How to Talk to Your Kids About the Dangers of Shopping at Wal-Mart

You think you’re doing everything right as a parent.  Your kid gets good grades, made the swim team (or would have if the high school had a pool), is making new friends, and is vocally judgmental enough of others’ food-choices that they might just reconsider eating processed meat. So, you give yourself a pat on the back…no, a HUG all the way around to feel the love your child has for you, the love that you know they will someday acknowledge when they grow up to become a pro-bono animal rights lawyer. It feels good. Then, without warning, it all comes crashing down

I was spraying down the kitchen counter with our homemade organic vinegar vegan cleaner when I noticed my daughter Juniper’s hemp backpack had fallen open on the floor.  I reached down to pick it up and put it in her room, but my eyes fell on something just poking out one of the flaps.  I gasped.  It couldn’t be!  Not my daughter!  I’ve taught her better than this! Who gave it to her? How often is she doing it? And for how long? Could she be addicted? I thought I raised her right!!! Of course I blamed myself. My confidence as a mother was crushed.  I had to confront Juniper about what I’d found.  It wouldn’t be easy.  These things are never easy for a mother and daughter to talk about.  But eventually, you have to talk to your kids about the dangers of shopping at Wal-Mart.

I found Juniper in her room reading Women Who Run With the Wolves.  Well, at least I haven’t failed completely as a parent.  Hesitantly I held up the plastic Wal-Mart bag I found.

“Uh, June…we need to talk.  I found this-“

“You went through my stuff?!”

“No, you see, it was just open and I-“

“It’s not mine!”

“I’m just very concerned, Honey. Why?! Don’t you know Wal-Mart represents everything that’s wrong with the world?  And that this plastic bag will kill 100 baby dolphins before it finally clogs the water pump of a poor African Village!?”

“Well…you see it was after school-I wasn’t planning on it-this group of people…We were all hanging out and someone wanted to go there so-“

“So you went with them?  You gave into peer pressure to go to Wal-Mart?!  If you’re going to give into peer pressure, why not choose something decent like smoking a joint or skipping school to go to Lilith Fair?”

“What decade are you from?

“That’s not the point!  I thought I raised you better than this!”

“Mom, it was my choice, and you’re the one who always talks about respecting and honoring the choices of our lives.  Well, I honor this choice.  I love this choice!  This choice makes me feel attractive.  I feel closer to my inner-Aphrodite than-“

“I always thought you were more of an Athena, but…wait, feel attractive?”

She looked down guiltily. I knew I hadn’t heard the worst of it. “I bought mascara.”

I couldn’t breath. “Mascara?! What are you planning to do with it?  Do you even know how to use this?  Wait, don’t answer that.  I think-”

”Whatever-you don’t want me to be Aphrodite. You’d be happy if I was a Hestia for the rest of my life.”

“You know that’s not true!  I want you to experience things, live your divinity, and explore the world, just…”

“…just not where you can see it?  Mom, I’m old enough to buy mascara, and yes I do know how to use it!  I watched a tutorial on-line!  I’m not a kid anymore.”

I looked at my Juniper.  It was true.  Her menses party was several years ago.

“I can almost accept that you’re wearing make-up, even though I don’t like it and think you’ll later regret trying to conform your outer appearance to a myriad of external, fractured and impossible standards.  But to accept that a child of mine would purchase this at Wal-Mart…I…I just don’t know.  I just….don’t know.”

“Look, we’ll just have to see differently on this, mom.  You love Kale chips, and I prefer banana chips.  You order anything we can’t grow from The Loving Gypsy, and I get mine in-person at Wal-mart.”

I sighed and sat down on her bed, ready to be more accepting of a different path when she dropped another bomb.

“Mom…there’s something else I didn’t tell you.”

“I don’t think I can take any-“

”While we were there, I checked out their groceries.  They sell Kashi, mom.  I was so excited that I told my friends.  They’d never heard of it before.  They thought organic meant someone had to poop in the dirt.  When I told them what organic really was, some of them actually bought 7-grain cereal.  They said it was ‘cool’ and they want to see our vegetable garden.  See?  I can still stand up for what we believe in.  I can work in our garden and wear mascara.  I can teach people about organic food in a Wal-Mart.  I’m forging my own path, mom.  Just like you always taught me.”

I looked again at my Juniper.  Maybe I hadn’t done so bad after all. We embraced, and over her shoulder I noticed a copy of COSMO magazine wedged in between Women Who Run With the Wolves. I don’t remember exactly what happened next, but thank Gaia for my anti-anxiety herb garden.


3 thoughts on “How to Talk to Your Kids About the Dangers of Shopping at Wal-Mart

  1. Pingback: New Burger King Bacon Sundae Causes Collective Euphoria in Byron City | The City of Byron City

  2. Pingback: Who Will Be the Next Mayor of Byron City? (Part 2) | The City of Byron City

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