Parenting from the Shopping Cart

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Sacred Parenting: How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls
(My favorite “parenting” book)

Grocery shopping with little’s are the pits. They are hungry, they have to stay by the cart, they are trapped by all the colorful items that they can’t touch and play with. But sometimes you don’t have a choice but to take them.

Parenting is so much fun to watch and judge when you are grocery shopping. The kid that is screaming for the candy, the other one throwing food all over the floor, and the child yelling for “mommy!”.  I wish I could say my children have never done any of that. At one time I would have told you that they know better… but children are children and I had the mortifying moment of watching my three-year-old throw an item across the isle. Humility and shock raged through my body. Thankfully when you have a hundred eyes on you, waiting–watching to see what you will do, you don’t have the opportunity to react (Thank you, LORD!) and so I firmly, and more calmly than I was feeling, I took said three year old out of the cart, he had to crawl and get the item, put it back on the shelf, and then I took the treat that I had already placed it the cart and placed that back on the shelf. The other three children got to keep theirs but he lost his. I don’t think I have ever looked at another parent and judged so quickly again.

Shopping can create the most interesting ideas and thoughts ever, not to mention blog posts that will soon follow. Two year old is deciding that she is old enough to not need to ride in the shopping cart. I do want to teach them how to shop in the store and so I have her hold onto the cart while I have a duck line in back of me. While trying to decide which brand was cheaper for an item I needed, said two year old looked at another item. When I had made my decision and was ready to leave, the two year stayed behind. It was a quick decision I had made, not one I normally would follow through on, but I decided to try the whole “come on, I’m leaving” and walk away. Now, I do not like that kind of manipulating with children. I absolutely HATE it when parents do that. They know and you know that you will not walk out of the store without them and it just becomes a battle of the wills. Either the child obeys you or they don’t. But in my infinite wisdom and tiredness, I decided to try it. Two things happened: 1 the expected thing of the child not coming, and 2. the other children’s reaction to me walking away.  The child of course, trusted that I am her mother. I am her protector. I have her good intentions, therefore I will not walk away and leave her here. 2. I could loose the trust of the other children watching me. They know that I wouldn’t, but me playing that game made my word mean a little bit less with them. And no, I have never repeated that again. The child stays by the cart, period.

As much as I despise shopping, I can’t help but be grateful for the humbling and self-learning moments that I get out of them. However, if my husband offers to watch them while I grab the groceries, I am totally taking him up on that offer!

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