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The Grocery Bill. I know this is a huge deal for people with children -- especially when those children are pre-teens and teenagers and even more especially when those teenagers are boys.
I won't say how much my family spends a month on groceries but it's a lot. A. Lot. And I still don't seem to be able to buy enough food to last an entire week. To be fair, all three of my children are active and play sports, so they're not obese or unhealthy or bored. They're just hungry. Always. (Except at dinner time when I make that thing that they loved two weeks ago but somehow because of the earth's rotation and because they had grilled cheese for lunch at school today and their toe hurts they don't like it now).
This is a fairly common occurrence at my house: I go to the grocery store (after much planning and list-making and coupon-cutting) and buy an entire cart full of food -- plenty of healthy choices and snack foods. When I get home, the kids help bring groceries in and I start unpacking. Before I even have everything put away, they start ripping through the bags like a wild pack of animals until I shoo them away. After I put the groceries away, they're allowed to come back and get a snack. Often, by the end of that day, an entire bag of chips or pretzels will have been consumed, along with an entire pack of juice boxes and maybe an entire bag of Oreos (although those usually last at least two days). At first I tried to limit how much they ate of a particular food each day so that stuff would last through the week. I didn't really enjoy being the food police, so my philosophy now is, hey, go ahead and eat it all now, but I'm not buying more until next week.
Last night after dinner my oldest son ate two boxes of Hot Pockets -- two! One night last week we ordered a large pizza for four of us -- my husband wasn't home for dinner. I took one piece for myself and got the little two each a piece and went out to the living room (we were having an informal dinner -- don't judge me!). I went back into the kitchen for another piece and my oldest son had consumed the remainder of the pizza. By himself. In addition to having an unfillable stomach, teenage boys can be a little oblivious and self-involved at times.
We already go through three gallons of milk and roughly five boxes of cereal a week. I'm not sure what we're going to do when we have more than one teenager in the house!
If you have any parenting topics you'd like me to touch on, feel free to comment on this post or email me at email@example.com. You can also follow me on Twitter at @heatherrainone or follow my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HeatherCondleyRainoneRecordCourierManagingEditor