Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year, New You, New Me!

New Year's resolution time generally makes me roll my eyes a bit.  I've always been mildly irritated by the packed gym during the first few weeks of January and all the dumb weight loss advertisements everywhere.  However, I do usually try to do something positive with my life once Christmas is over.  It always starts with the invigorating feeling of getting the Christmas clutter put away.  Taking down the tree is a lot of work.  I used to rush like a madwoman during nap time but now Ben doesn't nap and Milo doesn't nap on a regular schedule yet so taking it down is going to be impossible unless I stay up until 1 a.m. one night.  However, it has to happen.  I think the poor tree has had enough cat and toddler harassment for one season. 

Last year after Christmas, after reading some fashion blogs on Pinterest, I decided to really get my closet under control.  My main inspiration was a woman who had four "capsule" wardrobes that only had 37 garments that she rotated each season.  No overstuffed drawers or smashed together hangers or towering piles of sweaters and jeans.  It sounded so refreshing.  Now, for me, 37 garments (this included her shoes but not pajamas, workout clothes and junky clothes for painting or housework)  is laughable but I did manage to weed two garbage bags of clothes out of there.  Most of the cuts were because of lack of wear due to ill fit.  It was hard but I was relentless and it was a pleasure to see many of my lightly worn but well liked garments being bought at my mom's group rummage sale in the spring.  And it's a good thing I passed them on because now, one year later, they would be even more ill fitting.

This year the closet is not my problem.  Since I spent most of the year pregnant I did not buy many clothes so, besides some disarray after removing maternity clothes, the closet is not that bad.  However, there are other areas of my life that need some New Year attention. 

1.  Weight loss:  OBVS! I just had a baby.  My THIRD baby since 2012.  P.S., all of those celebrities who say they lost weight from "chasing after their kids" are full of it!

2.  Getting the meal situation under control:  Guess what?  I don't like to cook.  I never have.  I grew up with a mom who is very good at cooking and has even stated that she enjoys it.  I wish I could say the same but I can't.  If I became a wealthy woman I might never prepare a meal again.  Cookies, yes.  Appetizers, yes. Meals, please NO!  Some nights I just LOATHE the thought of preparing supper.  I am the stay at home parent, so I take most of the responsibility for this but I think every parent faces this challenge because families where both parents work have to eat too and we all know that eating takeout or going to restaurants every day is a big waste of money and can turn a person into a Biggest Loser contestant in no time so of course food has to be prepared at home.  This means that I have to shop for food which used to be just boring but is now almost impossible unless I go by myself in the evening.  Just how I want to spend my minimal kid free time.  Then I have to plan to buy ingredients for meals which I always mess up because something is always forgotten.  Then comes the worst part...I have to handle raw meat.  I have matured a lot regarding this step because I think I made it through most of college without touching raw meat.  Now I grudgingly partition and freeze bulk chicken breasts like an old time farm wife who butchered them herself (I would faint) and I brown and season ground beef and sausage without even gagging.  It's easy!  But still, there are many nights where I am at a loss about what to cook and by the time it is prepared, eaten and cleaned I feel tension building up in my shoulders because toiling over the stove is just not for me. And by being a parent I have signed up for YEARS of it.  I could do ten loads of laundry every day and not mind at all and maybe kind of enjoy it (you can fold in front of the TV!) but cooking...ugh.  So, this year I need to head over to Pinterest, learn some new recipes (I am making one right now...Crock pot honey sesame chicken!) and figure out this freezer meal thing women are always talking about on Facebook so I don't dread supper time so much.

3. Keeping the kitchen counters clear:  I saw this meme on Facebook on a humorous parenting blog's page and I actually had to look closely to make sure someone didn't photograph our counter and turn it into an internet joke because I have those same blue headphones and Ben's Halloween treat bags from preschool did indeed hang around for way too lon:

 
This counter clutter problem is never ending and I am always so pleased with myself when I clear it and it's so nice to grudgingly prepare food on a wide and clear expanse of counter but within a few days it is worse than ever.  Help me! 
 
