1. Set your goals and expectations – now cut them in half. You’re shopping, not bunkering down to study for exams. Being realistic will save your sanity.
2. Eat before you leave the house. You’ll need the energy to keep going after the first three stores only net you a single pair of jeans.
3. But plan to take a food break later, too. You’ll be burning calories just trying to maintain a straight face during the 50th fitting room visit and nobody enjoys a cranky sugar-crash shopping trip.
4. Wear a crossbody bag so your hands will be free when your offspring inevitably asks you to “hold this” while browsing racks.
5. Comfy shoes. Duh.
6. Don’t worry about dressing to the nines. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and it won’t matter what you look like if you can’t make it to the finish line.
7. Don’t dress like you just came from the gym either. I learned this one the hard way when I got a very different response than the lady in front of me at TJ Maxx. Granted, she was dressed like a grownup. I know, that shouldn’t matter, but there it is. I don’t make the snap judgement rules, I just try to live by them. Sometimes.
8. Decide which will make you less crazy: chipping away at school supply lists over multiple visits or a ninety minute full frontal attack, do-or-die approach to single day completion. Then own your choice.
9. Build in time for friend consultations via text. What, you thought your opinion mattered? Only because you pay the bill – when it comes to fashion advice you’re the touch of death.
10. Bond with other parents outside dressing room doors. Embrace the comradery. Maybe meet up for drinks later on. Lord knows you’ll all need them.