I wanted to embed the video of the song “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson here, but the embedding feature has been “turned off by request.” Fun song, cute as all get out video…It’s worth clicking over for! The song doesn’t actually have anything to do with this post, but it was going through my head while doing my pre-writing thinking, because of the title-line. (Perhaps because it is newly on my iphone) 🙂
Maybe it has to do with approaching the age of 40 (two more years, but whose counting? oh… I am!) But I have found my very goal-oriented, type A, first-born self steering somewhat away from “what do I want my life, and me, to look like (not physically, but the kind of person I am, the kind of things I want to accomplish), to thinking more about the way I am wired and the way my family members are wired, and instead of trying to move us toward something different, moving things in a manner that suits who we are right now. (Although I do very much like my new hair color)
This literally means moving things around my house, and moving things in my schedule, (like not menu planning and shopping in the same day… and changing the day I shop on altogether) and just changing how I approach things. I blogged about a little bit of that in August, about setting up my house in a way that is built for more success, for a bunch of creative, spontaneous, out-of-sight-out-of-mind people. (Seriously, one born-organized person in the mix might have been helpful… but then again, we probably would have driven that person out of his/her mind!)
This week, in thinking about how to take more stress out of my life regarding food, I was pondering this again. I mentioned some ways that I make decisions about what to make, buy, or do without. But I was wondering, in what ways do I set myself up for “failure,” meaning more stress… like with overly optimistic thinking. (I am a ridiculously perpetual optimist– it’s a family trait passed down from my great-grandmother) 🙂 For example, this week. I needed a “use up what’s in the pantry and freezer” week. As I mentioned yesterday, this was really a not smart week to do that in. I found myself today, running to the store to fill a gap for dinner, because there was nothing quick I could make that my youngest daughter and I could eat. (We really cleaned out the cupboards and fridge well!)
Even when keeping to routine really well, with menu planning etc., it is very easy for me to be unrealistic in my planning. So when I know a crazy week is coming up, that would be a good time to say to myself “you think you can pull this all off, and still make everything from scratch… but this might be a good week to buy a box of allergy-friendly cereal and some extra rice milk, because you have to leave the house unusually early twice.”
I am, as I said before, very out-of-sight-out of-mind. I love the idea of a house with “everything in its place.” The trouble is, if the vitamins aren’t in view in the morning, I will forget to have anyone take them. If my dehydrator is stored in the basement, I will forget I have one. (I once even forgot I had a dishwasher, because we had not used it in a year, and that was before I even had kids!) So I have been working on setting up my kitchen in a way that works for me, instead of what in my perfectionistic-mind “should be.” (I know, I have issues). 🙂
Perhaps you aren’t a ridiculously optimistic person, with unrealistic plans… perhaps you are more of a pessimist, who assumes you won’t have time, or that planning doesn’t work, because life doesn’t go according to plan. Maybe you aren’t out-of-sight-out-of-mind, but don’t want to get a bunch of things out and make a mess. I think we can all think about the way we are wired, and set ourselves up for success by taking that into account in how we approach food, or anything else for that matter.
Another way I set myself up for success was in having good tools in my kitchen. Working on a post about my favorites this week, but good tools make it easier, faster, and more fun! Stocking my pantry, especially in crazy-busy times, is also so helpful. Everyone can have a basic list of things you use the most in your top 15 family meals.
Also, asking for help has been a big one for me this year. My oldest two can run laundry on their own, and do a variety of things like that around the house, and will cook with me from time to time, but I have not had them help consistently, as in, they expect it and it’s part or their responsibility. (I have to credit my 13 year old son for already having a few meals he can cook on his own for us in a pinch. I just don’t always ask him). I also have had them unloading the dishwasher, and taking care of their own dishes, but why was I the only one every washing any dishes?! LOL (My hubby has also begun to help a ton more in the kitchen, with my teaching piano lessons two afternoons a week. Don’t you think “what can I do to help” are some of the most romantic words every spoken?!)
So, no recipes, no photos, no meal ideas today… just thinking, and pondering how to lower my own stress in the kitchen and at the dinner table. It works for me!
This is part of a 31 Days series on Less Stress in Allergy-Free Eating. To view a list of all the posts in the series you can go here. To subscribe to my posts via email, you can go to my homepage, and type in your email address in the box on the right-hand margin. To view the list of over 700 bloggers participating in this 31 Days blogging challenge go here!