Sometimes planning pays off. I have found that, in motherhood, planning rarely hurts. The plan may not play out exactly as intended but having one is never a bad idea.
Today I planned. Instead of spending the glorious quiet of nap time vegging on the couch zoned out to some random TV show, I typed out a grocery list. Two actually. I looked up clip art to match the items on one of the lists(for the non-reader) . And I prepped myself for a rare afternoon shopping trip with all three kids.
I don't take all three to the store if it can be at all avoided. I go in the evening, in the morning with just two, or on a day when I can get a sitter. I don't take them all. It never ends well. There's frustration, short tempers, harsh words, angry stares and often tears. The kids don't fair well either.
But this was one of those weeks. The fridge was bare, babysitters were busy and evenings were booked. We had to go.
In the past, I have tried movie carts, bench carts, cookie bribes, and death threats. They climbed out of the windshield of the movie cart, fought over the steering wheel, pushed each other off the bench, smeared warm chocolate chip cookies all over themselves (seriously. who gives kids warm cookies???), and called my bluff on the whole death thing. I've even tried drowning myself in Starbucks as we shopped in hopes of calming my nerves. They spilled $4 of said drink through the bottom of the cart in the first aisle.
With so many failures, I had very little faith in my shopping list plan. It might work for 5-7 minutes, but beyond that would be chaos. That's what I told myself. I have never been so glad to say that I was wrong.
They were amazing! As I taught them to park the carts along the sides of the aisles and out of the way of other shoppers, they obliged. Their little lists sat in their carts directing us to our next stop. Organizing the lists from the back of the store to the front prevented skipping around from aisle to aisle. Somehow, our organized trip managed to calm Emerson's usual "I'm buckled in and don't like it!" fits. At one point he was quietly singing to himself. Unheard of!!
As a treat for being such great helpers, they each got to pick one special treat. Other than that, we stuck to our list. And honestly, I felt like they did most of the work. I was just supervising and passing out coupons.
Planning served us in so many ways today. We all stayed calm, enjoyed the trip, accomplished the our goal and learned a life skill. What's more, they were proud of themselves. They felt such accomplishment having their lists checked off and their little carts full. I have to say, I was pretty proud too.