My 15-year-old-self never dreamed MTV would do this to me

There are two things I don’t do: go grocery shopping during peak hours, and bring the kids with me to the store. These boundaries are necessary to preserve whatever shreds of my sanity are left. I’m convinced that I have a genuine grocery store disorder, and when I don’t follow these rules, I’m liable to walk out of the store having spent a hundred bucks but without the ingredients to make a single complete meal. Like I’ll have frozen waffles and no syrup; marinara sauce but no pasta.

(This never happens to CC. He can walk into a grocery store at rush hour and walk out in fifteen minutes with our next six meals, all fresh food. He can also pull a meal together for the seven of us with enough for last-minute guests and have it on the table in twenty-five minutes. Husband Contest: I Won It.)

So what does an accidental stepmom do on a rare Sunday off when she discovers there’s no food in the house? If you answeredΒ order takeout you would be correct, except for the fact that we have to go look at cakes for #4’s upcoming birthday.

This is how we end up at the Shop Rite at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon, along with 22,012 of our closest neighbors.

The aisles are packed. There are no carts left. I can feel my tenuous grip on reality sliding away. Jersey broads are serious and hardcore, not to mention pointy, and they handle their shopping carts like they do their SUV’s. It’s terrifying. I’m from Indiana. I am out of my league here. Thank god my roadie training kicks in and I go into damage control mode.

The first thing I do is decide to make CC deal with the cake tomorrow.

The second thing I do is decide that everyone will be given lunch money because there is no way I can handle the mob scene at the deli counter to get lunch meat.

The third thing I do is let the kids pick dinner. They choose:

frozen pizza

frozen french fries

frozen bagel bites

I manage to pick up fresh salmon and spinach for CC and I. That’s all I can manage.

In the checkout line we wait for a while, and eventually get close enough to read the tabloid headlines. This sparks a lively conversation about Teen Mom, which I’ve never seen, but am vaguely aware of solely due to time spent waiting in checkout lines reading tabloid headlines.

#2: It’s stupid. It totally sends the wrong message.

#3: No, it shows how hard it is to have a baby when you’re, like, sixteen. Like, who would want that?

#2: Yeah, but then they give these idiots a TV show! What kind of message is that?

They proceed to argue about this. They are thirteen and fifteen, and I’m pretty proud of both of them right now.

#5: Julie, how does somebody get pregnant and have a baby when they’re sixteen?

This is the point where I should probably remind you that #5 is our only boy and eight years old.

Me: Because either they have sex without birth control or they have sex and their birth control fails.

He grows very quiet and tilts his head at me. The puppies do this when they’re trying to figure something out.

I turn back around and there’s the cashier, standing there, staring at me with her mouth open.

In my defense, it was a pretty deep question for the checkout line.

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26 thoughts on “My 15-year-old-self never dreamed MTV would do this to me

      1. Sorry, they don’t. But, when I don’t like doing something, I often pretend I have a phobia about it….then I get out of doing it. Say…you have a phobia that selves will fall on you. Wait, I like that. I’m going to use it. You’re like good theropy!

  1. Being from Jersey myself, I could not agree with you more. Shop Rite is downright terror-inducing, and if it wasn’t for their reasonable prices, I wouldn’t go there. But I never, ever want to go there with my kids. This Jersey dad has a healthy fear of the Escalade-driving, manner-impaired Jersey mom. Great job!

  2. Honesty is good πŸ™‚ My boyfriend and I have 6 kids between us, 5 boys, 1 girl…thankfully they are all over 17, except his daughter who is 11 and my youngest who is 15…life is never dull, and we don’t even live together yet πŸ™‚ I love your blog, I will be back πŸ™‚

  3. That is the best policy when it comes to answering questions. Kids do not tend to press for details, there is no reason to lie or make up silly stories, otherwise you might read on their blog:

    ” Yesterday I had a conversation with my parents about sex. It turns out they do not know anything.”

    πŸ™‚

  4. They always ask questions or field theories (Michael Johnson got AIDS because he didn’t wear a balloon) that require a thoughtful reply in the oddest locations. Usually when we were trapped in the car or in the line grocery shopping.

Comment. It gives me a reason not to clean my house.

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