My husband is a sadist. (Googles sadist vs masochist) Actually he's a sadist (enjoys inflicting pain on others) and a masochist (enjoys having pain inflicted on him). How do I know this? His idea of fun is going to the grocery store. As a family.

What the hell did you guys put in my cart?!

What the hell did you guys put in my cart?!

I'm not talking about hitting up Costco on a Sunday. I firmly believe that the family who Costcos together stays together, at least until the free samples and hot dog combo meals run out. But he takes this normal love to an extreme level. When I head to the store for the weekly meal planning run, you know the one with the full page list featuring things like rice, yogurt, cilantro, and dry pasta, rather than the Costco "list," which is really a small suitcase of brownie mix, dog food, and whatever else we can fit into our cart to make sure we hit the unofficial $100 minimum purchase, he says--as only a true sadomasochist (one who, apparently, is down for sadism + masochism + humiliation) can--"Why don't we all go together?"

And I laugh and laugh and laugh, until I realize he's loading up both our toddlers and telling me to grab the keys.

So off we went, one Sunday. The kids already asking for snacks, and since we literally just had lunch, I'm going to have to start all over on my Hail Mary's to get back to my Sunday zen state from mass. But first, I crank up Disney Pandora and pray the prayer only a mother can, "Lord let this be bad enough so that we never have to do it again."

There's a reason that post-bedtime Target is rolling deep with mamas rocking yoga pants, messy buns, and a smile. This is their me time. I once read that Michelle Duggar said she finds me time while washing the dishes. At the time, I thought that was so sad, now I'm all about some suds while daddy starts bedtime. Target, Publix, pumping gas, that's my time. The time that's all about me. Or, it used to be.

Namaste in the store until you get the kids in bed.

Namaste in the store until you get the kids in bed.

We arrived at the store on that fateful Sunday and I tore my list in half, giving dad and Toddler One (3.5 years old) a list featuring three items. I grabbed Toddler Two (1.5 years old) and the rest of the list, about twenty run-of-the-mill items. Before we split up, Supermarket Sweep-style, I laid out the game plan: "Hit the bakery for the free cookie, then move quickly. You have exactly seven minutes until the cookie is gone and you need to head for check out."


Team Two (ahem) sprinted around the store, filling the cart with milk, cheese, butter, bread, peanut butter, and more, then headed back to find Team One, who was still chatting with the lady at the bakery.

I can wreck this whole shelf while she's checking to see if that cereal is organic.

I can wreck this whole shelf while she's checking to see if that cereal is organic.

I tore his list in half again, leaving him with one item, while I took off to find the other two.

I pulled up to the register, waiting for him to walk up, somewhat astounded that he wasn't already there. Then, I see him coming, walking up the aisle with his very own grocery clerk who is holding the single item on the list. My daughter? She's smeared in cookie, obviously, but she's totally blissed out, because she has a balloon.

"Look who got a balloon!" I said, somewhat befuddled.

The clerk, a kindly woman I'm sure, looked somewhat surprised. "Oh yes," she said, "Every child gets a free balloon. I also gave her the complimentary coloring book and crayons we always hand out."

I scraped my jaw off the floor. Free balloons? Since when?! Never have I (well, my children) been offered free balloons--forget about coloring books and crayons--not even when my kiddos are screaming, I'm near tears, and we're all just praying that the CheezIts last until check out. Plus... what was dad doing with a grocery escort?

"Well," he said, "I didn't know what aisle the pasta was on, so I asked the clerk."

"Go on..." I said.

"I just said, that her mother always used to get a certain brand--" he said before I cut him off.

"As in, before she died?" I asked, somewhat impressed with this unexpected twist.

"I didn't actually say you were dead," he said. "She might've assumed that, though."

I could be mad. I could be insulted. but instead, I'll simply be sending dad to the store from now on with the full list and both children. I fully expect him to start getting curbside service while clerks blot the cookie crumbs from my children's lips.

You have to pick your battles.

By Ashley Kappel and Ashley Kappel