Maybe I could just sleep less? Maybe that was the solution? I found myself feeling defeated and hopeless as I sat in the quiet of my living room after everyone was finally asleep. It was 11:34 pm and there was still so much to be done. There has to be a better way, I couldn’t be the only mom out there going to bed feeling depleted with sink full of dishes nearly every night.
After my late night pity party and a few hours of sleep I decided to listen to some experienced mom podcasts for advise. I gave the kids a box of goldfish crackers and told them to go ride bikes until lunch time. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
I stumbled upon the Conference for Mom’s a friend had shared with me. I plugged in my head phone and washed dishes as I listened to Amy McCready an Ruth Soukup. They spoke about delcluttering your home, mind and soul and raising enabled children.
First up was Ruth, you can find her blog here! She has all sorts of awesome feee printables. In 45 minutes she reassured me I was not alone in my pity party. She explained how more storage is never the answer–LESS STUFF is always the answer. A minimal lifestyle is so freeing. About a year ago I read Seven by Jen Hatmaker and it was life changing. I highly recommend! She encourages living life with out all the excess. Ruth was humming the same tune. It was just the reminder I needed. As I listened to Ruth I started purging my kitchen cupboards. How many 1/3 measuring cups to I really need?? (One, the answer is one.) If my kitchen drawers weren’t so stuffed, I’d be able to find what I need when I need it easier– and there would be less dishes to wash in the long run which is always a good idea!! It was a sweet and swift kick in the pants to get me in gear.
Next up was Amy McCready, you can find more out about her here. She spoke to the way most kids are enabled through distracted parenting with an entitled attitude. Basically that means that as parents we are so distracted by our phones, work, activities, obligations, even multitasking that instead of being intentional and taking the opportunity to teach our children in the everyday moments we blow right through them and just get the job done. Guilty. I’m a multitasker to a fault. Why take the time to teach my kid how to pour a bowl of cereal and increase the odds of spilling a gallon of milk by 95%? I speak from experience ( You can watch Tru dump a gallon of milk in the floor here!)
Stay with me, there’s light at the end of this tunnel. She shared a story of walking into a girlfriends house and all of the kids were packing their own lunch, it was like a well oiled machine. Even the 6 year old. Yes friends, it is possible. She went on to explain that our job is to teach our children why we do what we do as parents, so that our children feel empowered to do things themselves. If we teach our children WHY they cannot eat solely Cheetos for lunch and give them the tools to make good choices then we can expect them to do more themselves. Not only does this take tasks off your plate, but it creates a kid who CAN. There is a sense of pride and accomplishment that only comes from experience.
She said that one she thing she has learned is to walk into each room and ask, “If there were no adults home, could my kid do what they need to?” Such timely advise as I cleaned out my kitchen. If I want my kids to be able to make their own breakfast, not only to they need to be taught what an acceptable breakfast is, but they need to be able to reach everything right?
As I finished Amy’s podcast I emptied my kitchen. I pulled E V E R Y T H I N G out of my kitchen cupboards and drawers. I realized that my kids couldn’t reach the cereal. They couldn’t reach the paper towels. They couldn’t reach the milk. No wonder they were calling out “MOM!!” 629,280 a day! It was a DUH moment for me.
So here’s what I did:
I moved everything my kids might need to the lower half of my kitchen. My tallest child still can’t ride the Splash Mountain alone so how would she be able to reach the bowls 5 feet up?? It made things easier for me too, all my serving dishes moved to the upper cabinets.
I started with a set of 4 drawers that were filled with random cooking utensils. I got rid of duplicates and they all fit in two drawers. Who would’ve thought?!
The bottom drawer became a place for all the kids utensils and cups. Now that it was at ground level there was absolutely no reason why my kids couldn’t get themselves a glass of water, what seamed like every 45 minutes when they decided they were thirsty again. We also invested in a PUR water filter tank so the kids can fill up their own water cups easily with out having to use the sink, and risk being burned by scolding hot water if it twisted the wrong way.
Next, I emptied a drawer that had about 20 kitchen dish towels and wash cloths. Why I have that many I have no idea. I blame Kohl’s. I pulled all of them out and put them in a cute wire basket and left them on the kitchen counter right next to the sink. Right where you would like to find a towel after you finish washing your hands.
Now that that drawer was empty, I could use it for the children’s plates and bowls. I also put all of our paper plates and plastic ware in this drawer. It wouldn’t be much help if the kids were just dirtying dishes all day long right? Don’t mind sweet little River.
Next up was the pantry portion of our kitchen. I moved all of the healthy kids food down to the lower cabinet next to the fridge. I left all of the cookies and chips up top so they would need an adult to get to those. I’m trying to set them up for success here.
We live in the country and have an occasional house guest (mouse) so I picked up these handy containers from IKEA. I love them because they are super durable (kid resistant), they stack and have clear lids that just press on. No funky snaps or latches. They are pretty much ideal for kids! Having set containers also help me from buying a bunch of excess junk at the grocery store. I’m less likely to buy it if I know there’s not a container waiting for it at home.Some of our kids staples are low sugar chewy bars, whole grain Cheerios, peanut butter crackers and goldfish. All of these snack are acceptable choices throughout the day. Because they have full access to them, they don’t binge snack. This is a great opportunity to teach them how to eat a balanced diet, why it’s important and how to make good choices. I included a scooper in the Cheerios to prevent excessive spilling and a small Dixie cup in the goldfish they can fill and eat from.
This week we tackled the kitchen. I gave the kids a tour and explained all the new exciting changes. Everyone is on board and participating, even my 3 year old. They are loving the opportunity to be “grown ups” and make their own breakfast and get their own snacks. The two hours I spent reorganizing was well worth the investment. It has freed up what seems like hours of my day and has encouraged my kids to do more them themselves. They are empowered and educated on how to make good choices.
This is just the beginning of my mission to raise indepentant little humans. I can now be more productive through out the day. Bottom line there is just not enough of me to go around, so delegating even the smallest of tasks is a HUGE help. Next up I will be walking the kids bedrooms and setting them up for independence and an “I can” attitude.
I hope you are encouraged!