This morning I headed out to do the weekly shopping. I had been doing it on a different day for quite some time, but as last weeks events took place I was unable to go on the day I typically had been going.
When the girls were younger, every Friday was filled with activity including soccer, library, lunch and grocery day. As they got older and schedules changed and circumstances changed, my shopping day changed too.
But today I needed to catch up AND Sweetie 2 was home, so I invited her to come along!
We had SO MUCH FUN!
And our conversation made me realize JUST HOW IMPORTANT those mundane day to day tasks we moms do on a weekly basis are, and how they can create a sense of safety, security and wonderful childhood memories.
As Sweetie 2 began to share on the way there:
“Remember when we used to go to this place?”
“I was SO excited the first time you let me go on an aisle and get something for you; I felt so grown up!”
“Remember when you let us push the basket?”
“I remember finding a piece of chocolate on the floor and I ate it. I really felt guilty about that.”
And the memories flowed like a beautiful song through our entire shopping trip.
We decided to go to Central Market Place which we fondly refer to as “Food Land”….
You start in fruit land and vegetable land, then go on to fish and meat land, and then wine land, and grocery staples land, then on to bulk foods land, candy and coffee land, and dairy land, then bread land and then lunch meat and cheese land, and finally olive land… Oh MY!
As we walked through, I offered for her to get her favorite yogurt or bread or cheese and finally she said, “Mama, I feel so spoiled!”
I replied, “Dude, you are the last person home, you win!”
When the girls were younger they each got to pick 1 favorite thing…. but now that it is just her, and her choices are always healthy, I could enjoy saying YES! 🙂
As we continued our conversation back into the car, we talked about how important it is to MAKE memories out of simple things like grocery shopping. I remember using our grocery time to teach many things including following directions, (before we got out of the car, instructions were given for a fun shopping trip. “Always stay with mama!” ) self control,( If mama said you can pick one special thing, it is one. Not two… Remember to be happy that everybody gets to pick.) being polite,(when somebody says, “Hello! Say Hello back!” or if they compliment you, say “Thank you!” “Do not get in the way of other shoppers, always be aware of where you are and watch for others, putting them first.”) learning math in the produce department: “If bananas are 48cents per pound and we are buying 2 1/2 lbs… how much will the bananas cost?”
Or on the cereal aisle: “If this box of cereal costs 23 cents per ounce and there are 15 oz. how much will the cereal cost?” Or reverse it…. “If the cost of the cereal is 3.50 cents and there are 15 oz of cereal, how much is it per oz.”
They could race to do it in their heads and it was fun!
When the boys were home, and would be ready to spend their money on a book at the book store, I would tell them, “I’ll pay for the book if you have the total figured out with tax applied before they tell me the price.” And they would!
Making happy, healthy family memories does not need to be costly. It doesn’t have to be a Disneyland Vacation. It can be a simple habitual family ritual that takes place every week, that we make an effort to make pleasant and memorable!
IT IS WORK to do this. It DOES require that we be patient and take more time. But it is so worth the effort!
If you have a child who easily becomes dysregulated in crowds, try adjusting your time for later at night or early in the a.m. Make sure younger children are well napped and well fed before you leave the house. Make sure older children (teens and tweens) are also rested and fed.
Before you leave the car, make everything very clear about what you are going to do so there are no surprises for your child.
ALSO… for older children, if you let them plan a meal once a week with you and write down the ingredients for that meal, they can have great joy and satisfaction in picking out the ingredients and then cooking their meal with you.
But be prepared to go to a few different kinds of stores depending upon what country your child is from. In our area I have seen stores from the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America . It is amazing what you can find within an area if you look online. Even in some of the larger grocery stores or World Market there are International foods.
The opportunities to connect, create, teach, and show our children LOVE are endless.
The memories made are priceless!