Posts Tagged ‘grocery store’

We All Need the Village

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

We all need the villageFor much of the day, I am solely responsible for my children’s livelihood, safety, and well-being. As a caregiver to three young children mine suddenly take on a particularly vulnerable feel. We all know the scenarios of varying likelihood—robbers, kidnappers, terrorists, clowns. I am a very vulnerable target with my car seats and non-mobile, slow-moving children who, now outnumbering me, are prone, as all children are, to getting distracted, being loud, and ignoring instruction. Of course the scenarios can be far more realistic. Allow me to demonstrate.

I’m at the grocery store with three young children. I’ll assume all goes well in the store, “well” being defined differently by various people who witness my existence. I get outside with a cart full of groceries, baby fussy and ready to nap and two preschoolers frustrated that the other keeps touching his side of the cart. It is 95 degrees outside. If I put kids in the car first with no car on, what am I doing? Trying to overheat them to death? Of course if I leave them in the cart or standing by the car, oh the horrific possibilities of cars hitting them or the cart rolling away on the never-even pavement. If I put them in and start the car, what about that one news clip I saw about people jumping into a stranger’s car to steal it—with my children in tow!? Oh the danger! But it’s hot.

I decide my course of action. I strap them all in as my frozen goods melt, because strapping in three children takes time. I’m not complaining, as I did choose to have these exquisite children all in a row, but who really wants melted ice cream even if they chose the lifestyle that leads to it? I start the car and stay vigilant as I quickly load the groceries. Then I must decide—leave the cart like a jerk in the parking lot or take it three cars up to the cart area. There is literally no way for me to complete that scenario where someone could not point out how I potentially endangered my children.

My scenario is relatively minor but that’s how it adds up for many of us. Mommy shaming seems like a phrase of the moment but I assure you it is a daily potential experience for many of us. I’m tired of hearing about mommy shaming (and blaming). I want to talk about something more important: the supportive village.

I don’t need to defend why I exist or why my children exist or that we deserve to exist. I don’t need to hire a sitter or leave them at home with someone else for your (or my) convenience. I’m not saying let’s allow our children to run amuck (though the argument can go so far as to say we all deserve a little grace and we all sometimes run amuck); nor am I saying you need to bend over backward for me. I’m saying I have kids and we are all invested in their outcome. Every time we go out in public, they learn to become more civilized, though at times the side glances or under-the-breath comments from adults are less than civil.

Instead of blaming me for all the ways I potentially put my children at small risk just in order to make it through the day—to put groceries in the car, grab a quick shower, let them learn to climb the monkey bars alone—help me. At the very least just let me be. Better yet, be the village. Instead of pointing out the ways my child could be stolen, create an environment where we instead blame the person who is…you know…stealing the babies. I’d even go so far to say care for the criminal too—I doubt he or she had a village. Mothers and caregivers get blamed and shamed rather than welcomed into the fold. Protect us and look out for us, the vulnerable. Offer to take my cart those 30 steps. Drive more cautiously in the parking lot. Stop looking at the things I do that seem potentially concerning in a minuscule way and look out for the things that are actually concerning.

I know, I know. I’m asking you to take on some responsibility for my choices of having children. That’s true. We all take turns being the vulnerable—we were all once kids, we all have times when we’re sick, particularly overburdened, or for whatever reason emotionally, mentally, or physically distracted in our lives. We become more vulnerable as we age, too. We all benefit from a village, so please care about it, whether or not you have children. Look out for others rather than point them out. Fellow moms I’m talking to you (and I’m reminding myself). We sometimes opt for mommy wars rather than help, maybe because we are so thinly stretched and know too well how vulnerable we are. It’s easier to keep vulnerability at a distance. We need to take the step, even in our exhaustion, to build the village too.

More is at stake than a smooth shopping trip. It’s our investment in one another, our relationship with each other that keeps us connected as individuals and groups at large. We’re living in an individual wants-before-greater good world. I am in a season of vulnerability. Look out for me, will you?