4.  Keeping the top of the refrigerator clear:  Every cupboard in the house so full that they barely close so often excess items end up piled on top of the fridge along with whatever we want out of the kids' reach.  You might see a bag of chips, a container of cat treats, a bag of candy, a lego truck, containers of playdoh, and so much else up there at any time.  If my grandmothers saw it they would not be impressed.  I don't remember junk ever being piled on top of their refrigerators.  I hate the look of it myself but, regardless of the ways I have configured the pantry shelves and tried to organize, crap ends up being tossed up there.  Then you can't open the cupboard up there without knocking things down.  That cupboard up there holds napkins and paper dishes on one side and candy on the other.  Wait...on second thought, barricade the door!  See #1...
 
This leads to my major issue...
 
5.  Keeping even minimal order regarding toys and the kids' other junk:  Oh my word, it is bad around here.  Now that the baby gear is out the floor is generally impassible.  Daily, a child trips and falls and cries because there is rarely a clear path anywhere.  I have heard lots of rather smug advice about how kids should learn to pick up after themselves, toys should stay in their rooms, food should not leave the kitchen, and on and on.  I passingly joked in the preschool pick up line one morning last fall that the kids had destroyed my house and one mom was like "why?" She really didn't understand how that could happen. She has her preschooler and a second grader, both girls who apparently enjoy quiet play.  A much different combination than a double toddler tornado, that is for sure.  The truth is, getting a two year old and a three year old to pick up after themselves is quite challenging because they don't care about anything and their attention spans are minimal.  So, they might put away one activity, like crayons but before they are put away the other child is dumping something else out.  Also, I have a brain and in my past life I could produce a 40 page research paper in a day so it is not easy for me to spend ALL DAY on mind numbing tasks like being the toy pick up police.  I would be on their cases nonstop and anyway, I do believe that playing freely without constant parental intervention is pretty important for kids.  In addition, if I made that my priority I would have to give up everything else, such as this blog and the previously mentioned food preparation and the occasional days where I fix my hair beyond my usual disheveled "air dry beach waves" look. 
 
So, I make excuses but the mess really does bother me.  Yes, I would be (and have been) embarrassed by someone dropping by and seeing the house in its regular condition.  If my grandmothers saw it they would keel over dead and I am not joking.  I don't think women who raised kids when they did have any concept of the quantity of possessions that come along with children now and the way that we have to be with them ALL the time.  There are no neighborhood kids running around outside for them to join.  They are all at daycare or playing video games or else are not allowed outside because we moms who are home worry that someone will call the police and report us for child neglect if they see a child playing outside in their own yard without an adult watching. So it is much harder to focus on cleaning and housework because the kids are ALWAYS underfoot.
 
 I recently did a google search in a frustrated moment and found many blog posts by other moms about what organization tactics have worked for them and it feels like none of it would work here. (One woman locked all the toys in a closet in their basement and had the children "check out" one toy or play set at a time only twice a day.  Sounds like a lot of hassle and I don't have a spare closet for that!)  But I have to come up with something because being surrounded by chaos can really be a mental downer and it makes me feel like a bad parent sometimes and it is hard for me to focus on anything. 
 
Sigh, I wish it was only my closet that was bothering me right now!  But it's all first world problems, isn't it?  Oh, poor me, my kids have too many toys and my kitchen cupboards are too full!  Waaaaahhh!  The privileged life sure comes with it's own set of challenges...What will the new year hold for me and the family?  Magazine perfect storage solutions and new recipes prepared every week?  Me in my old size 8 jeans from 2011?  A pristine expanse atop the fridge?  I'll do my best...

1 comment:

Ashley Strukel said...

RM- is there cash wise in Bismarck? They deliver groceries free if your order is over $50 (and how could it not be?). Ordering online is kind of a pain the first couple times but it's easy after that because it saves the stuff you regularly buy so it gets faster. Check it out. No more car carts!!!