What It’s Really Like Shopping With A Teenage Boy

I like to shop, and I’m not just talking about buying clothes, shoes, and handbags (but yes please).

I also enjoy going to the grocery store and picking out ingredients for a Mexican feast, my mom’s homemade macaroni and cheese, or an over the top chocolate cake decorated with peanut butter cups.

And taking a stroll through a home improvement store to get supplies to paint or fix a leaky faucet is kind of exciting and a relaxing way to spend a Saturday.

My daughter is with me all the way on this subject. However, my teenage boys aren’t in the same lane with us and it amazes me the amount of effort they put into making a shopping trip not fun for me, for them, and for everyone else trying on pants.

Shopping with teen boys.
Shopping with a teen boy is not easy.

I mean, they get to pick out new kicks or a box of Cheez-Its to devour on the way home (because I’d like think bribing them still works), but as soon as we set foot in a store they turn into a limp noodle.

I don’t understand how going to get some retail therapy can zap their energy. Meanwhile at home they are able to wrestle for 10 hours and take things apart.

They seem to be overcome with grogginess and not able to stand or make decisions while perusing the aisles of a shoe store, yet when it’s time for bed (after the 10 hours of wrestling), they summons the energy and coordination to have a Nerf gun fight. In the dark.

I can’t wrap my head around how they can live in their filthy room with tuna-caked bowl and half empty protein shakes and clothes scattered on the floor and an unmade bed, but the aisles of perfectly folded sweaters stress them out.

That doesn’t even make sense. The open, crushed bag of chips they’ve been sleeping with for a month is comforting but rows of color coordinated cashmere, wool, and cotton makes their skin crawl.

My boys literally can’t think straight in a store of any kind, they told me so. More than once they’ve given up on life and just decided to take a nap in the middle of an aisle or crammed themselves in a cart and asked their sister to stroll them around the store.

Which she does because she’ll be damned if her brothers are going to ruin a day when she can sense her mother is willing to spend some money.

Yes, there are times I could leave them at home or in the car and I do. But there are also days when their attendance is needed because they grow faster than the pile of socks and Legos under their bed and I have no idea what size they are.

I could make my best guess, pick out some stuff they’ll be sure to hate, have them try it on for size, make sure I keep the receipt, then go back to the store to exchange it and hope for the best the second time around but I’m not going to do that.

For one, as much as I like to shop, and I am many things to my kids a personal shopper isn’t one of them. And second, I just don’t want to.

They can “suffer” by walking through a store, picking put items they like so they have clothes to wear, then go into a dressing room, try something on to see if it fits so their mother can do other things with her life.

It’s very uncomfortable for them they say over and over as they lean into a rounder of jackets not quite able to keep their legs steady enough to stand, but I’m not buying it.

I’ve seen them go outside in negative temperatures without a coat and tie blocks to their feet and wear them as shoes all day and spend hours putting stickers on each other– I’m thinking they can manage.

I’ve realized by now my boys will never love to shop no matter how magical I try and make the trips. An afternoon of going in and out of boutiques and hitting the local market to see what inspires us to make an epic dinner will never be their idea of a good time.

However, I’ll keep dragging them with me from time to time when we can’t find what we need online in hopes to take up some of their energy from all the wrestling but also, the way I see it, since this is so difficult” for them to manage even an hour of getting things like a pair of sneakers and a pair of pants that for them, I’m actually preparing them for more uncomfortable things that are sure to pop up in their life so really, I’m doing them a huge service.


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About Katie BinghamSmith

Katie Bingham-Smith lives in Maine with her three kids. She is a Staff Writer at Scary Mommy, shoe addict and pays her kids to rub her feet. You can see more of her on Facebook and Instagram .

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