I secretly wish bodily harm to the shopper who crowds me when I’m trying to pay for my groceries. Seriously, can they not wait two minutes for me to punch in my debit card passcode and get my receipt before they start eyeballing the gum and candy bar options?
Before I became a mother I seriously questioned the parenting skills of those who gave their toddler a cookie at the grocery store. I am now that momma and have even given my daughter a cookie before 10:00 a.m. That, plus a serious dedication to my list can get me at least through half of the store. (Mom, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. I know you raised me better.)
While we’re talking about snacks, I’ll also confess to opening a package I haven’t yet purchased. It’s usually puffcorn (You know, the popcorn without kernels or hulls.) or string cheese. This is typically the go-to plan if my daughter and I go after work and school when a cookie just isn’t going to cut it. I actually carry large paperclips with me just in case I need to keep an item closed enough to pay and get it home. Don’t judge; it works.
There are now items that frequent my list that I’d never in a million years have even dreamed about buying before becoming a parent. A couple of these include Easy Mac and the more expensive frozen veggies that can be easily steamed in the bag. I’ve even bought those Bob Evans premade mashed potatoes. The horror, I know. (Mom, again, I apologize.) But with those potatoes, a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, a bag of frozen steam-in-the-bag peas and a loaf of bakery French bread, dinner is served in about as much time as it takes to unload the groceries from the car.
I believe the rotisserie chicken is a Godsend to any momma or dad in a hurry to make dinner. I’ve used one as the base for many a good meal including: chicken salad with celery, grapes and pecans; chicken noodle soup; chicken enchiladas; chicken Caesar salad; chicken tacos; pasta salad with chicken; and more! It’s truly an amazing must-have-it-on-your-grocery-list item. (If you also happen to be an Ingles shopper their Smoky Mountain Bourbon-flavored rotisserie chicken is truly fantastic.)
I'm in coupon hell. Have you ever watched Extreme Couponing on TLC? It's incredible and crazy, and it drives me insane. But I’m also amazed. I'm willing to pay more than $0.75 to feed my family for the week, but it would be great to keep my weekly grocery bill between $100 and $125. It seems easy enough. Only, it's not. I clip the coupons in the Sunday paper, print some online coupons and try to shop for what's on sale, but obviously I’m missing something. I don’t follow all of the rules of the hardcore couponers. I’m not willing to go to seven different grocery and drug stores, and I will not spend every free minute dealing with the coupons. I also won’t be turning my basement or my guest bedroom into a stockpile room.
What I find most frustrating is the realization of how inexpensively I could shop if I didn't really cook at all. I'm sure I could find enough coupons for canned ravioli or boxed tuna casserole and cake mix to last us a while, but what about people who eat real food? Don't get me wrong, my cooking has slowed down quite a bit since I became a mom, but I do want us to eat fresh fruits and vegetables occasionally.
My sweet baby girl has recently become my grocery store bodyguard. A couple of weeks ago she berated a man who’d invaded my space. I was stunned. We were in the cheese aisle; shredded cheese was on sale two for $4. It was the large bags so Ellie and I didn’t want to miss out. We were making our selections when this man began crowding us. I guess he could sense how much we love cheese at our house, but I could have told him that we weren’t going to empty the shelves. He actually reached in front of and across me to grab some cheese. I was about to back up and just let the rude guy have first dibs when I heard my child. “Hey, Man!” she shouted and pointed right at him. “No way! Back off!” I froze. I didn’t apologize for her or ask her to. Shocked, I quickly grabbed a pack of sharp cheddar and Parmesan and headed for the checkout. I never looked back. And I completely missed out on the mozzarella.
If you happen to see us at the grocery store please just give us our personal space or you may have my toddler to deal with!