Lynette is a mom of three children from 6 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Double Cart, Single Kid

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Double Cart, Single KidVisiting my brother and sister-in-law out of town one weekend, she and I ran to the store to grab some groceries. As I saw a mom with one child pushing the decked-out, double-seated car basket, I voiced my frustration to my sister-in-law how I don’t appreciate when single kids get that cart and I’m left with the regular single-seat basket while juggling my one- and two-year-old children. Within our conversation she voiced that her one young daughter really enjoys the treat of riding in the cart and how the little special things can make a child’s day.

Later, I read a blog post written by a mom with multiple children in which she strongly held her opinion about the pet peeve of single children in double carts. A couple of days later came the response of a “singleton” mom. I had three thoughts about my talk with my sister-in-law. First, Man, I put my foot in my mouth! Second, my sister-in-law is a sweet heart. Last, I really hope I was not as self-centered in that moment as I am fairly certain I must have been.

Herein lies the trouble with so-called mommy wars: Both sides often have good points. Yes, there is general consensus among everyone that breastmilk offers additional benefits; there are a number of real, relatable reasons a family may need or choose formula. There are multiple perspectives with co-sleeping vs. crib, babywearing vs. stroller, homeschooling vs. public school, and more.

All moms have their struggles no matter the number of children or the particular issues of each individual child. In the case of the grocery cart, I think one of the underlying assumptions we don’t mention is the “might” that comes with an increased number of children. For example, moms with multiple kids may talk down to mothers of “just” one kid, forgetting how much of a challenge it was to have one kid when they were in the midst of it. It was the training that came with “just” one kid that helped prepare them for more. Likewise, I often see “choice” cited for women with more children—as in, you had them all (and by all, here in America, we mean any more than 2) by choice so now you must never, ever complain about it.

My work and family leave me intensely depleted at the end of some days (many days…). And now another mama wants me to see her personal, intricately personal point of view, consider how she lives out her similar values? Ain’t nobody got time for that! But I need to find the time, because the world does not revolve around my life experience. My values are not the gold standard. I don’t make meaning of her life through my life; her life has meaning—and worth— in and of itself. When I try to see her through my perspective, I miss out on hers. It only takes a second to bite your tongue.

My sister-in-law had a kind response to my soapbox at the time. She said, “Well, I never thought about it that way. That’s a good point.” Of course I don’t know what was happening internally, but since she listened to me I felt open enough to consider her point of view as well. She’s juggling a young one and elementary-aged kiddo. I don’t need to compare it to my situation of one- and two-year-old. Both of us are working our tails off to meet a thousand different wants and needs from a dozen different sources every single day.

I say WE should ride around in those carts and our loved ones can push US around.

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 2 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Tags: parenting, mommy wars, infants, toddlers, motherhood

Enjoying a Trip to the Grocery Store with a Toddler

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Enjoying a Trip to the Grocery Store with a ToddlerThe baby is screaming, the toddler is running from one item to another leaving behind a path of littered goods, and you are just trying to bust through the aisles as fast as possible to make it out and have something to eat tonight. Does the situation sound familiar to you? Shopping with young children in tow can feel like running an Ironman, but with a little (or a lot) of preparation you can make it enjoyable for everyone (most of the time).

Here are five tips for surviving the grocery store with your toddler.

  1. Be Prepared. As much as possible, try to have a list of exactly what you need to pick up.  If you haven’t already, try meal planning on the weekend. Start off by planning 4 dinners a week, and it usually comes out perfect with a night or two of leftovers and one night out. You can adjust this to your own family patterns. One big grocery shopping trip is easier than lugging the kids into the store several times a week.  Also try some of the meal planning services that give you a menu and itemized grocery lists broken down by department.
  2. Timing Matters. Try not to wait until the end of the day to rush to the grocery store.  Everyone is tired and has little focus in the afternoon. Instead, try to do your grocery shopping first thing in the morning. Get up, have breakfast, and off to the store. Everyone is happier in the morning, including the store employees and customers. They will be more receptive and welcoming to your children and add a pleasant vibe to completing your trip.
  3. Involve your child. Make sure that even though you are getting your work done, you focus on your children. Involve them in the trip. The grocery store is full of great teaching opportunities and your child will soak it up. In the produce section, talk about names, colors and shapes of the things you buy. Have your child find items you know they can recognize.  Have them help you put food in the bag or in the cart. Pay attention to the signs and pictures around the store–talk to them about the sign or have them find it. Play I-Spy games describing what you see, and encouraging them when they can identify the item. If your child is getting antsy, pretend you just got on a train and make the cart stop/go at various “stations” where the train is loaded. Teach your child to say hello, thank you, and goodbye to the workers your encounter, take time to let your child talk to them if they wish.
  4. Know your store. Make sure you know your store. Know where the bathrooms are, know where the trashcans are, and know where free handouts (cookies in the bakery, rice cakes at the sushi stand) are. This is a huge help when a crisis strikes.
  5. Don’t be afraid to stand your ground or leave. Even the most planned mom cannot plan how her child will behave. If your child is having a particularly difficult time, they need to feel the strength and direction of their caretaker. Do not be afraid to tough out the last few minutes or to leave the store and come back later to finish some or all of your shopping.

