Like Babe Ruth’s 1932 World Series Home Run, I pointed my bat out to Center Field and swung with all my might.
The Field was the Aldi’s on Roosevelt Blvd. The Players were 4 of my children and myself. The fans in the stands were the unimpressed shoppers. The Game? Homeschooling.
It’s May, we’re tired. Now and then though I still get an inspiration. This week was one such week. On Thursday I gave the kids 7 pieces of paper representing the days of the week. Each day was labeled “Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner”. The 9 & 7 year old each took 3 days and decided the menu the family would eat (the 4 year old did the menu for Saturday). Today I handed them their menus and 7 envelopes. Each envelope had $10 in singles representing their budget for their meals.
Lately they have been begging for “take out” food every day. They were not understanding how I could “have” money in general but not “have” money to go out to eat. So, we made it into an object lesson.
For what it’s worth, the kids did great. They each read their items from their papers and went to find the food they needed. They understood that each meal could only cost roughly $3 or else they needed to work together to buy in bulk (ground beef) or borrow from another day.
They did it!! They spent $71 for 7 days of groceries. Are the meals perfect? Not really, but each day had all the necessary food groups and the lesson was accomplished.
The hard part? The part where it felt like I fell flat on my face? The 23 month old yelled his siblings names at the top of his lungs anytime they walked away. The store echoes. The 4 year old ran around the store like a giddy chimpanzee hopped up on slurpee (1 lollipop from the bank can do that?). The running part wasn’t horrible and I eventually corralled her. About 20 minutes into it, though the 23 month old decided the shopping cart was no fun and began screaming, “I WANT TO GET DOWN” at the top of his lungs continuously. Eventually, I got him down (you would have too, don’t judge me). Soon he was trying to run away so I picked him back up and put him back in the car which caused him to now scream bloody murder for the remaining 25 minutes of shopping. It felt like 2 hours. He screamed while I counted out $100 singles. He screamed while the kids unloaded the shopping cart onto the conveyor belt. By this time the 4 year old was also sobbing over some cookie detail. Both children were sobbing and screaming while I held the younger and dictated to the cashier that I needed him to let me purchase my groceries in 3 separate transactions.
Let me just take a minute to give a shout out to the cashier working today around 12:45pm at Aldi’s on the Blvd. You ROCK!!! He didn’t even flinch AND he smiled to each of my kids as they each nervously handed him their $4, $25 and $42.
I never bothered to make eye contact with anyone at the store. I knew what they were thinking. “She doesn’t have control of those kids”. “Why doesn’t she calm her baby down”. “Her little girl needs to be reigned in”. “Is school out?” “My kid isn’t loud like that.” I shut my proverbial eyes to the world and repeated my mommy mantra, “I’m a good mom. I’m rocking it. I’m doing my best. It wasn’t meant to be like this. This isn’t going to kill any of us. It’s ok if people aren’t happy.”
It’s the best a mom has. I taught my kids a really good lesson today. $21 in Wawa sandwiches directly effects meals on other days and you have to choose, but if you budget well, yes you have enough left over for vanilla wafers.
I wish I could feel more successful than I do. I wish moms in general understood that their efforts are seen by the One who matters. I wish I had timed my trip better. I wish the kids weren’t still fighting and I wasn’t hiding in my bedroom typing this up. I’m glad that typing this is cathartic and helps me be more patient in about 7 minutes when I go reengage. Maybe the 4 year old is done fussing about who knows what.