Grace and grocery shopping

Grace and grocery shopping

Grace and grocery shopping

Young moms are thrilled.  You can almost hear the collective sigh of relief across the nation as more and more grocery stores are offering the newest attraction in customer service.

It used to be a quarter ride on a mechanical horse. You’d hear young parents as they passed the shiny, plastic animal entering the local supermarket:  “If you’re really good…”

I guess grocery shopping has always required more patience than young children possess – so bribery of some sort has long been a part of a trip to the store.

Until now; young moms have said, “Enough.”  “I can’t take it anymore.”

The horses have become extinct for the most part, replaced by shopping carts that look like race cars with plastic steering wheels.

You’re not going to find shame here today, mommas – I can find empathy without even trying very hard.  Not that long ago – we just let the kids climb in the car, and we were free to go.  Once we arrived, ignorance was bliss. We bought what our moms used to buy.  We cooked from family recipes – or followed the directions on the box.

Now – there’s so many more steps in the process, and so many more decisions requiring real energy from young parents:

  • carseats.  Oh, for all of the wonderful safety reasons we worship carseats, there’s just so many dang buckles and straps.  And they have to fit tight.  So they’re always a struggle.  If you have more than one kid, multiply all of those buckles and straps by the number of kids and you’ve added that many steps in the process.
  • sippy cups.  Do we take ‘em?  It’s just a few blocks away. Water? or Juice?  Does everyone have their cup?  Does everyone have the exact cup they want…not just A cup…but THE cup?
  • technology.  cell phones?  iPads?  “yes” to a movie in the DVD player – or “no”?  Which movie?  Who’s turn is it to pick?
  • snacks.  This is not about hunger.  It’s a “being in a vehicle” thing.  Being in a vehicle requires:  car seats, sippy cups, technology, and snacks.  Oh boy.  Now we have the effort of decision about who gets what snack.

No wonder young moms are thrilled with click and pick up groceries.

After the effort of decision required just to get to the parking lot, there’s not a lot of sanity left to make more decisions about:

  • organic or slowly poisonous? 
  • fresh or shamefully processed?
  • sugar or artificial sweetener or agave nectar from an organic, free-trade plantation?
  • acidic or alkaline? – and I’m not talking batteries.
  • gluten-free or deadly?

I’d hide in the car, too – if I was a young mom.  

It’s just too much.  And the penalty for choosing based simply on your own beliefs (or just your random opinion for that matter) – well, the shame factor is intense.

From a generation far, far away – can I offer you some protection?  From the shame?  Will you take it?

Instead of throwing your “SuperMom” shirt in the Goodwill pile just yet, will you choose a few of these redemptive nuggets to carry around in your very own snack catcher – and chew on them when you need some shame free comfort food?

  • When you’re “clicking and picking,” you’re modeling “asking for help” – and that’s a very mature skill.  This is not sarcasm; it’s wisdom.  Click and pick up groceries is a way of asking for help with a multi-step problem.  It’s an act of humility.  Humility is a beautiful choice.
  • Keep following the previous thought; grocery shopping this modern way is a great way to connect with your children and empathize together if they happen to struggle with math story problems.  So many parents say, “My child knows their math facts – they just can’t do the story problems.”  Bingo!  We know what we need from the grocery store, too – we just can’t handle all of the steps in the process by ourselves.  Have you ever noticed your child gets the story problems right when you help them with all the steps?  Needing help isn’t a symptom of a disability; needing help is a symptom of being alive – in a world that has too many steps to take alone.  There’s nothing wrong with you for needing help with grocery shopping, either.
  • Some days you can do it – the old fashioned way.  You have the time; you’re well rested; your patience and maturity tank indicators are close to the full mark.  Go for it!  Unstrap your young ones from their car seats and buckle them into an old fashioned grocery cart (not the race car kind); tell ‘em it’s kind of like riding in a horse and buggy.  Play “name the fruits and vegetables” game in the produce section.  Help them read the labels and offer them some nutritional wisdom.  Tell them what you really want to buy – but you’re not.  Let your kids see you make a few decisions based on maturity reigning over emotion – and tell them you’re good with it all.  These old-fashioned adventures won’t happen very often, but as American Express says… “priceless.”
  • Tell your kids why you pick “convenience” some days – but not every day.  Help them begin to consider why comfort and convenience can be beautiful servants, but burdensome masters.
  • When you buy the slowly poisonous, shamefully processed, artificially sweetened, acidic, and deadly stuff – just call it what it is.  Eat it in the freedom that convenience offers on a more than busy day – or a day when the family pet dies and you’d rather cry together than cook a multi-step meal together – or because it’s a birthday and the birthday person loves whatever it is that comes in a box found in a grocery store.  Don’t add shame to the artificial ingredients.  
  • Keep asking for help.  From your kids, too.  Because of grace, we have new hearts – good ones!  We don’t want to always eat the stuff that’s bad for us; we know how it makes us feel – and how we always want more of it instead of being really satisfied.  Together we can grow up – even in the way we choose good food.  Even in the way we all go to the grocery store when it’s a good day to share the journey – and endless decisions – together.  We really do all want to get along.  “Love one another” is something we can do now; we’re learning how.

Put that Supermom t-shirt back on.  Smile at the stains and the wrinkles.  Smile at yourself, too.

You’re doing it young moms….on your worst day.  Christ in you is bringing everything new in you to life – in His time.  You’re not behind.

Keep asking for help; humility is beautiful.