I don’t just sit around thinking about how I should put myself before the kids, although I did just tell you all a few ways that I do. For the most part, I work hard to make sure that everyone’s everything is ready and perfect. I pride myself on being able to remember activities, anniversaries, milestones, my kids’ friend’s names and the like, but sometimes in order to get the important things done you have to cut corners.
I used to be one of those overachievers who felt the need to do everything from scratch but after watching a few episodes of that table-scape, cocktail-loving Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade, I realized that she is really on to something more than her next mixed drink. She has perfected the art of faking it.
It is absolutely fine to cut corners every now and then if it makes your life easier. For example, I used to make homemade soup if someone in my family was sick, but guess what? They like Panera’s soup better, and I can spend 5 minutes getting it instead of all day making it. I used to go to Michael’s Craft Stores and spend a boatload of money for the kids’ crafts and projects. I now know that duct tape and egg cartons are just as artsy and, more importantly, are cheap.
The funny thing about being a mom is that much of it is about faking it. For things that don’t need the full 100%, why not just give a solid 50% if it makes your family’s life easier.
Here is my list of things that help me fake it ’til I make it:
1. Paper Plates: I don’t use them all of the time, but when I do I am infinitely happier about meal clean up.
2. Mismatched Socks: It took me a while to be comfortable but now I don’t even bother trying to match the kids’ socks. I throw them in their drawers and leave it up to my kids to figure it out for themselves. I distinctly remember paying a pretty penny for crazy socks at Justice last year so I am just going with the trend.
3. Cleaning Lady: Once I stopped working outside of the home I considered getting rid of our cleaning lady. After one month of cleaning every single day and being obsessively proprietary over the clean toilets that I had scrubbed, I decided that our cleaning lady will always be a nonnegotiable line item on our budget. Always.
4. Early Bedtimes: After a particularly challenging day I have ridiculously early bedtimes for my kids. The earliest I have put them to bed was 6 pm. We all were very well rested the following day.
5. After School Activities: I am in the camp that the overscheduled child is the happy child. If your child likes activities why not sign them up for a lot of them? An afternoon without scheduled activities at my house with my 3 crazies bouncing off the walls and their beds is inviting an ER visit…for one of them or me.
6. Snacks For Lunch: I used to pride myself on making a well-balanced lunch with all of the food groups, but now I just pack snacks (some of which are healthy) for them. That is what my kids want to eat anyway and it helps to make sure that they don’t waste food or mommy’s time.
7. TV: I have a love/hate relationship with TV. I really do limit my kids’ television intake. In fact, sometimes they can go a week without even turning it on. But when I do “need” them to watch it if I have to get something done, the television is my best friend.
8. Great neighbors: Of course, I know where to borrow eggs and brown sugar, but my neighbors have also helped out picking my child up from the bus stop while I was stuck in traffic. They have let me know that I forgot to close my garage door and brought over casseroles at the birth of each of my kids. Great neighbors make life infinitely easier.
9. High School Baby Sitters: Having good, cheap sitters is a luxury that many cannot afford. But if you can, it certainly makes your life easier. I used to drag all of my kids to everything: my annual gynecological exam, the grocery store, etc. Now I just take them places where I know that they can behave.
10. Cereal For Dinner: Some nights it is just the easiest thing to cook.
How do you fake it? Let me know!