Parents can’t be running on empty

Those days when you have to be Mama before even putting your glasses on and brushing your teeth. Who goes to work right out of bed? Parents. 

So, you start the day – serve breakfast, bathroom runs, break up fights, clean up, laundry, get lunch started…. But wait, did you have breakfast yet?

This happened the other day. I just Mom-ed around until I noticed myself getting easily irritated at every little “normal” kid thing. At one point I got loud and brash – “NO MORE SNACKS! THE KITCHEN IS CLOSED!”

 

My kids froze. I froze. What the heck is wrong with me? Here, the day has just started and the monster within is already unleashed….

I was embarrassed at my behavior. But at that moment when I took a deep breath, I realized. I didn’t even have a bite of food or a sip of water. Why? Because in between taking care of my kids, I also checked my e-mail, my group chats, my book work, etc. etc. I didn’t think about fueling myself. I just kept running on empty.

Priorities, people. We must be smarter in how we utilize our time. Because once the kids are up, it’s go time. Our kids will need us, and we will need to be there. Sure, we can have breaks, but we realistically cannot expect our kids to give us a break. We have to make it happen.

If I have given the kids breakfast, and you have older kids who eat on their own, you have a good 5-10 minute window to brush/wash your face/use the potty. Then you can assess how they’re doing. If you’re lucky, you can get another 10 minutes and wolf down a slice a bread with peanut butter. Or if you can manage to get a good cartoon on, then you might even be able to drink a cup of milk or tea. Now, once Mama Bear is functioning, she can deal with the next hour? Wishful thinking?

The point is at least you aren’t letting yourself go. You need food, too. Don’t be a martyr while raising your kids. It’s OK to have time to yourself. But, yes, you should be realistic. You aren’t going to be able to pull off hours of free time, until the kids are older, or you have some help, etc.

Here are a few easy tips to help yourself not go crazy:

  1. Designate a time for doing your personal work: Make it an established time that the whole family knows about. Give the kids some busy work, ask an older child/parent for help, etc.
  2. Multi-task: We are already great multi-taskers, why not use it for our benefit? When the kids are eating/playing/watching TV, make your breakfast, check your e-mail, enjoy your coffee/tea, etc.
  3. Get a hobby: No, parenting is not a hobby. It’s a job. Take time to figure out something (aside from laundry/dishes/writing about parenting) that gets you excited. When your babies nap and/or when the older kids are down for the night, finish that painting, write that story, knit that blanket, etc.

Yes, you might have to be flexible at times to manage some of the things on the list. Unfortunately, kids get sick, and homework takes more time, but the point is that once you’ve made a point to give yourself importance, then you won’t feel stuck in a rut.

I’ve made a pact with myself not to let the monster out again. I am an adult, and I should know how to take care of myself. My kids are depending on this! If I can’t take care of myself, and if I let myself wear out, then how can I take the best care of my kids?

This is one GOOD pasta/pizza sauce

When you are a mom, recipes with too many steps don’t cut it. You need recipes that are easy, quick and uncomplicated.

After a bit of tinkering I mastered a sauce recipe that is wonderful on pizza and delightful on pasta! It’s easy, and chock full of veggies.

Have I gotten your full attention yet?

Save this recipe, and memorize it. It will come in quite handy for those weekday nights! And it can be easily frozen in 1 cup servings for those busy days when all you have time for is boiling the pasta!

The BEST pasta/pizza sauce:

Ingredients:

1/2 a large bell pepper (chopped)

1 large carrot (chopped)

1/2 a large onion (in chunks)

2 medium tomatoes chopped (optional)

1 cup tomato paste

Fresh basil leaves

Italian seasonings

2 cloves garlic (minced)

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp sugar

Salt/pepper to taste

*1/2 cup cauliflower florets optional

*1/2 cup butternut squash chunks optional

Directions:

  1. Start by boiling the bell pepper, carrot and onion. (And if you have some cauliflower or butternut squash, you can add that too). Don’t put too much water. You want just enough to boil the veggies and to puree.
  2. In a separate pot add the tomato paste (and tomatoes, if you are using them), butter, salt/pepper, basil, Italian seasonings, and sugar. And enough water to cook. Put on low heat.
  3. Once the veggies boiling are tender, puree the veggies and water with the garlic.
  4. Then add the puree to the tomato mixture and turn the heat up to medium-high. Watch for splattering. Add a little more water, if needed.
  5. Let boil for about 5-7 minutes, then let simmer for about 10 minutes. Add or boil off water for desired consistency. A pizza sauce should be more thick, and some like a thinner pasta sauce.