Dear 20-something: You are so jealous of me, aren't you? You envy this jiggly tummy, these dark circles under my eyes, and this grocery store domination... right? Oh, wait...
Humor Parenting

Dear 20-Something Stranger in the Grocery Store

Dear 20-something: You are so jealous of me, aren't you? You envy this jiggly tummy, these dark circles under my eyes, and this grocery store domination... right? Oh, wait...

By Kelly Suellentrop of Are You Finished Yet?

Hey, you. Yeah, you, the 20-something wearing skin-tight leggings and a halter top, waiting with your organic quinoa salad, pint of ice cream, and six-pack of Corona behind me in line at the grocery store. I noticed you were staring at me, no doubt thinking to yourself that you want to be me one day. And why wouldn’t you?

I remember being in my twenties. I mean, sure, having a social life on the weekends PLUS weekday happy hours was fun. Confidently ordering clothes online because everything fit my normally-proportioned body was pretty convenient. And never having season finales spoiled by morning radio talk shows because I could watch television programs geared towards adults when they actually aired was mighty satisfying. But there was this next level of adulthood I had yet to achieve…the kind that makes a woman feel in her element in a grocery store.

I get it. You see me in my yoga pants and ponytail like I just don’t care, at the helm of my basket piled high with things like juice boxes and Go-Gurt, swiftly and expertly shutting down all my kids’ requests for candy while simultaneously whipping out a stack of non-expired coupons…which will be doubled…AND my store loyalty card, which ensures that my kids’ school will get a kickback from my weekly purchases.

I. am. such. an. adult.

The kind of adult young twenty-somethings can only pretend to be with your “bills” and your “jobs” and your “responsibilities.” You can admit it: there is a part of you that wishes you could be like me. Spend $245.67 on food without batting an eye like me. Put fulfilling the family’s immediate need for peanut butter and cheese sticks over the vanity of looking like a living human being in public like me. Freakin’ own that grocery store like me.

Well, I can’t magically make that happen for you. Much of this je ne sais quoi you obviously admire in me comes with time and, namely, the unrelenting physical and psychological conditioning known as children. You can never fully become one with the grocery store until you have mastered the baby foods aisle. You think choosing cereal is tough? Try getting in and out of the store in under an hour when you must decipher shelves upon shelves of tiny jars, not being able to tell turkey with peas apart from pureed peaches. But I digress.

I can, however, give you a few tips to jump-start your transformation into the kind of woman others move their carts to the side for in recognition of her grocery superiority. OK, some of that may be to remove themselves from the path of toddler tantrums and grubby little fingers sticky from free cookies in the bakery department. But there is a look that screams Grocery Store Diva.  And it is easier to pull off than you may think.

1. Maternity Clothes Aren’t Just for Preggos. That’s right. See this roomy and irresistibly comfy shirt I’m wearing? It used to drape my bun in the oven. Never mind that my youngest bun has been fully baked for six years now. Those little shirts you wear from The Limited, the ones that feel like they are made from wonton wrappers, just don’t camouflage the jiggle left over from childbearing…which you don’t have yet, but it’s never too early to begin simulating it. Because there is a bonus that comes with looking like you have a postpartum belly: you stop getting carded, and checkers start calling you ma’am. Totes adult.

2. Ignore Your Complexion. My dull and lifeless skin is a result of a two-part process: buying whatever face cream I have a coupon for, then falling asleep before I ever use it. It’s a routine that is surprisingly easy to keep up.

3. Maintain Those Dark Circles. Just because I fall asleep before completing a nightly beauty routine doesn’t mean I get a full night’s sleep. Since you don’t yet have kids who decide having an extra person or two in your bed isn’t disruptive or who wake you up because they need to pee, I suggest setting your alarm for 1 a.m., 3 a.m., and 5 a.m. This method leads to the development of dark undereye circles in over 80% of women in as little as two weeks.

So, my dear twenty-something, these three beauty tips will certainly put you well on your way to conquering the grocery store scene. To fully embracing adulthood. To…

…Wait. Maybe that’s not a look of admiration. What’s that? I have a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sticker on my butt? Oh.

Carry on with your quinoa. By the way, I have a coupon for that if you want it.

©2015 Kelly Suellentrop, as first published on Scary Mommy


About Kelly Suellentrop

Kelly Suellentrop is an author, illustrator, and blogger. When she is not working on a new children’s book, she is blogging at Are You Finished Yet? about things like getting hit on by Chuck E. Cheese and her children dancing on Betsy Ross’ grave. Her first book, Absolute Mayhem, is available at and on Amazon, and you can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.