Here are the parameters: Where I live, the chances I will find a parking spot near my building in the middle of the day are basically zero, unless I am organized/silly enough coordinate with alternate-side parking times. I live on the third floor. I am shopping with a 20-month old assistant who right now despises stroller time. I am on a budget. And I am lazy.
Now, we all know that if you’re really a perfect Park Slope parent you belong to the famous co-op and you work there however many hours a week and so on. I know it’s the cheapest and the best and blah blah blah but I just can’t. I should! But I can’t. I mean, all other considerations aside, I’d have to walk 20 minutes or so to get there and thus would only be able to buy enough groceries as could fit in the stroller (which by the way is why Brooklyn moms sometimes have big strollers so stop making fun). I know moms who do this and I very much admire them. I know one super-mom who worked her co-op shift a few hours before she went into labor with her second child! But self-knowledge is important, I feel, and I know I am too lazy for this sort of thing.
Another option that would make sense thrift and quality-wise would be to trek to Trader Joe’s, but it’s clear over in Cobble Hill, and there is really nowhere nowhere to park around there, so I’d have to tote my groceries AND child home on the stinking city bus. At least one intrepid mom I know cheerily does this, wearing her toddler on her back! Yes, she is perfect. Yes, I’m too lazy.
Of course, there’s always the temptation of Fresh Direct, from whenceI used to futuristically order my groceries and schedule my delivery slot online when I was working, but they are overpriced and their produce always sucks and the 47 boxes you are left with also lead to a lot of work when it comes to recycling night, so again, laziness precludes even delivery.
The next best option, which I talk myself into about once a month but should probably do every week, is driving to the large and lovely Fairway in Red Hook. They have a parking lot! They have wonderful produce, fancy cheese for the non-pregnant, organic stuff and those squeezy fruit things Harper’s obsessed with! They have a café that overlooks the harbor and the Statue of Liberty! And they have decent prices! But there’s the parking problem upon my return, which means I have to go during street cleaning and make sure I arrive home promptly at 1:00pm
or I turn into a pumpkin so that I can park in front of the building and wouldn’t you know it, that usually-nap-resisting child of mine ALWAYS falls asleep in the car on the way home, no matter how many non-torture-torture techniques I try (loud radio, cold air, shouting show tunes), so then there is the puzzle of getting all the groceries AND the sleeping child upstairs while trying desperately not to wake her because then it’s all over. By the time all this is accomplished my back is shot for the day, but at least I have yummy foodstuffs to pregnantly mull over while shuffling around the apartment all afternoon.
So, realistically, what I usually end up doing is making daily stops at specialty shops for that night’s dinner, which sounds charming and sometimes is but is also sort of inefficient and can lead to costly indiscretions, and then supplementing at the grubby C-Town, which is close and delivers. This is particularly appealing when I have to get something heavy like dogfood and just can’t bear the thought of lugging it up all those stairs I’m always telling people are no big deal (and which aren’t, as long as you’re not carrying a 20-lb bag of dog food). But really, C-Town is the worst of all worlds – cramped, kinda dingy, and, the nerve of them, expensive! Even though it says right on the sign “Supermarket for Savings”! This is not true! I’m not good at math so it took me a few years to catch on, but holy crap, I don’t know how they get away with it.
I mean, seriously. What do other moms do? And don’t say I should go without her in the evenings or on a weekend because as silly as all these shopping shenanigans are that free time/family time is too precious to waste.