About 7 kids ago, I remember dreading the grocery store. My three babies were ages 2 ½, 14 months, and my youngest was a newborn. I couldn’t even think about how I could get them all safely into a shopping cart much less add groceries to that cart and make it out of the store back to my car in one piece. It was a terrifying time for me; one time I clearly remember driving all the way to the store and sitting in the parking lot before turning right back around and going home with no groceries at all.
Realizing pretty quickly that we couldn’t just waste away, hidden in our cozy home; I had to push past my anxieties and make it happen. Week, after week, after week. Every time I would learn a new way to be more efficient or remember something that helped and eventually, even when all out chaos ensued in the checkout line, I learned that I would still be okay.
I am confident now that no matter what child or children happen to be with me for an outing that I can make it work, get through my day, and… even on the days of errands that turn into a miserable fail, I have learned that I am still going to be okay.
Why is this so important for me to share today?
Because… it didn’t come easy. And while we feel very blessed, we aren’t “lucky” every time our kids are behaving. Avoiding our daily tasks and trying to work everything around the comfort of our kids usually wound up not being the right choice. Even if it was uncomfortable or tiring for us as the parents in the beginning.
Bringing our kids out to restaurants was important to Bob and I even if only once in a while. It’s a much needed break and the fact that I can’t cook and Bob is a chef means that he will get to eat a nice dinner that he didn’t make himself those nights. We could’ve decided to wait until the kids got older to ever eat out again. But we didn’t.
Getting into and out of the grocery store had to become an expectation for any given day because Bob and I are rarely ever alone. That means when I get a text to “just grab some milk real quick” it also means that there are 3 to 4 kids in the car and they are coming too. We could’ve decided to bring the kids home and wait for one of us to get back to venture out alone later, but what a waste of time. So we don’t.
And the church we attended when the kids were younger had a hit or miss daycare during service. That meant that sometimes you thought you would be sitting through the service while they were in Sunday school and then other weeks, surprise! You were on your own, no matter how many you brought. And yet, we kept going.
So here is my point. Practice makes (closer to) perfect. The more often you engage your kids, include them in your routine, and show them how to behave, the easier it gets. We set clear expectations before we leave the house, and again before we leave the car. We pick our battles ahead of time. Is the two year old going to want a second cookie at the grocery store-you ‘betcha. Can I break that cookie into 3rds and get to the milk and bread in the time it takes him to eat those three pieces- you ‘betcha. And what if the lines are long, the bread aisle is crowded, and the cookies are gone?
Guess what? I am going to be okay. And my kids are going to be okay.
And you!!! weary parents are going to be okay too. But you’ll only know that once you get out there with your kiddos and realize that practice makes (closer to) perfect!
Happy Sunday friends!