What to do when usual babysitters are busy, husband will be home in less than two days, and the grocery supply needs to be replenished TODAY?
Why, take the kids with you, of course.
I admit I'm really spoiled by Phill. Our usual setup is that I go grocery shopping while he stays home, or we go together with the kids. Today, I had no such option. So I put some snacks in my purse, made my list as clear and succinct as possible, and called my sister for support. (That's right. I'm spoiled, and I call my sister to motivate and inspire me before I do something that's difficult.) She cheerfully told me I could do it, and that I wouldn't fall over and die when it was over. (I think the last time I've had to do the two-weeks-worth grocery shopping thing with the kids was.....two months ago? I'm rusty.)
First we stopped at Costco, which was relatively easy because I had two of the three strapped into the cart. Let me pause to say:
Please make your shopping carts as big as Costco's, and your aisles as wide as Costco's, even if your food and supplies are not near as exciting as Costco's.
When we got to Wal-mart, I tried to be speedy and efficient, which was not easy at all. Do you know my boys? Let me tell you something: They want to examine everything. Weigh everything. Sometimes taste-test things.....they are tactile explorers, which means that this refrain is heard as we make our way throughout the store:
"Put that down, please. No, we're not buying that. I said no. We have treats at home. You don't need shoes. Please follow me. Please stay close to me. Please stay close to me. PLEASE STAY CLOSE TO ME. No, not next to the cart, next to me....me. Me."
It's no wonder they stop listening--I get sick of hearing myself, too! I become this anxious, wild-eyed, frizzy-haired, sweaty version of myself. And I get weird looks from cantankerous old men who can't understand why I would bring my three young children with me to the store. Which makes my mental snarkiness really shine....."What? What's your problem? Stare at me some more!" Obviously, this is not a time when I'm at my best.
But today, I didn't want to feel sorry for myself, and so I said a prayer before I left and decided to note the things that went well. Here's what went well:
-Savvy had just woken up from a nap before we left. Cheery, quiet Savvy. Angel.
-The boys were just rambunctious--not screaming, not crying, and not making things fall off the shelves.
-I found a parking spot close to the front door.
-I found what I needed quickly, both at Wal-mart and Costco. Relatively no puzzled searching.
-I stayed within my food budget!
-The kids were quiet in the car on the way home, and gratefully accepted a McDonald's dinner. (Odd, you might say, that I buy fast food on the way home from just buying tons of-what?-FOOD. But in this case, it's a necessity. By the time I get home and get everything put away, it's 7:30. Hungry kids wailing in the kitchen while I try to simultaneously make dinner and put everything away? I don't think so. Oh--and although I could go earlier, it just didn't happen today. Between a grandma visit and a baby nap, I was impressed we got out the door at 4:30.)
-The confused stares and even annoyed glares were nonexistant today. Two moms were even sweetly sympathetic as our circus walked by.
-The kids are full-bellied and soundly in bed. And I am not dead.
I also have to say that for some reason today, I was overcome as I walked through the store, looking at all the food. Mostly the produce. I think it's an incredible blessing that my fridge has colorful produce and fresh cheese and protein-filled meat in it right now; a blessing to live in a country where food is available in such abundance and for a relatively reasonable price. It just struck me--for no apparent reason--that it is amazing to be able to walk into a store and have so many choices, and walk out with two weeks' worth of food.
Instead of feeling despondent and exhausted, I'm tiredly grateful.
Now if that isn't a miracle.....