This week as we have been going about our business as usual, it really hasn’t been business as usual. The week after Thanksgiving is always so packed every single year.
It is the time period in which I am attempting to continue our day as normal, but we have bins with decorations, more laundry than usual due to the vacation lapse (laundry never takes a vacation), letters to be written, final Christmas shopping and plans and so many things to add to our already packed schedule – not to mention the free and traditional activities that our family does this time of year from the community Christmas parades, park Christmas lightings, tree festivals, etc. – most of which occur during this week of the year!
I came to a realization this week regarding some habits that we have created and they are not bad ones. But they are ones that we haven’t been great about doing this week and our sanity and budget is feeling the pain.
So it would be fun to share these three simple tasks to make your husband, your wife and your budget happy and that you can try and do each day to eliminate pains later 🙂
#1 – In the few minutes before your hubby comes home from his daily work, have the first area of the home he walks into picked up and clean.
I learned this tip from a very good friend of mine several years ago. I have a desire to have a clean house, in fact – I would love for it to be spotless. I hate seeing perfectly clean homes online as it is a real discouragement to me. I desire it, but with 5 kids and homeschooling, and many other things on my plate – this is just not a reality in my time of life. Perhaps one day again. And in the first 4.5 years of our marriage before we had kids (and racked up $100K debt) I was a clean-freak! I tried to carry that through after having baby #1 and was relatively successful. But after an 8-week recovery from a necessary c-section and God having a sense of humor and humbling me, I was pregnant with baby #2 and sick again. After baby #2 and 2 babies that were under 1-years old, I was humbled pretty quickly. I could not maintain the same clean home and with each subsequent baby…. comes more subsequent messes.
So this one day, I was awfully discouraged that I couldn’t have a clean home when Alex came home, because this also seemed to set his mood for the evening as well. My friend told me that this is normal all moms of young kids especially have this struggle. I have to focus on what is important, and kids are far more important. So she suggested just having the front room cleaned so when he walks in the door, the first thing he sees is clean….even if the rest of the house is not.
It works!! It really, really does. We have 20-minute quick cleans throughout the day. Our goal is 3, but it usually ends up being just 2 – one after breakfast before starting school and another right before daddy comes home. It is amazing what you can accomplish in 20 minutes. The kids all help too and it really is quite miraculous.
Well, this week has made light of just how effective those quick cleans are. Yesterday, our main level was a pig sty. We did crafts, school, decorating, and found lots of cracker crumbs despite the “table only” rule….it was a mess. Alex called and said that he is on his way home and it was enough time to squeeze that 20-minute quick clean in. We did and he walked in to a clean living room and kitchen. We won’t talk about the family room or the bedrooms…. but he was in an instant good mood and commented on how clean the house was. It was enough time for him to recognize and comment on the cleanliness before he walked far enough to see any other room…but the goal of cleaning the front area of the house was accomplished 🙂
So that’s #1 – clean the area where hubby walks in first right before he comes home (so it doesn’t get messed up again!)!
#2 – Get something in a crockpot, in the stove and/or in the rice cooker before your husband calls you later in the day and tempts you to have him pick something up to make it easier on you. Well, when you already have something going…it is harder to give into his temptation.
This is a big one for me. My day escapes me. My time escapes me. Before I know it, it is almost 5:00 and I haven’t though about dinner once. Alex gets home around 6ish. Yesterday was the third one of those days this week (don’t you just love the holidays :)). Monday night, Alex called to tell me he was on his way home and suggested pizza for a family night. This is a normal Monday thing a couple of times a month, and although we did it last week too, I thought it would make life easier for me and then we won’t do it for a few more Monday’s (yeah right…you know what’s coming up….Christmas). Well Tuesday night, SAME THING! Alex called to say he was on his way home in about 30 minutes and I hadn’t thought through dinner. He asked what we were having and I just didn’t know but could figure it out. He said “no,no… I know you are busy right now and so just let me pick something up.” Well okay then, it sounded good to me.
