Household · lessons in love

Choosing Joy…and Less Anxiety

Every week, I grocery shop. In the morning, all the kids and I load up, with my lists, our coupons, our cash, and lots of snacks. 🙂 I give a pep talk in the car, after everyone is buckled. We go over the fact that we are NOT going to run around in the stores, we won’t scream bloody murder when I say ‘no’ to a request, we won’t throw our bodies on the floor in a tantrum, and we won’t pester and tease siblings to get them in trouble for screaming.

It really is a tense morning. There isn’t much that doesn’t stress me out about grocery shopping mornings. I feel like each time I get comfortable and let my guard down, we have a serious crisis! So, I stay tough and very sergeant-like in order to get through our shopping trip successfully.

And we fail every time.

I am very aware that I could ease up a bit on the pre-shopping talks. I am pretty forceful with my rules and consequences for any infractions. I use the snacks as more of a bribe for good behavior than actually keeping them full and happy. And the kids are on to me, I am sure.

The kids do not enjoy shopping most of the time. They all want to ride in the kid seats and argue over who gets to sit and who has to walk. Even the baby gets fussy now during the trip. I really has become no fun.

I miss the days when the girls were excited to go to the store. They liked to write down their own lists and prices and mark them off. I stopped letting them do that because I was tired of retrieving pens from the floor or from under the shelving units at the store. I was easily irritated with their need to “hold on” so they could write something down or cross an item off their lists. Buddy and Addy even liked to “write” their things down and mark them off…just like Mom and the big girls.

They really didn’t do anything wrong with the paper and pens. It was just ME that had a problem. And now we all have a problem because I took the fun out of it.

I often make a joke about desiring to grocery shop alone, in peace and quiet, taking as long as my heart desires.

The truth is, though, that I do not like doing things alone. I love having someone/everyone there to do it with. Whether it is shopping, cleaning, laundry, gardening or baking/cooking, I love having one or all of my family members with me. I love talking with them, laughing with them, being silly, and just having fun.

But, for some reason, I turned group shopping into such a chore! I couldn’t figure out why for the longest time, but I do know now.

It had to do with buying organic.

Seriously. It seems like a dumb reason, but I was stressing out so much while making my list of organic foods, searching for coupons, and trying to make money magically appear to pay for it all…that I was projecting that stress (and anger) onto the kids and my time with them.

Just this past week, I read a blog post about not being able to afford organic foods. 

I wasn’t going to read the post at first, because I didn’t think it fit my family. I am so glad I read it, though! The mom described was me!

Finally having to be honest with myself and my family, I realized I CANNOT AFFORD ORGANIC FOODS for 100% of our meals. And it was completely unrealistic for me to continue to assume that we could.

I am not saying we are poor. At all. We truly are blessed with more than we NEED. But, I had it in my head that 100% organic was what we NEEDED.

Sure, it would be awesome to be able to keep shopping for all organic items, but we would eventually go bankrupt. With six people to feed, and a baby who is quickly moving up to table foods….I was draining our two week’s worth of grocery money almost completely in one week. And then I’d pray that God would get us through the second week’s shopping trip. And I was keeping my husband out of the loop, thinking I was doing the right thing not having him worry about money.

I believe in miracles, but I am also a believer in stupidity. And, clearly, that’s where I had fallen…right into a big puddle of stupidity. And I hadn’t even noticed until just now.

When it was just my husband, myself and our three girls it was much easier to buy only organic. And it felt great. But after our two boys were born, I really started to become stressed with grocery shopping and stretching our budget.

I am not saying we can’t eat well; I am just saying we absolutely cannot afford to eat 100% organic foods 100% of the time. And I am going to have to be okay with that.

We have to eat. No question about that. And I’d love to fill us up with organic foods only. But, we aren’t going to fall apart if we have to eat non-organic produce or dairy some of the time. And even if we pick up REGULAR cereal for breakfast, I think we’ll be okay.

I can still monitor how much processed foods we are eating and make meals from scratch. And for produce, I can still buy local.

We aren’t going to die. Well, eventually we will…but you know what I mean. 🙂

And in just the past 4 days, I have felt much better about practically everything.

I probably sound ridiculous…I mean, who freaks out over making a grocery list?? Well, I do. I did. But, I don’t plan to anymore. I have taken down the ‘god’ I made of organic foods, and I have realized that while God provides us with the organic food choices, He certainly doesn’t want me taking away my focus from Him to stress out over FOOD. He provides what we need, and I was completely missing that. I had a different idea of our needs, and I caused myself to suffer in my relationship with my kids.

I am really excited to grocery shop this week. I will have 4 notepads and 4 pens ready. And the snacks will be free-flowing. 🙂

So, I choose JOY when it comes to food. I don’t want the stress of trying to stretch money for the foods we don’t necessarily need. I am choosing to enJOY my time with my kids at the store. I want them to be JOYful when we are out and about.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole beingrejoices…” Psalm 16:9





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