I love being a mum, I love seeing my children playing together, laughing and ultimately fighting and pulling each others hair. My girls are still relatively young and we’ve not yet reached the demanding teenage years, although my eldest is doing her best to keep up with the big girls already! She is now forming opinions about what she does and doesn’t want to wear, and how such and such at school has just got the new Lelli Kelly’s to wear with her school Summer uniform and can we buy some? I wrote a blog not long ago about how the kids of today are so much more fashion conscious than I ever was aged 6, you can read it here.
Not long after my eldest daughter was born we were photographed for the local newspaper for a shopping feature. That year I went a bit mad when I found out I was having a girl and literally blew the top off my credit and store cards. The Next sale has an awful lot to answer for as their Summer sale happens just weeks before my girls birthdays every year and I considered it a crime to not kit them out for another 12 months. I suppose you have to admit you have a problem when it makes the local news eh? You wont be surprised to learn that it was this attitude that ultimately got me into a lot of trouble financially, but that blog will take some serious thought before I make it public.
One thing I absolutely abhor about shopping with children is that the kids department is always on the top floor of most high street stores. In Liverpool city centre alone I can name and shame the following: Clarks, H&M, Boots, Primark, Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Debenhams. Even my love of Next’s children’s wear has taken a beating as their kids section is in the basement, yet another lift ride to endure before being able to flash the cash. On behalf of all parents out there struggling to get through a Saturday shopping trip without having a complete meltdown, thank you for adding the saga of store lifts to our worn patience. Anyone else noticed that you end up doing at least two full circuits of all floors before reaching your destination as perfectly able-bodied, child-free people insist on clogging up the lifts despite there being copious amounts of stairs and escalators at their convenience! Arghh, it’s making me angry just writing about it. We all know that kids fashion is never going to be conveniently situated on the ground floor as it doesn’t entice enough impulse buyers, but thank the lord for the likes of Mothercare who are understandably market leaders in child friendly stores. To be fair though the Liverpool city centre store is split over two floors with no lift, but the staff are extremely helpful and I’ve witnessed them carrying many a buggy up the short flight of stairs.
Fortunately the team at the Liverpool One complex has begun to make small efforts toward enhancing family shopping. I have seen staff now casually watching the public lifts and ensuring they are available for people with prams and wheelchairs, rather than those who can easily use the near by escalators and stairs. I understand that this can be a particularly difficult thing to judge, as not everyone has a visible disability, but so far so good.
So to all the parents who can identify with this frustration, if we pool what little patience we have left maybe one of two of us could enjoy a stroll around the shops at the weekend. Failing that accept every babysitting opportunity from anyone daft enough to offer and shop like there’s no tomorrow.