Monday, June 25, 2012

Junk Food Freedom

It's almost independence day. Yes, the fireworks and hot dogs kind is approaching too but I'm talking about the beginning of another kind of independence.

For years I've been in, what my close friends refer to as, the trenches of motherhood. The trenches are the years when you learn the lyrics to EVERY High School Musical song by heart, have extended discussions about the nuances of your children's behavior patterns, capacity for academic learning and their social skills.

It goes almost without saying that in the trenches you are sleep-deprived and often make meals out of things like grilled cheese sandwich crusts.

What doesn't go without saying and bears repeating is the process of getting out of the trenches isn't a long slow climb. For me, it comes like bursts of sun through the clouds. The grey skies split apart and suddenly there it is...completely within my grasp. INDEPENDENCE

My most recent sunburst came last week. The kids and I were headed to the grocery store. I had a lot of shopping to do and was dreading the inevitable demands for junk food, silly behavior and whining that have made up a part of every grocery store trip with kids for the last decade.

Then I had a sun breaking through the clouds moment. Why make the kids shop with me when they are old enough to shop on their own. I grabbed a mini cart and said, "Guess what!?! You guys get to be in charge of your own snacks this summer." They both looked at me like I was speaking Mandarin but after a moment my words sunk in and off they went, big sister, little brother, in search of the holy trinity of junk food (sugar, salt and soda).

I took my mama sized cart and filled it up with the healthy stuff. Every so often I'd turn down an aisle and see them weighing the merits of Pirate's Booty or Hostess Donettes. I found everything I needed in record time, collected my children and headed to the check out.

As I loaded groceries into the car I had another sunburst, lightbulb realization; if the price of grocery store independence is a package of Hostess mini chocolate doughnuts and a couple of bottles of Vitamin Water then sign me up. Now that I've had a taste of zipping, unencumbered through the grocery store, I don't want to go back.

19 comments:

L. Diane Wolfe said...

LOL - did you have to put back any of their choices?

Barbara Watson said...

Hhaaaa! Love this! Grocery shopping is my most detested errand. My trick as my kids grew older has been to send them down various isles in search of 'the orange juice your dad likes' or choose the brick of cheese 'that's hard enough for you.'

Morgan said...

I totally know all the lyrics to High School musical! LOL. Annnnd that cart looks REALLY fun! :D

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sometimes it's just better to keep the peace. And your sanity.

Emily R. King said...

LOL! Your kids are awesome. I doubt my kids would have put anything healthy in the cart. Gotta love what children do with freedom. :)

Carol Kilgore said...

Freedom and Independence. Bliss :)

Joanne said...

Good for you. Now for putting them in charge of keeping the house clean or doing the laundry.

Johanna Garth said...

Diane, I didn't. They were fairly responsible.

Barbara, I've tried that one too but it always ends up in me having to find the thing I sent them for.

Morgan, isn't it scary what seeps into your head by osmosis!

Alex, we're big believers in both peace and sanity.

Carol, couldn't have said it better.

Joanne, hmmm...you might have something there.

Hart Johnson said...

Well aren't you clever!? I am so greatly relieved to have my kids past the age of constant supervision. In fact really they need very little--just rules as to when to be home and checking on on what they do and who they are with. Babies and toddlers were good, but that early elementary was NOT my favorite.

M Pax said...

I bet that's why my mother rarely took us shopping. My stint with motherhood began with a teenager who didn't want to tag along with much. But that was a lot of work.

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

Oh that sounds nice. My youngest is nine months old. I will be 'in the trenches' for awhile yet! :) (Love that saying by the way!)

naida said...

Thats a good idea Johanna.
I remember the days when I used to take both kids to the grocery store with me and they'd drive me nutty bickering like cats and dogs.

Donna Hole said...

You take the kids to grocery store with you? Wow, I haven't allowed that since the oldest was about 7. Maybe younger, since its been the one event I'm dead set on a sitter (usually Dad when one was in the home).

.......dhole

Talli Roland said...

What a fab idea, Johanna! I love that you gave your kids that responsibility.

PS - Thank you loads for taking the time to review my novel! :)

Ciara said...

I have three boys, I'd be scared to set them free. One of them can't eat sugar, so I'm sure he'd go straight for donuts and cupcakes. :)

Kristen Wixted said...

Yes, making them help out is great. When we have to take Nana to the store they're even more useful (because Nana can be verrrrrrrrry slow.)

ali cross said...

LOL Way to embrace your (pseudo) independence!

Stephen Tremp said...

We shop for produce with the kids and let them choose stuff to put in the cart. Fortunately they live broccoli and snap peas and salads.

After that, they can have junk food. Its a balance we have to keep as denying them ice cream and such only wants to make them binge on it later.

Ella said...

Freedom rocks! Fun and they didn't over do or indulge! The price of sanity is so worth it! I agree with Stephen..it is all about balance~
You did well ;D