Do you feel overwhelmed by the tasks in your kitchen?
I know I often have…
With all that we have on our plates these days (pardon the pun) it is no wonder that many people feel overwhelmed by the time it takes to make wholesome food from scratch.
All these years I have been stepping into each day looking at all that I need to get done (in my kitchen) like it needed to happen all at once- no wonder it often seemed like such an insurmountable task!
But out of nowhere a simple shift in my perception changed the way I feel about my time spent in the kitchen?
While I have been practicing living in tune with the moon, my focus has been on housework and business tasks. It never occurred to me that I could use moon rhythms in the kitchen- after all meals need to be made 3 times a day, 7 days a week!
When I finally saw my kitchen tasks inside of the cycle of the moon’s rhythms, it completely altered my perception of what is possible!
Prior to this time, I couldn’t see the obvious because the truth is I pretty much live in the kitchen between driving the kids to school, working and housework- I was so often living there in maintenance and catch up mode, that I never stopped to stand back and look at the bigger picture.
And here’s what I ‘got’ inside of my new vantage point….
Instead of being caught up in the minutia of minutes -and wasting my thought energy by focusing in on every little task that needs to be done- I can now clearly see an easy flow that follows my natural energy and attention fluctuations!
I threw out my kitchen to do list because there is no hope in catching up with all the tasks that lie ahead anyway- as soon as we do them, they are right back up there on the top again anyway- and that’s just a recipe for failure and dissatisfaction!
Instead my kitchen tasks now have a cycle and a season -and when they are done- I feel done for awhile -instead of feeling like everything needs to be maintained and started all over again at once (after all they are eating it faster than we can cook it, aren’t they?)!
The tasks that I do now, naturally match my energy levels so that I don’t set myself up for failure. Sure I still have to follow the basic rhythm of 3 meals on the table, 7 days a week, but I do my prep work according to the moon cycles, rather than simply because the cookie jar is empty. When the cookies are out, I don’t need to think of cookies. There are plenty of other things to snack on….
Using the moon as my guide, I get a break from certain tasks (a 3 week one at that), AND my need for variety is built right in- thus increasing the pleasure I experience in my kitchen!
Now doesn’t that just make you breathe a sigh of relief!
Here is how I conceptualize the time I invest in my kitchen……
New Moon Kitchen
During the new moon our energy is low and it is not the best time to do a lot of cooking or housework. Now is the time to make simple salads to add to quick crock pot meals, leftovers and food that you’ve made and frozen ahead during the waxing moon cycle. Have as much food prepared ahead so that you can take a break in the kitchen. Now is the perfect time to vision the month ahead. Put on some tea, light a candle, lay out those cookbooks and do some meal planning for the upcoming weeks.
Waxing Moon Kitchen
During this time your energy is building and you are ready to do the work for a month of smooth sailing in the kitchen! Shop and cook in big batches so that you have plenty of food on hand when you need to grab n’go!
Full Moon Kitchen
Your energy is at it’s peak right now so that means you’ll be working and playing hard. Integrate your social and fun time into the kitchen! Expand your palette, get creative in the kitchen and invite friends over for dinner!
Waning Moon Kitchen
Your energy is beginning to recede. Now it is time to take stock of what is working and what isn’t for you. It’s also the perfect time to do some extra food prep to coast you through a restorative new moon experience. Tie up loose ends in your kitchen so you can take a break from the kitchen in the new moon.
I have to tell you that I am sooo inspired by my new way of being in the kitchen that I want to share this practice with you! If revamping your kitchen in tune with the moon sounds like just what you need, then join me on my upcoming COMPLIMENTARY teleseminar ” Kitchen Rhythms: Using the moon’s cycles to get organized so that you can stay on top of it all -without becoming a slave to the stove! Click here
to register for FREE!
I tend to be a bit of a gypsy. The truth is, since my son was born 10 years ago, our family of four has moved 10 times from Manitoba to the west coast and back again.
I have had this ‘thing’ that happens in November when the snow starts to fall, and I suddenly feel ‘possessed’ to move (don’t judge me, we live in Winterpeg)!
This year the weather has been pretty mild, so I didn’t bother much with that thought.
Instead of moving, I decided to move the furniture (and it just happened naturally as I followed my desire to clear space and honestly assess what is working and isn’t working in my life).