Casey Mix-McNulty, RN, BSN is a full-time mom to an imaginative little boy and a feisty little girl. She is also a pediatric nurse aspiring towards becoming an IBCLC.

Dust off your Crock Pot and Get Ready to be Inspired!

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

A friend of mine shared this photo with me. She spent $350 and 4 hours putting together 40 crock-pot meals for her family of 6! Check it out:

She is a full time working mama of 4 busy boys. Coming home in the evenings after work, sports practices, school events, etc made dinner time kind of hectic for them. Being the resourceful mama she is, she made a plan that would allow for more quality family time in the evenings AND save them money. A trip to the grocery store and a few hours later, she has healthy, ready-made, meals to throw in her crock-pot in the morning. And will come home in the evening to a yummy smelling, home-made, family dinner …FOR 40 NIGHTS! I am in serious awe!

She shared a few tips:

  • Select 20 recipes and double them. This cuts down on the initial meal planning and prep time.
  • This is the perfect opportunity to buy in bulk. Do so and take full advnatage of the savings.
  • Clearly label each bag, including any extra that need to be added at the end of cook time such as rice, noodles, etc.
  • Use a food processor to assist with all that chopping.
  • Use pintrest to find crockpot recipes that freeze well. My friend did a trial run with a few to ensure they would taste yummy once thawed.

After chatting with my friend about this, I know exactly what I am asking for for my birthday this month…a family sized crock-pot! ;) Yep, believe or not I have never actually used a crock-pot. Although now I am super eager to try something like this for my family. What about you? :)

Do you use a crock pot to simplify family dinners? Any tips, suggestions, or links to share? Would love to hear from YOU!

-Sarah

Tasty Tuesday with a Twist: A Video Tour of My Pantry

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

For many, many years I cooked meals out of a pantry that was in complete disarray. When I would get home from the grocery store I would put the food wherever there was room on the shelves with no rhyme or reason to their location. I was just happy to get groceries from the car, into the house, and unpiled from the kitchen table. It actually never even occurred to me to be more systematic about putting groceries away.

That is until I saw a few photos from a friend’s immaculately organized kitchen/pantry. She happens to be a pretty incredible cook who prepares deliciously clean, whole foods for her family. I felt inspired by her photos and really liked the idea of grouping food items together by category. So when we moved into our new house that seemed like the perfect opportunity to get my pantry under control. Additionally over the previous year or so I had become more adept at feeding my family; including knowing what were staples in our diet and how much we consumed during a typical week. Thus I had a better idea of how to adequately stock my pantry.

After almost a year of cooking from a well-organized and well-stocked pantry, I fully appreciate how it has positively enhanced the task of preparing healthy meals for my family. It makes meal-planning way easier, writing a grocery list is a cinch, food preparation is much faster, and our overall grocery bill has been reduced.

Because I share so many recipes here, I thought I would invite you all into my pantry! :) Perhaps seeing what works for our family might help you develop a helpful system for your own family? I know I am very grateful my friend shared her photos with me many moons ago because it had a definite impact on our daily lives.  Feeding our family is something most of us do multiple times a day so efficiency with meal planning and preparation is a high priority for most mamas! :)

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