If there is one thing that gives me a deep sinking feeling in my stomach more than trying to plan activities to keep the kids entertained for six weeks, it’s shopping for school shoes.

It normally involves a lot of waiting, some tears, and parting with an extortionate amount of cash.

Of course too late into this parenting game I have found out that you can pre-book appointments for fittings.  This only eliminates the waiting.  I cannot guarantee it will eliminate the tears and it definitely won’t eliminate the “How much?” moment at the till.

Pre-bookable appointments is going on my list of “really useful shit that they should print in the parenting manual.”

But for anyone who has faced the ordeal of shopping for school shoes, here are the stages which you may well relate to.

The Six Stages of Shopping for School Shoes

Stage One: Optimistic planning

When do you go shopping for school shoes?  Do you go for the start of the holidays because it will be quieter and risk a potential growth spurt rendering the shoes useless and having to go through the ordeal again?  Or do you leave it to the very last minute because everyone would have done it by then, right?  Wrong.  So very very wrong.

The best optimistic planning is to paint on a happy face and gee the kids up for a fun day out.  Shove all of the snacks in your bag and bribe them with a good behaviour Maccy D’s when the ordeal adventure is complete.

Stage Two: Budget re-submission

After being told there is a two hour wait and adding your name to the list of doom, you have to keep the kids entertained in the shopping centre for two hours.  This normally involves spending money on:

  • The novelty go karts the crafty shopping centre people brought in, knowing this would happen.  Twice.
  • Ice creams.
  • Books.  An educational alternative to visiting the toy shop.
  • Toys.  Because you still have an hour to kill and if you hear, “Can we go to the toy shop?” one more time you might actually kill.
  • Face painting (damn you shopping centre owners).
  • One of those car ride things that costs £2 for 1 minute because it was right next to the toilets (damn you centre owners).
  • The most expensive pencil you have ever bought in Smiggle.
  • Maccy D’s even though you threatened not to about 17 times.

Add in the cost of the shoes you will eventually purchase and you could have actually gone on holiday!

And of course there was the tantrum because you refused to part with any money in the build-a-bear workshop.

Stage Three: Disaster aversion

Potential disasters to be avoided if possible although highly unlikely are:

  1. The toddler removing all shoes from the display shelves.
  2. The toddler face planting the floor because they are waddling around in shoes 10 sizes too big.
  3. The school child sobbing when they don’t have the shoes they like in their size.
  4. Both children using those funny shaped foot stalls as slides in a bid to alleviate their boredom.
  5. The toddler finding a pair of paw patrol shoes that they simply must have.
  6. The school child hating their shoes and crying at the thought of even having to wear them (sorry Mum).
  7. Your child needing the toilet as soon as they call your name.
  8. Loosing your shit in the shoe store.

Stage Four: Emotional breakdown

This part normally happens at the till when they tell you how much.

“Would you like any shoe polish with them?”

“@#$* £@# !!!”

Stage Five: Reflection and learnings

We have basically learnt that we do not want to do this again for as long as humanly possible.  It’s going to take at least a year to recover.  There is no alternative but to issue the kids with threats concerning scuffage, misplacement, and, “Don’t you even think about growing before next August.”

Stage Six: Survival Celebration

You really really deserve that wine.  And the Chinese.  Also the chocolate.  And the really cute handbag you bought in the shoe store.

Here’s to next years adventure shopping for school shoes.  Such fun!

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You might also like this post on why you should never visit build-a-bear workshop without kids, or these other posts:

  First Year at school 




Claire Kirby

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