Really, a simple shift in furniture can turn out to be pretty life transforming.
One specific thing that made moving the furniture so profound for us this time, is that I looked at the rooms in my home and the furniture and choose to see them outside of their ‘normal’ context.
There were two things about the way that my home was set up that just wasn’t working for me:
We have this one of a kind, made by a real person beautiful dining room table (in the photo), but there are two problems that it caused in the flow of my everyday life.
1) I used it as my desk. Imagine this, it is time for dinner and there I am pushing my work to one side of the table with barely enough room for my family to sit down comfortably. So everyday, I would have this sinking thought about having no space for my work and it taking up the space that I intended to be sacred with my family.
2) I originally purchased the table as an investment in intentional community. We used to live in a home with other families and we needed a table that we could all enjoy sitting at comfortably together. While we still have a vision of that table being used in a common space in an intentional community, it is not serving our family of four. This is on account of it’s rectangular shape. When 4 people sit on the end of it, it doesn’t feel balanced. Energetically, it makes one want to eat and get up as soon as possible. So we got a lovely round table and made the big table my desk! That’s right, save for when I have clients coming to my house, I can simply leave everything that I am working on spread out, so I can see it all at once!
Another simple shift that made a profound difference is that we not only switched the use of furniture, but we also rearranged our house unconventionally. We put the living room in the kitchen, the office in the living room and the main eating area in the dining room.
In the process, we also moved my daughter’s play space into the main floor bedroom (it used to take up most of our living room). Oh my word, the toys mostly even stay in there now!
I have to tell you that when our house was set up conventionally, it was really important to me that the children’s play space was in the middle of the living room because I wanted my kids to be close to me while I was in the kitchen.
BUT this new way that we set up means that while the playroom isn’t close to the kitchen, it is close to my work space -meaning that the children are playing close by where I spend most of my time anyway!
So not only does it feel like we are living in a new house, but something about the way we rearranged things, makes our home feel more spacious (and it is way easier to keep clean)!
The one thing that I want to share about why I think these shifts have so profoundly impacted the flow of our life and our home, is that we looked at our lives and our space ‘outside of the box’. We rearranged our home to suit us, rather than simply putting furniture in rooms the way that someone else decided makes sense.
And really, when you think about it, how could one design concept fit all people?
So if your home is making you feel like it was made for someone else, maybe it is time for some unconventional moving of the furniture so that your home reflects you (not the other way around)!
I just read an article somewhere where a mom of 2 young children was seeking ideas for how to cope with being overwhelmed with cooking, cleaning and nap time. She said she felt sad that she couldn’t just enjoy her kids with the domestic workload. One of the responses that came from another mother was “I just hire someone 5 hours a day to come and help me with all that stuff”. If only it were that easy, huh? I wish every mom could have that kind of help, but it is telling isn’t it about how much work there really is involved in keeping a home.
The truth is that many SAHM’s are living on a shoe string budget and because they are doing the job of at least 3 or 4 people: cooking every meal from scratch (or wishing we did!), cleaning, childcare and sometimes even running a home based business to boot. They find themselves not only in a state of financial strain, but also intense time poverty. Self care takes a backseat to all of it, because it isn’t urgent (I know this all too well from experience).
After a while it can seem like there is just no point to getting out of our pajamas, showering or bothering to put on clean clothes…sure the frumpy pants from yesterday will do for the third day in a row (I ain’t kidding).
It can become all too easy to not care about how we look (whose gonna see us anyway?) And why exude attractiveness when we don’t have the time or energy to be wooed into the bedroom?
Yet while I totally get why, I also think we become a little too complacent about our self care and that by doing so, the challenge of motherhood in a society that isn’t supportive, becomes even more draining when we don’t claim any opportunities at all to refuel. It is a bad self perpetuating habit. The less self care we give ourselves, the less energy or motivation is available to us to foster the commitment we need to actually “do it”.
We’ve tried and failed before, so why should committing now make any difference? Living with young children presents so many challenges and interruptions in how we intend to spend our time that it is easy to give up just as soon as we get started.
The solution is probably simpler than we imagine if we just started with the basics. Maybe even just 1 new self care habit each month. Unless you are alone with a newborn that you can’t put down or a colicky baby, you really CAN shower or enjoy a refreshing aromatherapy sponge bath! If you have to, start with basic needs like brushing your teeth and working up from there!
