did the summer go anyways? What a total rip off!) Of course I walk past the travel counter first. CLOSED. Boo. I hear a Disney Cruise Line calling my name.
My mantra now is this: I am the adult here. I will not get distracted. Snow suits. Snow suits.
Picture me making a B-line for the snowsuits immediately, because I heard they were 25 % off this particular week. Husband waltzing in past snowblowers: “Ohhhh shiny snowblowers. Me likey. Are you sure we can’t get a snowblower this year honey?”
Apparently he doesn’t have the same mantra. I give him the death stare and evil eye all combined as we continue walking.
In Pursuit of Snowsuits
Snowsuits. Yay. Huge section of kid’s snowsuits. The motherload. All on sale. Adore. My little frantic eight-year-old pulls random snowsuits off the shelves and wants the Hello Kitty size two to fit her. A brief explanation follows here, in which I remind her for the ninetieth time this week that she is not a baby any more. (Growing up is difficult.)
Not a Toddler Anymore
Anyways moving past the toddler sets I find her multiple purple sets. Purple is her favourite colour. She tries them all on (remember try it or I don’t buy it.) I have one I kind of like but we keep trying some more sets on, then husband points out a deal on the Nevada brand.
She races towards something with some strips of white colour blocking on it and husband loudly proclaims – “I don’t think so.”
No White on Kids
White hasn’t been an option on this child from the time she was old enough to walk. Anyways I am happy with a purple set I find and it fits her well and looks cute, durable too. So, on to older daughter. Now my oldest child is a great girl, just not when we go shopping. So this makes shopping with kids a moody adventure.
Tweens Generally Are Not Amused at Much
At 11, trying on snowsuits is like her version of tween proof that I must hate her or something because she glares at me for the next half an hour. The first suit she pulls on is too tight, so she threatens to stomp off and looks like she may lose it, but I reel her back in.
Shopping with Kids is Like Herding Cats
Meanwhile, my husband is standing with little one making sure she doesn’t race off. (Oh she has since decided she would like to try on some boy snowsuits because she likes the racy red ones with Hot Wheels kind of stuff all over them.) I hear husband arguing with her and negotiating some calm.
My eldest is crammed into a pair of snowpants that – I am never going to buy because they have a bib on them and that style is not appropriate for a tween. Plus they are too small. I refuse to set my kids up as targets for bullies at school.
When the Kids Have too Much Energy
So we move on trying suit after suit and finally coming up with a purple jacket with matching purple snow pants. My daughter doesn’t really need the snowpants, because I bought a pair last season that were very large and clearance. ( I decide that having two pairs is probably a good thing because my children can be somewhat forgetful and have been known to leave things in lost and found at school.)
Success and Snowy Days Ahead
This set matches and similar set to the one that I am getting for my youngest daughter. It’s a bigger size and the coat is different, with a pattern and a slight bit of white. I love it, but my husband is pretty sure he will get them all mixed up if they are the same shade of purple. ( I humor him here because he often does the laundry and I know he will, in a house full of girls, mix the clothing up. He already does this with frequency and I typically catch it when my Ainsley goes to school wearing her sister’s shirt)
Should We Keep Looking?
So, for good measure we tried one in royal blue which my tween loudly proclaims she hates. Then she puts the purple snowsuit back on. Youngest puts hers back on as well, so we can view them in the full length mirror. At this point, both girls are fully sausaged in their cute snow jackets and pants inside the Sears store. Both dive onto the floor pretend sledding and skid on their knees.
This earns a quick: “please don’t ruin it before I buy it,” from me.
Bribes and Escalators Work Too
Anyways, we are pretty happy with our choices and the prices, but both my husband and I need new winter coats so we head upstairs. In fact, I bribe trick convince the kids to hit the men’s section upstairs by promising them a ride on the escalator. Yes, kids of all ages love escalator rides and that goes for husbands too. This is a universal shopping truth.
Should We Look for Adult Gear Too?
So we briefly chat quibble in a grownup manner about what style and type of winter coat my husband could use. We stick to the clearance section. Ainsley is absolutely certain everything she sees will fit her Dad and so she runs manically around the store, while Payton, the tween, recognizing that her shopping needs have been met, will pull her excellent impression of a cranky hormonal teenager, at first wandering off into perfume aisle as I call, “Where are you?” and then when I drag her back from other shiny things she keeps gravitating towards, she plunks her self on the floor near her father so he can watch her bored expression transform into tiredness and then hostility.
