It is the Tuesday after Labor Day. That day when almost all the kids in the nation are back-to-school and stay-at-home moms are breathing a sigh of relief...just how many more art projects can I cram into this summer? It is a time when working-moms can give their checkbook a rest...has anyone seen the cost of summer camp lately? It is a moment to pause and appreciate the goodness of summer and then thank goodness that the sensibilities of fall are fast approaching.
In the middle of our household transition from summer to fall, I noticed that our cabinets, refrigerator, pantry, and laundry room were almost literally empty of all our staples. We really did have a busy summer, traveling every month, camps, college, surgery, too many things going on to make my monthly run to Trader Joe's and Target.
I knew it was bad when I was planning to make dinner and only had $7 in my pocket, a bag of white beans and a container of chicken broth left. What was I to do?
A quick trip to farmer's market and some zuccinni and dinner was ready...for that day and maybe one more if that soup would stretch and I find some noodles to go the with the other half of the vegetables.
So, I did what any self-respecting chief-home-officer would do...I opened with the cabinets and commensed to making my list. I went down to the laundryroom, doing an Olympic hurdle over the mounds of unwashed jeans and towels, and added enough detergent to the list to see the concrete floor again.
I smiled and thanked my lucky stars that the girls were in school and I took my trust green van to load up. I know my husband is probably having a heart attack as he looks through our account and sees the $$$$$ that I had to spend to get us fed, cleaned, and in clean clothes again. Hey, I look at it as a small investment since he had three, count them, three months that I didn't shop. Oh, he make a 'quick run' here and there and picked up a thing or two, but my actual monthly shopping? Hadn't done it in months and didn't at all in August - I was recovering from surgery and my friends made enough food to feed us for weeks.
Well, I'm back, in full form, healthy, and ready to figure out life with just my husband and two girls. I know how to cook for a big family, how do I do it for four? I will figure it out and hopefully save my husband a few clutches of the chest and Fred Sanford type stumbles as he looks at what I spent for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Now, if they just follow my plan, we will not have to eat out at all, I say that is worth over $150 alone!
Once everything was purchased and put away, I told their girls to leave the new boxes of cereal alone until all those iritating little bags were eaten first (I recycled the boxes of just a scoop of Cheerios here or a couple spoonfuls of Rice Krispies there into one big container). My older daughter decided she wanted to win the shelf-climbing contest and proceeded to reach waaaaay up in the pantry to get the Trix that I picked up on sale. She had herself a big bowl and had her little sister (who secretely wished she had been first to climb up there and get it) bellowed out "MOM SAID WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO HAVE THAT YET!".
My older daughter proceeds to get into a debate with her little sister, all the while sitting there in her "it's the last day we get to do this" pajamas and book, her long legs swung over the chair, nonchalantly proclaiming "I didn't hear that." She knew she heard me because I told them both.
I came into the middle of WWIII and reminded both girls that we spent a mint on groceries and what is here is what we have for the month and that I did, indeed, tell them not to eat the new cereal. Now, if she had simply said, "oh, I'm sorry mommy, I forgot," and put the box back up, things would have been fine. But no....this almost 11-year-old (tomorrow) decided she wanted to test the waters of her now "oldest" status and decided she could speak to me any way she wanted.
After our little discussion and the necessary reminders given, she understood, that I am the Alpha Female in this house.
I have replenished the coffers, planned the kids' activities for the month, paid for the lessons, did the laundry, put the clothes away, vacuumed the carpets, cleaned the kitchen, rearranged the refrigerator, cleaned the bathrooms, did the hair, planned the meals, and reminded a little girl of her place.
Coffers and Alpha Females, everyone back in place. Happy fall!