So here we are on day #3, 5 minutes before Alex called to tell me he was leaving soon – I hadn’t thought about dinner again! UGH!!
Now mind you, I have shared our personal dinner by 10 rule and although I am not perfect about it, I often have dinner figured out by then. Also, we make a menu – we had lasagna on Monday’s dinner plan, Taco Soup on Tuesday’s dinner plan, Faux fried wheat-germ and flaxseed crusted chicken on the menu last night. There was no way I could defrost, coat and bake my chicken in that time. So I rushed to the pantry and found a package of black wild rice. Before I could think about it, I threw it in the rice cooker as it is a task that takes 2 minutes. I figured once the rice was in the cooker, I could figure out what to put with it, but at least something was cooking. I then ran to the freezer, found Salmon patties for Salmon burgers and saw that the patties cook on the stove top for 5 minutes each side – although I didn’t have buns for burgers, placing the patties on rice was a helathier alternative anyway. Then I found fresh sweet potatoes and the bread I still had for Monday’s planned Italian night. I threw the sweet potatoes in the oven whole after a quick wash (served like baked potatoes with butter, cinnamon and brown sugar) and since his commute is 35 minutes…it was all be done. We had the rice topped with a Salmon patty. He called, he asked if I was ready or if I needed him to pick something up. IF…I didn’t have the rice cooker to cook my rice, I probably would have been tempted to take up his offer for a third night in a row. But since it was already going…. there was no going back 🙂
I realized just how often I do this. It isn’t a lie that eating out is a downfall of ours and of our budget. And so having food in the cooking appliances without thinking about it, reduces the temptation.
Fast ideas are:
- Get pasta going – then figure out what to top it with after. We often just top with lightly cooked veggies, a can of tomatoes and cheese. But the possibilities are endless.
- Make a quick sauce to go over rice, pasta, etc. with SOS sauce or a creamed soup
- Use your cooked chicken, hamburger, etc. to make something fast mixed into your sauces or sauteed with veggies for a type of stir-fry.
- Make a family nacho by opening a bag of tortilla chips and dumping them in a cake pan, dump a can of beans, a can of corn and cheese or even more toppings if you have them. Family nachos is a 5 minute meal and a favorite of everyone.
- Throw washed up potatoes in the microwave and in 10 minutes you have a dinner. Top with beans or chili for the quick protein, plus cheese and sour cream.
So that’s #2 – Get something in an appliance quick and before temptation strikes! Then you can fine tune the dinner details once some of it is going. It is crazy just throwing rice in the rice cooker or pasta on the stove and you have something creative on the table in no time.
#3- Husbands, find something everyday to compliment your wife on, no matter how small or insignificant you think it is. Alex does this often, almost everyday.
I don’t fully realize how much this means to me. Especially on the real small stuff. I kinda already expect him to compliment me on a clean front area, getting that bill in the mail, making a creative dinner, having completed the school goals for the day…but when it is the real small stuff, it seems to almost mean more. I mean like my hair, a small change I made around the house, a task that wasn’t planned, etc. Now don’t get me wrong, do not stop thanking your wife for her daily tasks as it is what keeps us going…but take note of something different or unique and recognize it.
And from personal experience, it makes you want to be a little better next time. If Alex compliments my hair, next time I might have it down instead of in a tight pony tail. The next day, I might actually put on real pants rather than still being in my sweats when he gets home.
One nice compliment leads to a good reaction. Husbands like having a happy and content wife, but they are the root cause of that 🙂 Everyone knows that mom’s mood does have great affects on the family.
So #3 – Husbands, compliment your wives even in the small stuff.
Between these three simple things, the husband, the budget and the wife will all be a little more content and happier.
With the lack of going out of our norm this week, it made me realize these three things are things we just naturally do to keep it all in balance. Sometimes it takes a bit of shaking up to realize the good in everyday little things.