Recently as I was shopping for groceries, I came across a sight that caused me to stop and look twice. It was a mother shopping with her 6 children. The reason I looked more than once was because I don’t often see that. Usually you’ll see 1 or 2, maybe 3 kids with their parent in the store, but not 6 or more. These children were so well-behaved and the mother so calm, that I really admired her and her parenting as she was obviously doing something right. I didn’t witness any whining, begging, crying, yelling, pouting, grabbing, and they even paid attention when I was walking by and made sure they all got out of my way. It used to be this was the norm, but not anymore and that’s why I was so struck by this. I really wanted to compliment her on her family but was hesitant to approach a stranger.
It caused me to think back to when I used to take my children with me to the store. I’d like to tell you they were just as well-behaved and I was just as calm, but alas, I cannot. As much as was practical, I’d try to go by myself, waiting until my husband got home from work and leaving them in his care. Lest you get the wrong impression, let me state that my kids weren’t horrible little monsters. They were just 3 very normal, healthy, active boys. Rambunctious would be a good word to describe them. Who asked for things all through the store. I would find myself saying, “No,” by rote, not even knowing or caring what they were asking for. I know a better mother would have found a way to stop that problem and I’m sure I made threats that would stop it temporarily, but I wasn’t consistent as it continued to be a problem. They would also try to sneak things in my cart when I wasn’t looking. When that happened, I made sure they didn’t get those and they were pulled out as I was loading the conveyor belt with my groceries and would give them to the cashier to put back.
As the boys got older, it was frequently just my youngest who liked to go to the store with me. Normally, I liked his company, but at the store he would talk. And talk, and talk. Which shouldn’t be a problem except that I was a little disorganized. If I just needed a few things, I’d take a list with me. However, if I needed to stock my pantry, because we were out of most everything and “there’s nothing in the house to eat” was being heard frequently, I’d just wing it. Walking up and down the aisles, I’d grab the things I knew I used to make meals with. However, when someone is chatting to you incessantly, it can be a little hard to think about what you need. Those were the trips that I’d get home from and realize I’d forgotten one or two things.
Now that my kids are long grown and gone, I usually try to make a running list and grab it when I’m headed to the store. I’m getting better but there were numerous times I’d get to the store and couldn’t find my list. I’d either left it at home, left it in the car, or it was buried in my purse and couldn’t find it. The same story with coupons, which I detest, and very infrequently use as a result. If I’m feeling super organized, I try to put my shopping lists in my phone as I never leave home without that. I can no longer blame my lack of organization or focus on my children. It’s all me and I have to own it.
I am getting better.