One night, much like any other, my husband offered to spearhead our baby and toddler’s bedtime. Thrilled that I was officially “off the clock,” I immediately took him up on it. I sunk deep into my couch and settled in with some mindless screen time.

Unfortunately my “checked out” moment was brief. I was ripped back into reality with the words “We’re out of diapers.” Record scratch. Oh no. Could I somehow “MacGyver” a feminine product into a diaper? No. I realized that an immediate run to the Shopette was necessary. I grabbed my keys and dashed out the door, ready to save our evening.

The Shopette was brightly lit with upbeat music and a myriad of service members, who — unlike me — had interacted with adults that day. Had I even put on makeup? Thank goodness I was wearing a bra. Once I realized that I was good to go, I found the reintroduction to society invigorating. After a day of toddler tantrums and meltdowns, I was ready to feel human again. I wanted to slowly browse the aisles but remembered the timeliness of my return.  

I first swung by the diaper aisle (would have been a shame to forget those), and then headed to the wine section. I realized that yes, I was “that” parent purchasing alcohol and diapers. I recalled stories of friends who made the same maneuver, and I felt better knowing that we’d all been there at some point.

I knew the stigma of buying these items together — something akin to a “shopping cart of shame.” As I approached checkout and the clerk asked for my military ID, I confidently smiled and embraced my choice. Scanning my items she laughed, “One of those days? I remember those.” I couldn’t help but laugh.

As I walked to my car I told myself, “I’ll try not to do this again…but I won’t judge myself if I do.”

When I walked in the door, my husband was doubly thrilled. After a long day as a soldier and a challenging evening as a dad, he was ready for a glass of red too.

If you’ve made this purchase, you aren’t alone. I know that: 1) you may not get out much and while you’re at the store, it’s only logical to grab your things too; and 2) raising tiny humans is exhausting.

So milspouses, if your shopping basket (or his honey-do list) contains something for the kids and something for the adults, I say go for it! Be easy on yourself — you’re doing a great job.

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A self-described “Jackie of All Trades,” Army wife Jackie Toops enjoys exploring the various facets of her personality by chronicling military life, world travels, family, her love of the arts and more. Her academic background is in the fields of Interdisciplinary Humanities, Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management, and she has overseen public relations for museums, galleries and universities. Jackie’s articles have been featured on Army Wife 101, Wall Street International Magazine, SoFluential, HomeAway, Military Biz Connection and FamiliesGo. While stationed in Germany, she regularly discussed her articles on-air with the Armed Forces Network in Wiesbaden. A mother of two, Jackie enjoys coffee, freelance writing, languages and discovering new ways to express herself. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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