Since my twin girls were born, I've been on a crusade to get double shopping carts in stores. It's not just for mothers of twins, but for mothers with a toddler and an infant, or anyone with more than one child. When I say double carts, I don't mean those things that some stores call double carts, with a big plastic bench, or two seats a foot away from the regular cart. You can't use those with infants. My girls are almost two years old, and still aren't completely comfortable sitting in them.
Shopping With Two in Tow
Until you've lived through it, you can't understand how difficult it is to shop with young twins. You have two little ones to juggle and a cart that only holds one of them. You can put one child in the seat and one in the basket, but if you have twins, no one wants that. Or you put one in the basket and hold the other while you try and push the cart and shop at the same time. (That's real fun!)
If they are old enough to hold on, you can have them both in the basket. That only works after they're about a year old, because until then they can't really hold securely. But no way do they want to sit down inside the basket and not see everything going on outside and standing in the basket isn't really safe. You really need an actual seat for each child to sit in.
Anyway, I've been taking my girls to Meijer's by myself to shop since they were around 6 months old and able to sit up. I'd just put a blanket in the cart for extra cushion. I always felt they were pretty secure in their own basket and buckled in. I've emailed and called Meijer's to thank them for being such a "mom and family friendly" store by making these carts available to their shoppers.
I've also asked for more of them. They only have a few and there have been lots of times I've driven around the parking lot looking for one. Usually I can find one of the cart guys to find one for me, but there have been times when I've just gone home because I couldn't find one and I can't really shop without one. The funny thing to me is that every time I go there I see people using those carts with two different aged kids. I've only seen twins in the carts one time. So they are a great thing for parents in general, not just for twin moms.
I do most of my shopping at Meijer and Sam's Club because they have the right kind of double carts. Meijer's offers the back-to-back type carts, with two actual seats, one behind the other, with a basket in back. They look like a regular cart, just with an extra baby seat. Sam's Club and Costco stores provide a side-by-side style, where you can sit two children in a wider front seat. My girls prefer the Meijer tandem style carts, because they like having their own seat where they aren't stuck right next to each other. But whatever is available works for mom! It's better than the alternative ... no double cart at all.
I recently went online to thank them for providing double carts at my Sam's Club store. But I also asked them to ensure that every Sam's Club store has them -- not all do, as I've found out from my sister who shops across town with her infant twins and a toddler. I asked them to get these handy carts in Walmart stores as well. Unlike the membership-only Sam's Club, anyone can shop at Walmart.
Many grocery stores, like Bigg's, have carts with little cars in front of the half-sized basket, but kids have to be old enough to safely ride in them. They have to sit down practically on the floor out in front of the cart, and my girls never really liked being that far away from me. Maybe it’s the twin novelty phenomenon; people are always approaching them and they are uncomfortable with the attention when I'm far away.
I think Costco is by far the best "family friendly" store because every single cart they have at their store is a double cart! I don't have a membership myself (the local store isn't convenient to where I live), but on a visit with my parents, I was shocked and thrilled to see that every cart is double seated. Why not? It holds more stuff to buy, so you'd think all stores would have them. I just wish other stores would follow this example.
I've contacted Toys'R'Us and Babies'R'Us about their carts as well. The first year after my girls were born, I had a lot of credit (from duplicate gifts) at these stores, and every time I went shopping I had to use my double stroller and drag a shopping cart behind me. I was told last summer that Toys'R'Us was getting some of these carts for all their stores nationwide, but it's yet to happen. I'm still waiting. I truly hope they will get some, if not replace all the carts, with double carts nationwide. Especially since they are a store for families and babies! You'd think they would make it as convenient as possible so you'd shop there more.
Why buy more single seated carts? They all should be double seated carts. Remember, not only can you put two children in those side-by-side carts, they're a little wider so I'm sure you can buy more stuff. Isn't that what the stores want?
So now you get the picture. Since moms are the ones that do most of the shopping, and we usually have the kids without help, we need to shop at places that make it easier for us. So I'm begging every store everywhere to get some actual double (two seated) carts that will hold toddlers and infants. Be a family friendly, Mom-friendly store and help us moms out!
As you can tell, I feel very passionate about this subject. My girls like to go shopping with me, and I'd prefer shopping during the day with them instead of leaving them asleep with my husband so I can go shop late at night by myself. By then I'm too tired and I haven't seen my husband all day so then we don't get anytime together.
What may seem likea silly thing is really a major thing for twin moms like myself, as well as other moms, like some of my friends with a one- and three-year-old. So thanks for reading and please help by asking the stores you shop at to get double carts that will hold infants and/or toddlers. Does your local store provide carts that can accomodate your multiples? If so, thank them! If not, ask them to do so in the future!
Gina Stelzer is a mom of fraternal twin girls born in 2001.