Monday, January 18, 2016

My Inner Struggle As An American Mom Who Loves Starbucks

The struggle is real.

For me anyway.

I'm ok with admitting it and talking about it and coming to the conclusion that everyone will have different points, thoughts and opinions based on personal experiences, country of origin, and individual values.

I've been to the Christian conferences where they connect giving up that cup of fancy coffee to support a hungry child in another part of the world. When I was in my early twenties it definitely affected my decision to begin supporting a child through Compassion International. Something about my enjoyment to consume expensive specialty drinks on top of eating 3 meals a day while children were dying all over the world from hunger seemed like a moral conflict to me. Goodness, I mean our friends are creating wells in Africa so that people can simply have clean water and sustainable food and I'm in Minnesota asking for a shot of vanilla with whip cream in my grande latte.

"Yep, that is Sarah, spelled with an H."

But let's talk about the fact that I grew up here, in the USA. This is where I live, this is home. It is all I have ever known. We are living in a day and age where new technology and modern advancements mean that flying cars could be just around the corner. I find myself saying frequently these days, "we have to become the Jetsons somehow." Meaning, it is no surprise that as time goes on people are finding more and more ways to make things more functional, streamlined and save on time and energy.

Hello, Amazon Prime Now...current real life example. 

Rodney delivered groceries right to our door not too long ago...right to the FRONT DOOR. I wanted to immediately give him a giant hug but figured he might not understand my level of excitement. As a mom of five mastering carrying several grocery bags in each hand while making numerous trips back and forth to the stocked mini-van while it is negative five degrees (or worse) outside is similar to competing in an Olympic sport. (I've shared about my dislike of grocery shopping...and then how my disgruntled heart stopped me in my tracks one day.)

Funny how writing all of that above already makes me feel like a horrible-spoiled-rotten-person. Also perhaps why I am reading Brene Brown's book, "Daring Greatly," and have been highlighting any and all of her notes on shame.

Because the struggle is real.

For me anyway.

So why am I even bringing this up.

Well, because a brand new Starbucks just opened up down the street from my house. And it has...a drive-thru.

Ya'll, a DRIVE-THRU!

I was giddy, I was thrilled, I immediately was scared to death.

Habits form when we do things over and over. I knew that I couldn't justify to my husband why our "eating out fund" suddenly disappeared mid-way through the month because Starbucks was now a regular line item in our checking account.

"How did that happen?!?" I plead the 5th.

It would also be hard to justify to my kids every time I go through the drive-thru why mommy is getting that fancy drink and all of the kids are getting a glass of water.

"You'll understand when you are older kids."

And that is when things started stirring in my heart. Am I a highly disciplined person who could completely control her desires for a warm latte every time I drive by that parking lot?

Based on past history, I am going to say no.

So for me that meant needing to process the whys behind my actions.

Is Starbucks bad?


Is going there a treat and something that brings me joy?


Will it still feel like a treat if I go there often?

Probably not.

How can I connect my values with something that I enjoy?

Well, I value people. I value connection and community. I value all of the things that I learn when I sit down and listen to someone share about their life and their story. I value quality time. I value quiet. I value self-care. I value doing what God created me to do. I value impacting the world. I value living life for eternity.

So I came up with some goals for the new year. All in an effort to keep my pocket book in the black, my marriage stable, and my heart true.

There will be two reasons that I will walk into that Starbucks.

1. To have coffee with a friend.

2. To have a quiet work space to create and work.

That struggle is gone.

For me anyway.


  1. I am almost, almost glad we don't have Starbucks here in South Africa ... we do have "Vida E cafe" (also a coffee joint) though ... and it's a budget killer too :)

  2. I know this feeling well! Except our beverage of choice is Dutch Bros instead of Starbucks, but the idea is the same! Every weekend, normally, we go and get delicious coffee with chocolate and caramel and it's delicious. And then I complain that groceries cost so much, when we're blowing 9$ a week on coffee that we don't need to have, we *want* to have.
    I have, however, found a tea that is amazingly delicious and, while more expensive, a 4$ box of tea with 18 tea bags in it will last a lot longer than a 4.50$ cup of coffee!
    It's all about perspective, in the end - and being realistic!

  3. Can I admit something? Have never been in a starbucks let alone have one of their concoctions that cost so much. When you leave your house, go other way than where Starbucks is and come back that way if possible. Maybe have one coffee a week on a weekend day with your hubs, share a coffee and bring something your kids love to drink while you have yours. Just trying to find compromises for your guilt.
    My guilt is craft stores. We live on SS and a binge at Michaels even with a sale shoots heck out of my budget too. Grand Junction is expensive place to live. Good luck to you. Happy week

  4. Awesome post! I realized though that I was going there so often to work on paperwork and things for the business I was spending $60 a month on Starbucks!!!! It's amazing how much that little cup of liquid can bring so much joy ��

  5. Can totally relate! Thanks for sharing.

  6. I hadn't thought of the moral tension of buying expensive drinks, compared to giving to the needy. I suppose it could be applied to much more then just coffee. It makes me think of my ice-cream and soda intake.

    1. Hmm...mmm ice cream. Or eating out in general. It's funny how we go out to eat for lunch to save time, but by the time you drive there and stand in line and drive back it would have been faster to prepare a quick lunch beforehand. I have taken a similar approach to Sarah when it comes to eating when I'm out. I will usually either skip the meal, grab something beforehand, or eat later if I'm not eating with someone. That way I'm not eating out just for convenience sake, but for community as well. That has helped me keep that area in balance. - Sam

  7. A friend of mine once told me her mother always pulled the "starving kids in China" routine to guilt her into eating her food. As an adult she helped me understand that it is best to just follow our hearts... If we had a starving kid near us we would share...heck, even give them our food and go without. If it feels good to enjoy a coffee goodie then do it! The novelty will wear off eventually and you wont be going as often anyway. Your service is to your five kiddos and your hubby. God will bless the hungry children. Or you may feel inspired to go with out fancy treats for a week in order to donate to their cause (which is still Gods inspiration right?).

    You deserve to nurture you!! All of us mothers deserve a little sweet escape now and then :)


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