I believe there’s an intangible tie that binds mothers’ hearts together, especially during times of stress and struggles. Whenever I see another mom out in public, perhaps herding a bunch of children through a grocery store or trying to get them to sit still in church, I always try to speak a word of encouragement to her—or at least offer her a bright smile. I remember so well what it was like when I would take five little ones under age five to the grocery store by myself!
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Oh, what a special joy—and a serious challenge—that was! Sometimes my cart was overflowing with children and groceries! By the time I got to the checkout line I was usually frazzled and worn out.
But it seems that so often when I get to the end of my rope, God sends someone my way with the perfect bit of encouragement. It might be another shopper who compliments the kids on their manners or their good behavior (if we happen to be having a good-manner-and-good-behavior day). Or it could be someone who asks, “Are all of those children yours?” and then, after I say yes, replies, “What a beautiful family!”
Some grocery-store rules that we have implemented over the years have really helped our children know what is expected of them when we are shopping. When the children go into a store they are to:
Sit still inside the cart or hold onto the side of the cart as we walk.
Not touch or pick up anything without permission or unless they’ve been asked to do so. (If it’s candy or cookies and they’re shopping with Dad, they may not have time to ask before he already has them in the cart!)
It’s fine to make suggestions, but don’t nag or we won’t get the item.
Be good helpers, and you may get to go again next time.