Sunday, January 31, 2010

Things I Wish I Knew Proficiently Before Having a Family

1. How to cook...and bake
2. How to clean and organize
3. How to sew and do other crafts

Ok, so I thought I knew how to do all of these things pretty well when I was single or that I could learn them super fast, but doing it for a family (and with a family) is another story. 

Cooking:  I didn't starve in college.  I managed to feed myself every day.  But do you know how hard it is to follow a recipe with kids hanging on your legs, getting into the pots and pans, and whining??  Yikes!  And planning what to eat for five meals a day...every meal being nutritionally even more challenging when they'd rather starve than eat what you put in front of them!  I'm attempting to be a better homemaker so I'm learning to make bread.  The first time it didn't rise.  The second time I made a proof box out of my microwave, but got distracted with cranky children craving attention and by the time I checked the bread, it had risen too much!  If I had actually practiced this stuff when I was single (or at least didn't have monkeys to take care of), it would have been a hundred times easier!!  To think if I had recipes memorized!  Oh ya, and another thing that is discouraging about cooking...the mess!  I'm constantly cleaning up the kitchen!  And the kids hate when I give more attention to inanimate objects than to them.

Clean and organized:  I've always considered myself a very organized person.  I am learning that I'm organized when it only concerns my things and me.  It's a whole different story to manage an entire house.  The kids are always making messes and any spare moment is spent picking up after them.  We, the parents, are part of the blame for messes too.  The way I cleaned when I was single was a very relaxed way.  If my little room got a little out of hand I didn't stress about it.  I always found time to clean it up at some point, and actually I enjoyed doing it.  But, one room is a much smaller space than a house.  And finding the time to clean up the whole thing at once is impossible!  I should have learned how to keep it clean along the way and organize in a rush instead of coming back to it later.

Being Crafty:  I'm learning to sew and crochet right now.  It's kind of a fun thing, but since I'm in the learning process, it takes a long time to finish projects and it's frustrating when my sewing machine is it is right now, although I'm sure it's a user-error...because I can't seem to find the time to figure out what's wrong with it! 

My point is, the learning process is a process and requires time and attention.  For all of these activities, since I'm still learning, it takes more time and attention than I can really give to them.  So if you are still single, I highly recommend learning to do these basic things as proficiently as possible.  Don't think you can cook until you've cooked for a crowd and done it with distractions.  Some good goals would be to practice planning meals, memorizing recipes, and inviting a group...particularly children.  Don't think you can clean until you've learned to keep your room clean at all times, not just able to pick it up when it's a disaster.  And if there's a particular skill or hobby you'd like to learn that just might benefit your family, learn it now.  Don't wait.  You'll regret it.

(PS We got a new Young Women Presidency today.  The new president is a professional home organizer and at least one adviser is an amazing cook.  Looks like those girls are off to a good start with these goals!).


Charis said...

maybe you should stop learning them all, and choose one to focus on, and once you become proficiant at that, decide which one you want to learn next. maybe just learn one recipe that your family likes, and memorize it, and perfect it, the next month learn another. . . by the end of the year you would have twelve recipes, that is almost half the month, then you could repeat yourself, or add in a pizza here or there (nothing wrong with that). or just learn which things it is ok to buy from the store, like a store bought pizza crust, throw your own toppings on it, you can make it healthy, and its home made, and it isn't so stressful. Cleaning the house, I have been working on. . . the biggest thing, is having a place for everything, if you don't have a place for it, get rid of it, or find a place for it, then teach your kids the place for everything, Kendell helps un load the dish washer, she knows where the things she can reach go, she cleans her own room, with a little direction and supervision, and is constantly cleaning up the living room, if I tell her to put away her stuff, then she knows where it goes and she loves to do it. I can't give any suggestions on crafts, other than cut them out. . . he he he, I have'nt had time to do much of those since Kendell came. and so far that has been fine with me. But I agree, learning a new craft is difficult and time consuming, very difficult with kids around, however if you can learn it well enough to do without the stress of learning, than it can be a fun and relaxing way of finding yourself. I would just suggest biting it all off in small chunks. love your very very smart friend, charis.. . . he he he I make myself laugh

Aimee and David said...

Thanks for the advice!! I definitely will work on those!!

Mary Kalree said...

I know how you feel. Two underfoot makes most things time consuming and three times as hard as it once was. I say be a mom first and homemaker second. Our kids are growing up so fast, let the dishes sit awhile and turn on some music and watch those kids dance. That'll cheer you up every time.

30 year-old Dad said...

BTW, I think you're being too hard on your past self. Before you had kids, you spent your time doing something that would be much harder now than learning recipes, sewing and getting organized: you were getting a degree. While it probably doesn't seem to have paid off now (since you have a wonderful husband who is providing for your financial needs), just think how miserable you would be without if something were to happen to Lee. I have several cousins who dropped out of school as soon as they got married, and now one of them, with 2 kids in tow, is getting divorced and trying to go back to school. Now that's something to regret.

Jennie said...

I would consider myself pretty good in the cooking arena before I got married and had kids and that has gone downhill. It's having to do everything all at once amidst screaming children and while sleep deprived with hormones that are completely out of wack. I would argue that is not something you can prepare for, though I agree I wish I had more of a background in sewing. The cleaning, I couldn't even keep my room clean for a day . . . (oh, that's where Mylah gets it!) but I did learn how to clean a big mess in a short time! I think what is important is doing the best you can. Clean enough to be healthy, dirty enough to be happy. As for food, just hide fruits and veggies in the corner on the floor and they'll be more likely to end up in your kids' mouths:)