A Trip to the Mall Before Kids and After

05/06/2015 03:02 pm ET | Updated May 06, 2016
Jennifer Brenan

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 would browse some outfits looking for something great to wear this weekend. I could 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-sized diaper bag and heavy double stroller into the car and get going!

On the way to mall

Before kids, I could listen to my music, loudly. Maybe I'd stop and grab a soda, since I could easily run into any store I felt 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, I could easily park my sports car in a tiny, tight space. I'd hop out and into the mall and go, ready to shop! Maybe I would even stop in a nail salon and get a manicure before I started shopping.

After kids, I circle around and around the parking lot, trying to find a spot big enough for my minivan. 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 started browsing the shoe section right away. I checked out the clearance rack and started trying on amazing boots immediately. If they were on sale, I'd grab them.

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 OK, good thing I always have spare clothes in my giant diaper bag.

Next on the shopping agenda...

Before kids. I'd decide I was going to check out some dresses and try on a couple... or 10. Whatever I felt like. I had 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 browsed all the offerings. Maybe I tried a sampler and then decided what I wanted. I got my lunch and sat down with a book or browsed on my phone. Maybe I just got a refill of my soda and sat here and people-watched 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, it was 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 would 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, I'd play more music, maybe loudly. Maybe I'd sing along. I would call a friend and see what she is up to and maybe even stop by her house.

After kids, there is kid 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! Ah, pure relaxation.

This post originally appeared on Breastfeeding Needs. You can find Jennifer on Facebook and Twitter.