My husband had a really nice grey coat picked out – Buffalo – casually dressy and kind of metrosexual. But it turned out to be one of the ones that was full price. Sadly, it is still to expensive for us. So we spend a few more minutes trying to find Ainsley who has run off again in search of “one of those shirts with the diamonds on it.”
Actually here’s one rule of shopping with kids. Take breaks.
At that point I declared time for a bathroom break and we all headed to nearby washrooms. My tween, of course, declares that she will never ever set foot inside the washroom because I cannot tell her what to do and then stomps off to look at shoes. I think I can almost see smoke coming out of husband’s ears. Ainsley and I shake our heads and let him manage that little eruption while we visit the loo.
Time to Leave
Now, many would cut their losses at this point, but I knew I was pushing it and I very much knew there was no hope in heck of getting the four of us out together to a store again any time soon, so I stated that we’d now take five more minutes to look for a women’s coat for me. I am in need of a warm every day Mom taxi coat for the Canadian winter which gets pretty awful some years in London. I checked out a few, didn’t try any on, because the one I really loved was white and over $200 still. So, one more lap around the store and we head downstairs. After all that, Mom gets a full five minutes to search for a coat for herself. I reason I will return another day without the entourage.
My husband at that point ran back to return a coat he was still thinking about buying, because he wasn’t in love with it and I headed to the elevator with the girls.I assumed I had both girls, but it turned out when I got to the elevator only one was in tow.
The Usual End of a Shopping With Kids
So I texted him: “Is Ainsley with you?”
“No.” came the wordy response.
Frig, I muttered under my breath, backtracking with Payton, 11.
Mad Scramble for ADHD Kiddo
I found Ainsley standing by the jewellery stating that she was waiting for Daddy. She is perturbed to be stuck with Mom and even more perturbed to be unable to outfit her Dad with a whole new wardrobe as chosen by her (in completely inaccurate sizes as only a child can do) Small argument about escalator versus elevator and I text my husband again to let him know I found her. I hop on elevator texting my husband in a hostile tone:”Where are you?” Swearing under my breath that if I find him looking at snow blowers I am leaving and heading for the spa.
He texts me back:”upstairs.”
I tell him we are down stairs getting ready to pay. “Don’t move,” he texts back.
(Not really sure how we did this before our texting package.)
Eventually we are all together at the checkout. I fish out my Sears Rewards Card – 2000 points were given to me to spend here.
This is what I have to say about that. Most of my readers already know I love Sears points and Sears rewards. They are golden. I have placed most of our trips on Sears card, just to pay them off fast and reap the rewards and I have blogged about it here in The Thrill of Last Minute Travel post.
I love Sears rewards points and card because you get the points on everything you purchase, and as I have already noted we buy a lot as an extended family at Sears. So I have my Mom use my card and I pay it off and get the points. I can use them on anything in the store and they are simple to use, with one caveat: Use them within six months of redeeming. I always put our trips on the Sears card and end up with $50- $60 to spend at Sears in reward points. Then I pay the travel off fast.
Shopping with Kids Stinks
There’s really no way around this simple fact. Shopping with kids is no fun. If I could get away without having them there and also being sure things fit when we left, then sure that would make it a different experience entirely.
Stick with me here – I am as wordy as my husband is not.
So I fished my Sears Points Reward card out and the cashier swiped it and bagged our purchases. Done. And that was the simplest part of my entire shopping experience. Rather anti-climactic it was so easy after that ridiculous experience shopping with kids.
If You Learned Anything Today…
So, if you have learned anything from this post, the lesson should be this – Shopping with kids stinks, paying with Sears points Reward cards doesn’t. Thank goodness for Sears Points and Sears Reward cards. Paying was the easiest part of the entire experience.
Bring it On!
Now, bring on the snow. We are ready! (Wait, did I just say that?)
Disclosure: I am participating in the Sears Club Points program by Mom Central Canada. I received compensation for my participation in this campaign. The opinions on my blog are all my own.