Grocery Shopping for an Empty Nest

My girls left for 7 weeks of sleep away camp yesterday.  It’s their 5th summer at camp so you’d think I’d be used to the strange quiet of that first Saturday morning without them, and that feeling of being a little unmoored.  

But, I’m not.  

For the first few days I have this nagging sense that I forgot something. Not having to be responsible for being home at a certain time, not making sure dinner is on the table (or at least being summoned in some way), not hustling in the morning to get everyone out the door – these are weird sensations, and it takes a while to find a new way of being present.  

One of the things I tell people when they ask, “What’s it like to not have your kids around for 7 weeks?” is that it’s those little things that are the most unsettling. And then I always tell them about the first time I went grocery shopping after my girls left for camp for the first time, 5 years ago.  

I walked into a grocery store and just froze. I had no idea what I ate. What my husband ate. What WE ate. It’s not that my kids are picky eaters; it’s just that the items I am used to restocking week after week are the things that fill lunch boxes, create quick breakfasts, and produce dinner for four. Milk? Never drink it. Cereal? Haven’t had it in years. Pretzels, chips, cheese crackers? Have no use for them. Giant bunches of bananas or grapes? We’ll never get through them before they go bad. Suddenly I was at a total loss. I turned and walked out.

So, after 5 of summers like this I’ve figured it out. I get my basics online – nuts, tea, bread, paper goods – and then fill in during the week, when I know we will actually cook, with fish, veggies, fruit, etc. 

Like most New Yorkers I have tried every grocery delivery service. Some I’ve found really expensive, some I’ve found unreliable, and some have just been really yucky quality-wise. Peapod reached out to me when they launched their new NYC service and I thought I’d give it a try, most of all because they work through Stop n Shop and given how expensive my Manhattan neighborhood grocery stores are, I thought it would interesting to price compare. If I can get some suburban pricing delivered to my city door I’m all for it.

I ordered my child-free basics, and was happy to see tons of store brand options as well as a lot of incredibly well priced organic offerings for everything from almond milk to cashews to strawberries. The site is fairly simple to use, though the interface isn’t exactly beautiful.

Peapod by Stop and Shop  Online Grocery Shopping

But once you build a list you can keep reordering from that so you don’t have to go through the navigation hunt every time. There were an incredible amount of delivery times available, and big discounts on different days of the week and times. Most of all, it truly felt like shopping in a big suburban grocery store in the best way – lots and lots of options, specials, and both name and store brands. And you can sign up for a Stop & Shop loyalty card so you get those rewards points, just like a physical grocery store.

I’m all for more options in the grocery delivery business. It’s really the only way to know I will be able to cook healthy meals during the week after work. But, right now I’m happy that I didn’t have to have my yearly existential grocery store moment!

I was given a promotional code to shop at Peapod.com and try it out. All opinions are my own, as always.

3 thoughts on “Grocery Shopping for an Empty Nest

  1. I feel the same about shopping with my daughter gone this month, granted I still have one child at home. I got a pang in my heart the other day knowing I didn’t have to get her
    cereal, yogurt or snacks.

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