kids in cart

There is nothing more satisfying than a little retail therapy:  The rush that you get from getting a pair of killer heels that you will probably only wear once to that wedding you will not remember thanks to the open bar; the thrill of feeling like a champion because you walked into the store with a list and a coupon notebook and walked out with a cart full and only paid $3; OR that moment of delight when you peruse the overstocked aisles of endless choices to find exactly the items you need to complete that home organization project that you have been planning for weeks.

Yes! – those are good times, only, it’s not like that, not quite, not since the bundles of joy have arrived.  Now,  it’s more like trying your best not to run over anyone’s toes with the double stroller while you squeeze through to search the sale rack that  has nothing to complement your post baby body; it’s more like hey kids, “Everybody walk around with your hands where I can see them…” to prevent accidental theft because “I didn’t know” only works the first time; it’s more like getting exactly what you think you need in the 15 minutes between picking the kids up from school, grabbing them a bite to eat and shuttling them to practice, only to find out when you finally get home that it’s too big, too blue and well, useless. No big deal, you can just return it – someday. Shopping has sort of lost that loving feeling for me since I have become a mom. BUT things are looking up….Finally, retailers are starting to get the right idea to make the shopping experience a little easier. And I mean not just retailers in New York and Los Angeles, I’m talking retailers and stores HERE in Charlotte.

Below are a few stores that you can find in our area who offer services and perks that make mom-life and shopping mommy-style a little bit easier:

Banana Republic/GAP:  So Banana Republic and GAP are pretty much my go-to choices when searching for basics for everyday wear, work, play and events. They pretty much sell it all –  which is great, except, thanks to the non-standardized fashion industry and women’s sizing,  you pretty much need to try everything on. AND who has time to maneuver around with small kids, in a small space to find the right pieces and then have time to try it all on?? Well, some of you lucky mama ladies might, but trust me when I say a lot of mommies do not. So three cheers for Banana Republic and GAP for helping to cut this process in half. They have introduced a new “Reserve in Store” option.  You can do all of your shopping for the latest and greatest styles online and reserve them in the store. Then you can just show up and get all the items that you reserved and take them straight to the dressing room OR grab and pay for them if you are lucky enough to have a consistent shape/size.  Either way,  you have saved yourself the stress and time that comes with shopping in store. Check out the Banana Republic/GAP website to learn more about this service and find the Charlotte location closest to you.

The Container Store: I remember the first time I walked into this store, I think the heavens opened and cherubs descended and played little golden harps!  This store has a solution for any and every problem you have for home organization. With that said, it truly can be overwhelming and that is why it is wonderful that they offer a similar service to Banana Republic and GAP in that you can shop online and reserve your items for pickup.  You can schedule your pick-up times and you don’t even have to get out of the car- they bring everything out to you! What’s even better is that you didn’t have to try and visualize your spaces, carry lists of measurements and memorize that shade of green you painted the laundry room – you can look at it and double check because you can do all the shopping at home! Next time you fall in love with that kitchen reorganization that you see on Pinterest, go ahead and get what you need to make it happen from the Container Store without leaving your car. Finding someone to assemble and label it all, well that is another problem that deserves another solution.  Find out more about the “GoShop” Service at the Container store and find a Charlotte location near you!

Harris Teeter and Lowes Foods:  Earlier this year, fellow Charlotte Moms Blogger Shannon shared some survival tips for tackling grocery shopping with kids.  These were excellent suggestions and I want to add my suggestion to the mix – do not even go in the store – do your grocery shopping online.  I personally use the Express Lane at Harris Teeter but I am aware that Lowes Foods also has a similar service. I am going to describe Harris Teeter’s “Express Lane” service because that’s what I know.  I first started using this service when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter and I haven’t looked back.  Let’s face it, what is more difficult than shopping with toddlers? How about shopping while pregnant with crazy food aversions/cravings and a baby that was supposed to make an appearance 6 days ago weighing down on your cervix??   Shopping using Harris Teeter’s Express Lane is without a doubt a convenience that has transformed my mom-life. That sounded exaggerated when I typed it initially but it IS a true statement. Grocery shopping online allows for you to meal plan and only buy what you need; it allows you to match sales with coupons (YES, they accept coupons in the Express Lane!) and my favorite again, you don’t have to get out of the car. You place your order online, schedule a pick-up time, show up, and press a button.  Then the pleasant staff comes out, you pay and they load your car for you. 15 minutes tops and you drive away – grocery shopping done! There is a small convenience fee for this service that is often waived with the purchase of certain items and around holidays.  But that fee is worth it for the time saved by not walking up and down the aisles and wrestling with our beloved kiddos on whether to buy the Spiderman fruit snacks or not. Click the links to find out more about Harris Teeter’s Express Lane or Lowes Foods to GO online grocery shopping options and find a location in your Charlotte neighborhood.

For the record I did not receive any perks from any of these stores/companies.  OK Charlotte Moms, is there a store I missed?  What stores do you wish had some sort of perk to benefit your mom-life?