A little while ago I wrote a post about the joys of eating out with children. Today I had a trip out which surpasses even eating out as the most fun thing to do with my children (note that this sentence is dripping with sarcasm).

Today I went shopping with all three off my children. I also took my husband because to be honest if I went on my own it might push me over the edge. If I went on my own I might be found rocking in the changing rooms of Dotty P’s mumbling “don’t touch that, please stop pushing darling” to the mirror.

Before I had children I admit I enjoyed a little retail therapy from time to time. I would occasionally wile away an afternoon trying on clothes, perusing DVDs, and examining mascaras. These days I go shopping only if I absolutely have to. The reasons for this are as follows.

1.My middle child is a consumer! He is at the age where he wants everything, and he wants it now. He demands toys, and snacks at every turn. One day I was shopping for a new handbag and he spent an hour whining and begging for his own handbag, what he planned on using it for God only knows.

2.My babies irritation at being confined to a pushchair. My baby is crawling, and she does not want to be confined to a pushchair any more. She is a mellow child and generally does not get too annoyed or whiny. However she does a brilliant line in ongoing grumbling. This is not much fun to listen to.

3.My eldest child’s helpfulness. My eldest is generally able to be reasonably behaved for about half an hour of shopping. He does however love to help me pick things. This is cute for a while but when I’m focussed on choosing ,for example, a pair of shoes his helpfulness gets wearing. There’s only so many nice ways of saying “no darling mummy doesn’t want a pair of red patent stilettos which make her look like a hooker”.

As you can imagine ,when shopping with all three, the combo of these behaviours would try the patience of a Buddist Monk. Not being a particularly patient person I soon start foaming at the mouth and muttering expletives.

Then after around half an hour (or two shops at the speed my children walk at when feeling harassed) the older two start to become feral. They start to roll around on the floor or hide in rails of clothes. I notice other people start to stare at the lady who has no control over her children. At this point I generally give up, grab whatever I can which may fulfil our purpose, leave the shops and head home for a restorative slice of cake !