There are a few topics – even in the kitchen! – that I am so underqualified to write about it’s not even funny. A few people have asked me about dishes/organization/cleaning up in the kitchen, and I’m very candid. I don’t have a clue. I have no advice about keeping an orderly kitchen or staying ahead of the dishes. You can quote me on this: The dishes will always win. Just give in and work amongst the madness, then try to clean up the mess before you get into bed.
The other issue I’m not qualified to speak about, for many reasons, is time. You might have noticed that this little 4-part series of the Four Pillars of Kitchen Stewardship took an unmentioned hiatus last week. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to say about time and ran out of time to say what I wanted about nutrition. !! So let’s talk about time this week.
Ever say to your spouse, “If only there were EIGHT days in a week.”
“How does she do it? I think HER days have to be at least 28 hours long!”
“Who thought of 5 days to work and 2 days to rest? It should be at least 4 days on, 3 days off, don’t you think?”
Make more time in my day would be my genie-in-a-bottle wish, if that kind of thing were real. I could also wish to become more efficient or have someone else to do my tasks, but where would be the fun in that? Actually, if someone else did everything for me, I would miss the opportunity to serve my family in the kitchen. I believe that’s an important part of my vocation as a stay-at-home mother.
But how to find the balance? How to serve the family by making nutritious, frugal, often-from-scratch meals, and still have time to see the family enough to remember what they look like when they’re not eating your delicious food? How to find the low-cost buys without spending all day running all over town? With a crying baby in the van?
Oh. You were thinking I would answer? Actually those were just rhetorical questions that I deal with every day. Sorry I got your hopes up.
In reality, I do make sure I spend time with my family every day. When I don’t, God knocks me on the head with Mommy-guilt something fierce, and I make it a point the next day to improve.
God clearly wants homemakers, mothers and fathers, whoever is primary in the kitchen, to make sure they’re balancing the food with the person. Please read Soul First, Body Second for a good reminder of the primacy of the real person over the person’s health. I need to re-read it as well, and often!
My “Time Management” To-do List
Here’s what I need to remember as I stress out about learn to let go of my need for total success and perfect nutrition in the kitchen:
- If I am taking too long to make dinner because I miscalculated the amount of time it would take (again), getting stressed out and making everyone know it doesn’t get food on the table any faster.
- If something isn’t going right in the kitchen, it doesn’t do any good to get worked up about it. All experiments have some failure rate. (Really? Even me?…) Any cooking is ultimately an experiment, especially if it’s a new recipe.
- If I serve a meal with a crabby demeanor, it doesn’t matter what’s on the plate or how power-packed the nutrients are. The family feels poorly when they leave the table because of Mommy’s attitude.
- If I’m spending all my time making everything from scratch and not paying attention to my kiddos, it’s time for a leftovers meal, a husband-made meal (no matter what it is), or a $5 pizza.
- If I’m going to be writing about time for my blog…I ought to be ready for the Lord to challenge me and humble me the week before.
- Um…so I won’t be writing about time anymore! 🙂
Thanks for listening to my personal convictions and goals. As an extremely time-challenged individual who has taken on a new endeavor (this blog) sort of recently, I’m still working on finding the balance of the whole life: kitchen, computer, kids, husband, friends, laundry, clean house, finances…Anyone else’s mental to-do list look that long? And what is leisure time, anyway?
Your To-Think-About List
In case you’re in a similar spot (although I hope you all can balance everything just great!), here are some practical ideas to balance time, nutrition, and money in the kitchen (you didn’t think I would just go on a diatribe about myself without giving some advice, did you?):
- Incorporate children into the cooking, no matter how young
- Give children kitchen chores and teach them the proper way to do them.
- Setting and clearing the table are perfect introductory chores, even if it’s just, “Please get the salad dressings from the fridge.”
- Older kids can load and start the dishwasher and help with dishes, as well as be responsible for meal prep like washing vegetables, cutting lettuce, making dressings, etc.
- Talk as you grocery shop about good deals, healthy foods, etc. Make it a learning experience for the little ones.
- My son, and many kids I know, already are wise enough to ask, “Is it on sale?” if they want something at the store! (Or even, when he’s lucky, “But Mom, there’s a yellow sign. It’s ON SALE…so we can buy it, right?”)
- Be willing to put off dinner for five minutes to push children on a swing in the backyard.
- Use dishes twice as often as possible! I do it with my granola bar recipe, as well as random things in my refrigerator and freezer.
- Find as many timesavers as you can for make-from-scratch recipes. I promise to include them often in my posts!
- Freeze leftovers for quick and easy meals later. I am loving this in the summer so I can be outside longer!
- Make healthy food a family affair. We went organic strawberry picking last Saturday, even though my sister-and-brother-in-law were visiting just to see us. It was a blast for all! We all got a kick out of the fact that my son had two years’ experience strawberry picking over his aunt and uncle. He enjoyed showing them the ropes. It was at least as fun as going to the zoo, and much tastier afterward! (Have you read how much I love strawberries? and how I preserve strawberries?)
See you next week for the last installment of the Four Pillars of Kitchen Stewardship: Nutrition (that is, if I have time!).
Read the others:
I am pleased to participate in Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life, where Amy once again reminds us what is important. (And it’s not time, OR nutrition!) Also, since I am thankful that the Lord has humbled me in my time weakness once again, and hopeful that He will give me strength to follow that list I posted above, I am participating in Thankful Thursday at Women Taking a Stand and Hopeful Friday at The House in the Roses. Please also visit Homemaker Mondays at 11th Heaven’s Homemaking Haven.