I am not a fan of grocery shopping.
The best thing to come out of Covid in my opinion is curbside grocery pick up. I’m joking but it sure is nice.
Sitting on the couch, menu planning while I "grocery shop" is perfection, in my opinion.
There came a time in my grocery shopping journey when I simply couldn't with kids. Our youngest sons are twins. With one baby in the shopping cart and one on the front part, there was no room for actual groceries. Since the other two were 4 and 2, they could hardly push a cart to use for actual groceries. But those months were short.
Soon, I had 4 little boys running around in the grocery store. Truthfully, I used to see moms with their kids on harnesses and judge them. It wasn't until I took my own little ones shopping that that concept held merit. But I didn't want to be THAT mom.
I had to find another way or someone would lose their marbles🙋♀️.
Homeschooling people just did it, with their 15 kids, without yelling, even having fun. How did they do it?
Sisters, when you run stuck, ask God. Actually ask Him even when you aren't stuck. He has the very best ideas.
I found myself saying things like, "Anders, use the calculator (because we actually used calculators in that day. There were no smart phones.), and tell me which cereal size is a better value."
Or "Wilson, can you find the chips in the red bag?"
Or, "Can you count 6 bananas for me?"
I considered that our math for the day. Work smarter not harder.
Just like I mentioned in the post on Being guests , we would go over the rules for how to behave in the grocery store, always giving reasons for why we do things.
We don't grab food unless Mom says we can or we will be in the grocery store all day.
Keep your hand on the cart or walk right next to it unless Mom asks you to get something. Explain that there are a lot of people and carts rolling around and they don't want to get hurt.
Make a game and see if they can get someone to say "hi" back to them. This could backfire as they could say 'hi' to EVERYONE which could get you in conversations, which could mean you are there all day. You decide.
If you see someone in an motorized wheelchair, mention to your kids to keep an eye out if they need help reaching something. Being only 3 feet themselves, they won't be able to help but it helps tune them into the needs of those around them. Then you can grab the product off the shelf for them.
Inevitably, they will grab candy at the checkout and ask for EVERY piece.
Them: Can I have dis?
Them: What about dis?
Answering while you are trying to unload the cart while keeping your kids from running away is enough to make you sweat and lose your mind.
Working smarter not harder looks like stopping. Take a breath. Crouch down and look them in the eyes. "Son, Mom is trying to get us out of here. We are not going to get any candy today. Please do not ask me again. Could you help me unload the cart? I will hand you stuff and you put it on the belt. That would be so helpful!
Having them help you put food on the belt keeps them distracted. And close by. It's a win win.
Half of parenting is smoke and mirrors, people.
This will all take practice. Lots of it.
Maybe you will remember just one thing or find yourself exercising patience once. Celebrate that. Really celebrate it.
Baby steps, beautiful one.
Repetition is the key with kids. Patience is equally important. If you keep practicing and keep celebrating the small wins in life, you will find it getting easier and easier to get it right. That will feel so so good.
We aren't looking for perfect children or a perfect mothers. We are just trying to find joy in the journey.
This is the 3rd in a series called Working smarter NOT harder for moms.
1. Bubble wrap is not for people.
2. Being guests with kids.
3. This post about grocery shopping.