I did something today that elicited stares, whispers, and even a gasp. Something daring, adventurous and perhaps even a little bit crazy. I took my children to the grocery store. Not a quick trip to the convenience store for a gallon of milk, but a full-blown, pre-Passover holiday shopping. You might think I took them to climb Mount Everest, the way people were gaping at me. I even heard one woman murmur to her preteen daughter “Wow, I’m glad that I’m past that stage of life.” The truth is, I’ve been taking my kids to the grocery store for the past seven years. Granted, it wasn’t such a big deal when there were only one or two of them. But for some reason, dragging the whole brood seems to be looked at as a peculiar thing to do.
Let’s face it – I work upwards of 50 hours a week. And when I’m not working, I’m probably cleaning, cooking or sleeping. That is, of course, when I’m not helping with homework, bathing the children or doing the laundry. Every once in a blue moon I open a book, sit down for a movie or hang out with a friend. I’m not a hero; I’m just a typical working mother. But why would I want to sacrifice some of my rare, hard-earned quiet time to go to the noisy grocery store alone? And which of the things on my above schedule could I rationally exclude?
I see no choice other than to take my children to the grocery store on a regular basis. But this isn’t the only reason I do it. With regular trips to the grocery store, I’ve been able to teach the kids how to behave in the store, pick the freshest produce, find healthy snacks and plan the week’s menu so that they’ll actually eat what I serve. I (hope) I’ve taught them that food doesn’t just show up in the pantry, but that each item is selected with care, and schlepped home with love by a tired parent. I am able to spend an hour in the store without tantrums, bickering or losing a child.
At the end of each trip, I treat each child to a bottle of chocolate milk or a fresh cookie from the bakery (I haven’t yet introduced them to the candy aisle). I may spend a few extra bucks on these items, but I think that I actually save more than that, because with the kids in tow, I spend way less time strolling down the aisles and throwing unnecessary items into my cart.
Today, while sipping her chocolate milk contently on the way home, Hollie (6), sighed and said ‘you’re the best mom ever.’ That isn’t true, of course – but it sure makes the effort and the extra dollar all the more worthwhile.