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5 Ways to Stop Old Ladies From Critiquing Your Parenting at the Grocery Store

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Photograph by Twenty20

The grocery store used to barely be a blip on my radar.

I'd go when I was out of milk or if I needed a pint of ice cream for a Wednesday night treat emergency. I ran in, grabbed my food, paid and then was back home in no time.

Now with three little girls, the grocery store has become my personal Mount Everest to climb on a weekly basis. Just loading everyone in and out of the car is an athletic event!

RELATED: 5 Ways to Handle It When Strangers Comment on Your Parenting

But once you enter the grocery store, the real test of your mettle begins. Because if there's one thing I've learned in my nearly six years of parenting, it's that there is no place you are more likely to get unsolicited advice than when you innocently try to grab a box of cereal or some yogurt.

Here are 5 things you'll want to avoid at all costs, unless you enjoyed being told by a stranger that you're doing it ALL WRONG.

1. Don't use a grocery cart.

There is basically no way to win with a cart. You'll be quickly notified by the cart police that the buckle is too tight or too loose. Or that you should let them get out of the cart. Or that whatever position they're in is unsafe or uncomfortable.

If you have more than two children, you're basically asking for people to question and dissect your reproductive choices.

2. Don't buy juice.

Everyone wants to let you know it will rot your child's teeth and is just empty calories. "No better than soda!" and "They should be drinking more milk." Don't even try to explain that you only buy juice once every six months and that it's a special treat.

3. Don't go after 7 p.m.

Shouldn't that child be in bed? Yes, she probably should, but sometimes you just really can't go one more day without bread. I don't know when bedtimes became something you got quizzed about in public places, but gear up. You'll be asked often.

4. Don't let your child walk more than five feet away from you.

I definitely understand stranger danger and also how annoying it is when children are running wild in the store aisles, but if my girls are in my direct line of sight and not bothering anyone? Maybe you should take a lesson from them and not bother me either. We could all learn something from a 5-year-old.

5. Don't have more than one child. Actually, don't have just one child, either.

As soon as I had two girls, the comments started about trying for a boy next (and when I was pregnant with a third girl, there was so much sympathy offered to me, as if I must be quite devastated to be having a third girl instead of a boy). If you have one of each, everyone will tell you that you can be done now. If they're close together in age, there will be comments about how rough that must be. If you have more than two children, you're basically asking for people to question and dissect your reproductive choices. Actually, scratch this one. If you have one child, you're guaranteed to get told you must have another because only children always turn out spoiled and selfish, and everyone is going to be asking when you're having another.

RELATED: So I Let My 5-Year-Old Do the Grocery Shopping

Probably, you should just order groceries online. And then not answer the door when the delivery man drops them off.

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