The Grocery School


I used to be fearless.

I toted three young children to the grocery store by myself. One up front in the cart, one in the big part of the cart (yes, I am aware that you aren’t supposed to do this), and the oldest walking with me. It took twice as long to shop, and my son who rode in the back of the cart got covered in groceries, but the chore got done.

And then my children discovered “car carts” aka this-vehicle-requires-a-CDL-and-should-be-equipped-with-backup-lights. The once only tedious job of grocery shopping became my most dreaded hour of the week. The two boys would fight over which side of the car cart they wanted. I would cringe thinking about the amount of germs on those steering wheels (even after wiping them down with the provided bleach wipes). One boy would inevitably drag his hand out the side and knock something over or get stepped on. Arguments within the car cart often included whether they were in a police car or a fire truck. I would walk down the aisles, shamefully hiding my face from the judging grannies who also shopped on Tuesday mornings. The checkout people would jokingly ask if I needed to go grab a bottle of wine.

It was pure torture, and I had had enough of it. No more car carts. No more toting all three (or even two) to the grocery store with me.

The best solution seemed to be doing the grocery shopping mid-day and mid-week, when my two older children are in school. It cuts a bit into lunch/naptime, but with a snack on the way there and on the way home, it works. It has actually turned into a fun outing, and I enjoy bringing my youngest grocery shopping with me. We turn it into educational time – he loves to help me weigh the produce (math!) and to tell me the letters of items on my list (reading!). Of course, there is the inevitable trip to the lobster tank, where we talk about where lobsters come from and what kind of animal they are (science!).


I can take my time choosing the things I want off the shelves, instead of throwing things willy-nilly into the cart. My son loves to help decide what fruit to get for the week, and he always charms the deli workers into giving him an extra piece of cheese. We talk about which foods are healthy and which foods are “treats”. He carefully watches the checkout person scan our items and talks about “how many dollars” things cost (economics!). Instead of dreading this oft-hated weekly chore, I have come to enjoy our weekly mother/son outing to the grocery store. Even better, he is learning so much from such a simple activity. Maybe I’ll be fearless again one day, but for now, I’ll keep my market-shopping a two-person job.





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