Search icon


19th May 2016

The 5 emotional stages of being allowed to do the big shop with Mam

The big shop is important.

Mam plans the big shop all week, it’s an important social outing that needs to happen at precisely the same time otherwise the world as we know it will implode.

Here’s 5 things that always happen when you do the big shop with your Mam.

1. EXCITEMENT – Anything could happen on this thrilling adventure

Smiling senior woman driving car with her adult child

There’s an element of high jinks involved in being summoned to help out with the big shop. Out of all the disinterested family members, Mam has chosen you to help out with this special occasion. Soak it all in, pal, because today, for one day only, you are the mightiest of them all.

There’s a chance that you’ll be overcome with anticipation and make a poor choice of footwear – DO NOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN. You need to dress appropriately for the task that lies ahead. Keep a level head and for the sake of a peaceful shopping trip, make sure the bags for life are in the boot.


2. RESPONSIBILITY – You will be designated as the trolley attendant


From the minute Mam’s car pulls into the car park, it’s vital that you are scouting for the closest available trolley. Wait for Mam’s instructions as to whether she needs the big trolley or the dreaded small trolley. Woe betide any descendant of hers that doesn’t have a Euro ready to go, or alternatively, a promotional trolley token will be accepted.

Once the trolley is secured, it is now your job to man that trolley to the best of your ability. You need to be two steps ahead of any other shopper in that supermarket. It’s essential that you develop a TAI (trolley attendant’s instinct), whereby you can sense where the trolley needs to be positioned in advance of Mam instructing you. Become one with the trolley, until it is no longer needed and you can return it to its rightful resting bay.


3. FRUSTRATION – Mam is going to bump into a friend


Just as things feel as though they’re going swimmingly, a crisis strikes. Mam is knee deep in the veg aisle when she hears a familiar voice greet her. It’s only Ann from down the road, who’s just back from a two week holiday in the south of Spain and by Christ does she have many a tale to tell.

Minutes turn into hours and you’re stuck waiting by the trolley like the awkward little plum that you are. Don’t dare interrupt because you will be roped into the conversation and questioned about every aspect of your life. Simply nod and smile at appropriate intervals and above all, be patient. Worst case scenario, the supermarket closes at 8pm and you’ll all be asked to leave.


4. PERSEVERANCE – Different shops are visited for different requirements

mother daughter sunset portraits in the Missouri Ozarks in winter

When you finally escape the supermarket, it feels as though you’ve just completed the Leaving Cert again. What an achievement! You’ve loaded up the boot and returned the trolley. Mam’s even bought you a little treat for being so good and helping out. You’re 25, so it’s a bit condescending, but you’re willing to overlook it.

But what’s this? Mam’s taking a different route home than usual. That’s strange, now we’re at another supermarket. Oh fantastic, there’s another few stops planned on the way home. Apparently the meat is better in this place, but the veg is always fresher somewhere else. Ideal. You’ll be lucky to make it home by midnight at this rate.


5. RELIEF – The ordeal is over


Congratulations, you’ve done it. You have successfully helped Mam with the big shop, along with all the unexpected little speed bumps that appeared along the way. Mam is happy, you’ve gotten a little treat to keep you amused for a while and, most importantly, the shopping has been done.

The hard work isn’t over just yet, you’re going to need to carry all the bags in from the car and then unpack them as Mam has conveniently started chatting to the next door neighbour. Efficiently, get the job done and then vow to never, for as long as you live, assist with the shopping again. You’re welcome, Mam.