When I wrote the post How Do You Pick Your Battles? (My Kitchen Is A Mess!) on October 30th, my Kitchen Life felt really out of control.
Thank you to everyone who added comments of commiseration and advice! You all shared much wisdom in your comments and I've poured through the comments several times, each time learning and absorbing more. I don't feel so badly now.
I've realized that many things have changed for us recently, and this all added up to a great deal of craziness. We had been keeping up a busy schedule to get our barn built, we started milking goats on our little homestead in the summer, we've been adding more kitchen tasks, and very recently, the dishwasher broke. Those things are more than capable of turning any kitchen upside down.
The question is: do I let that happen? If not, then how to avoid it? I've been thinking a great deal about this – and reading your comments again and again, hoping that between all of us, we can come up with a short list of helpful tips for balancing Real Food Kitchens and Real Life.
Here are the tips I've pulled out of your comments. Some are practical and some are for peace of mind and perspective. If you think of more, please add them in the comments!
Give Thanks To God
Being of service to our families – being able to cook and provide good, nourishing food is a blessing! Teaching our children to know the source of their food and how to cook it themselves – this is one of the life's most important lessons. Being with our children, cooking together – that's Real Fun! As Lisa wrote, “The glorious messes are all worth it, especially as I teach my children to work in the kitchen and they learn at a young age those things I had to start learning with a house full of toddlers and babies! Real food produces much revenue: good health, a good work ethic, and an appreciation for God’s provision and majesty in those amazing enzymes and bacteria! May we rejoice in the process as well as in the final product of our hands!”
Clean And Grab As You Go
Pamela wrote, “It’s the best policy. I rarely, if ever, haul everything out that I need at once. I’m a grab it, use it, put it away each ingredient as I work. I also clean as I go. Pre rinsing each utensil, pot, etc.. and stacking to hand wash or load as I go into the dishwasher.”
Do A Pre-Meal Clean-Up
Peggy wrote, “We do a kitchen cleanup before meals are started as well. I can’t cook in a dirty kitchen, it makes me crazy. So, we take ten minutes before a meal gets started to wash the sinkful, wipe counters and sweep if needed. Then I can come in and cook.”
If You Can, If You Will: Outsource
As Emily wrote, “Here’s my secret – I don’t make as much stuff from scratch as you do. I live near good bakeries that make real sourdough bread with local organic grain, so I pay $5 a loaf and gladly! I buy plain whole milk goat kefir from my local co-op, as well as grass fed butter, milk, etc.”
Sink Full Of Suds
I love this tip from Peggy. I've used it recently (though my dishwasher is one of the children) and it's been a great help! She wrote, “After the dishwasher is loaded post-meal, I run a sinkful of soapy water. If you dirty a dish between meals, you scrape it, rinse it and put it in the suds. That clears up about half of my available counter space.”
Revisit Your Routines
Real Life changes – we add new activities, new routines, and have ever-changing needs. Be willing to revisit your routines – what is working? what doesn't? what routines can be altered to accommodate the changes?
Delegate The Work (And The Fun!)
Sonya said, “Involve the kids and delegate some of the work.” My saving grace the last few weeks has been my children. They have helped with so much. They rotate through the dish duty, freeing me up to cook (and clean up and grab as I go, of course) and write and do other mom-type things.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
You can't do everything. Quit trying to be perfect. I'm preaching to the choir here. 😉
Keep Perspective: Some Messes Are Worth Having
As many of you pointed out, you look around and see the real foods a-culturing, a-soaking, a-cooking, and you've come to appreciate those messes. They're better than sterility. They nourish, heal, inspire creativity, and encourage learning. Bonnie pointed out, “A slightly messy kitchen is a kitchen that is being used – and that IS after all why we have [kitchens].”
This Too Shall Pass
As Abiga/Karen encourages, “All you younguns with the kids out there remember that time passes oh, so quickly!”
Much more wisdom was shared in the comments of my post on October 30th – and sweet encouragement. I couldn't possibly include it all. What do you think of the wisdom shared? What would you add?
This post is part of Fight Back Fridays! at FoodRenegade.
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