Hate is a strong word. One I forbid my children to say. Since becoming a mom though, it seems to go hand in hand with my trips to the grocery store. I can’t even tackle the issue of grocery shopping with kids. From trying to steer the 18 wheeler-esque spaceship kids cart to the strategically placed treats that force mom to be the bad guy while we desperately check out, the store is truly a battlefield… the wounds too fresh to recount. Instead, this rant is about the endless cycle of the grocery store vs my finite free time.
Here’s the thing, rarely is there “free time” sans kids when you are a mom. Mommy “free time” becomes mad errand running, cooking and cleaning all done at once because adding kids to the mix of even one of those events equals:
A. Tears (I’m not just talking about the kids).
B. Destruction (What a toddler is capable of doing in a mere five minutes is nothing sort of amazing).
C. Dangerously high blood pressure (Sometimes you get lucky and it happens while you are in the doctor’s office so help is nearby).
When one such mother has genuine “do whatever you want” free time, one does NOT want to end up at the grocery store. Why might you ask? Let us dissect one glorious hour of my actual free time this month.
Though visions of a mani/pedi dance through my head, I quickly remember I used BOTH heels of the bread for my daughter’s sandwich. Oh and last night, we had the leftover’s leftovers for dinner. As any selfless mother would do, I sacrifice my personal appearance for my children’s well being. I convince myself I’ll simply dash to the store…worst case I’ll only be able to get that manicure before it’s time to retrieve my kids from school.
Clearly I am delusional. Every mother knows the grocery store is really a black hole sucking the life out of precious free time. It goes something like this.
Forfeiting my nomination for Mother of the Year, I settle for my neighborhood grocery store rather than the organic market across town because it only takes five minutes to drive there. Twenty minutes later I’ve thrown the bare essentials into my cart because surely I can whip up something gourmet with eggs, a mixed green salad and all natural peanut butter. Five minutes here to check out, five minutes there to unload my bags and another five minutes to drive home. Forty minutes later, I pull into my garage.
That’s the thing about the grocery store that gets me, my duties are far from done once I exit the aisles. Sadly I’ve kissed manicured nails goodbye, consoling myself there’s always Saturday right? As I see how many bags I can carry on each arm, I waste another five minutes unloading.
I replay the scene where that innocent store bagger asks me if I need help out. I mean it is sweet that he asks because we both know I look like I need a lot of help…more like the professional kind. I have the same response every time they ask. I take a deep breath, nod and swallow the urge to spit out “I need your help at home not here you fool!” Don’t these baby-faced teens understand getting to my car is a cinch but putting all this stuff in its proper place is when I really need assistance!!
We roll out to the parking lot, he doesn’t even ask which car is mine. He heads to the nearest minivan, puts the bags on top of the stroller and between the car seats trying his best to ignore the crumbs and toys strewn about.
Back to my countdown, I have 15 minutes left and bags of groceries cluttering my countertops. My stomach growls but who needs to eat anyway, a cup of coffee and oatmeal can last me until 2 pm easy.
Delusional as usual. I catch a break since our food stores were so depleted there’s no need to rearrange the pantry to fit the new goods. I haphazardly throw things on the shelves giving me five minutes to spare before the clock reminds me I need to head towards preschool or pay five bucks for every five minutes I am late.
So my hour of “me time” boils down to a solo trip to the bathroom. Hey, at least I don’t have a toddler audience. As I sit there proud because at least now my family has food to eat when my solace is interrupted. Like a finger tapping me on the shoulder, I remember the cruelest part about the store…I have to cook it all or smell the rot of shame! And this my friends is why shopping isn’t always a pleasure though the store itself maybe:)