Can you think of 12 acts of self care that you can begin to implement tomorrow or over time? They can be as simple as flossing your teeth. If it benefits you and you weren’t doing it before, but you are now, that is good enough.
While you might not be able to find time alone, make it to the gym, get a massage, hire a nanny, chef or housekeeper, there is some basic self care that you can do before the kids get up and after they go to bed!
And, yes I know that for many of you that your toddlers and young children will start getting up earlier once you start to and that you’ll want to throw up your hands and give up (I did)! BUT we can still do all this by setting the kids up with waking activities or just suck it up and let them join in (it is better to have “self cared” with a babe in arms than not at all!).
Ok, here is my list of 12 (not even close to mastered, but these are the essentials that I desire to embody every day). Please share yours in the comment section, we all could use a dose of inspiration and ideas when it comes to self care!
1) Arise at 6am and brush teeth.
2) Drink a cup of herbal infusion, kefir water or simply water with a pinch or two of unrefined salt.
3) Shower and lather self with coconut oil.
4) Adorn self luxuriously.
5) Make and eat breakfast before coffee (even if that simply means a green smoothie, kefir milk or yogurt smoothie, a cup of broth or miso soup).
6) Light a beeswax candle or burn incense.
7) Make coffee and set intentions or goals for the day.
8) Do as much prep work for the day’s cooking all at once (and the dishes after) as a moving meditation.
9) Do yoga, go for a walk, rebound or exchange body work with a family member.
10) Tidy up the house (like as in take the edge off, not clean to perfection).
11) Have a luxurious bath, floss and brush teeth and slather face with coconut oil.
12) Be in bed by 10pm and practice progressive relaxation before falling asleep.
What is on your list?
Many years ago when when my son Isaiah was young, I remember spending many an afternoon at a friends home having play dates only to come back to my own abode just after 4 pm starving and frantic about what to make for dinner!
I also uneasily recall 4 pm to be the time that I used to refer to as the witching hour! If you are a momma you might recall the days (or be smack dab center in the middle of them right now!) when just as you start to make dinner the baby starts crying and needs to be held or your toddler starts clinging to your leg crying “uppy, uppy” at the moment it is imperative that you must use two hands!
Those were the days…..
In those days my circle of friends and I sat, nursed, talked and drank coffee while our toddlers played together (or tormented each other). Now while all of that is well and good and everything and certainly nice to do once in a while, the truth is that doing play dates like this just isn’t sustainable when we also want to peacefully put a meal of wholesome foods on the table later. Plus, have you ever noticed that your kids play better together when you are working on projects or puttering around the house, and less so when you are on the phone or giving a girlfriend your undivided attention?
Could there be another way?
I remember a friend saying how her Grandmother used to say “You girls just sit and talk when you get together and in my day women never did that. We worked as we talked.”
And the light bulb went on!
How much of our domestic drudgery stems from plain old lonely boredom?
Of course it sounds better to lounge at a friends over coffee, than stay home to make sure we get dinner on the table in a timely matter, being the social creatures we are! But whether we like it or not, the need to put dinner on the table, isn’t going to go away. What if we could both have our social time and get our work done?
Following suit to the wise words of the grandmothers, I now rarely go to a friends home for a lounging play date. Instead we having cooking dates, ferment dates or knitting dates! In fact, I find it quite pleasurable to talk over dishes, folding laundry or making a meal.
As one example, a dear friend and I spend cooking dates together that look like this:
- The person who hosts puts on a crockpot meal large enough for two families at breakfast.
- The person hosting decides what we are going to make in bulk and has everything on hand and ready to go
- The guest brings over lunch (near prepared and ready to go).
- In between breakfast and lunch we make at least 3 snack foods that we can split in half and take home for the week!
- Each week we alternate being the guest and the host!
With careful planning these days start at 9:30am and I am home by 1pm with finished food projects in tow. All of us are well fed during our time together and I have 2 quart jars full of dinner nearly ready to go!
Interestingly enough, a morning like that affords me a lounging afternoon or nice work block if I want one! You might also start to notice that the kids play together much more amicably as well!
What do you do on playdates? Would you consider committing to a day like this each week with a friend?