Kitchen Day saves my behind ALL. THE. TIME. But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy! Especially with kids, a productive Kitchen Day sometimes takes longer than normal. Lately, school with Annie is taking more time from me than it use to. So how do I make it work…and can you? I say yes! Let’s talk about how.
If I want to have a productive kitchen day, I start at 8:30 in the morning.
Today, I didn’t finish until suppertime! I wasn’t cooking non-stop the entire time. I had to take breaks to help with math, and fix snacks, teach Kindergarten or help with whatever random 4th grade subject. My goal is to dedicate the WHOLE day to cooking because I know if I allow enough time, I can get several of our dinners and breakfasts prepped and ready, requiring that I only reheat it later – which saves SO much time! And if I know we’re going to be super busy on weekends, I often prep meals for Monday too so that we aren’t stressed at the start of a new week.
I am going to share what I made today – because I know y’all are curious! But the point of this post isn’t so much what I made as the fact that I did it despite the many distractions from my kids.
My kitchen day haul was:
- 2 batches of pancakes (cottage cheese and regular)
- 2 loaves of bread
- Instant Pot Kaluha Pork. This recipe makes enough for several different meals.
- 3lbs of bacon (cooked in the oven)
- Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- Sausage & Scrambled Eggs
- Monterrey Chicken
- Stuffed jalapeños. I made these because Barry requested them. The kids, and maybe even me, won’t eat them – because they are (obviously) spicy!
- Cheeseburger Cauliflower Casserole. This will be Monday’s dinner.
- Breakfast Ham & Egg Roll-Ups . I actually saw this “recipe” on a Facebook in one of those 60-second cooking videos! I am a sucker for those – I can’t help but watch.
- Ice cream. Because you know, I’m a cool mom…or NOT.
My kids are currently 9, 6, 4 and 2. I’m teaching school to a 4th grader and kindergartner. I get asked OFTEN: “how are you cooking all day when your children are home with you?” “How do you have a productive kitchen day with kids around constantly?” I don’t want y’all to take this the wrong way – I am not trying to be harsh. But I have taught them how to be self-sufficient – at least as self-sufficient as they can reasonably be at that age. They are not crawling up my legs all day every day because I have not allowed them to do so. And y’all – that takes work.
It was really important for me to teach them how to do things on their own.
I have taught them to play together and play by themselves. I occasionally allow them to play learning games on the iPad. Sometimes they will play on the back porch or in the playroom. But it’s not always easy. I’ve had to work at it and really focus on teaching my kids to be self-sufficient. And I’ll admit, sometimes I do chose the easy route, but in this case I worked with them. When I had littles under a year, they were on a blanket sitting on the floor playing in the kitchen. Please don’t think I am being ugly when I say this but…
I have taught my kids that in order for me to have a productive kitchen day, they need to give me space and let me cook.
I remind them – if you want to have something to eat, you need to let me finish my kitchen work! You don’t want your kids growing up and not be able to find a way to occupy themselves. I’ve just taught them to busy themselves while Mom is busy. We have a lot of open ended toys like blocks, dress up clothes, magnet tiles, dolls, Play-Doh, Color Wonder markers, and more. They don’t have to leave you! They can be in the kitchen while you’re working.
There’s no magic secret here to a productive kitchen day with kids…it’s hard work and takes discipline.
And it still takes me all day because of all the interruptions! But at the end of the day, I can look back and see that I’ve accomplished a lot and my kids are healthy and happy. Let me just encourage you that even thought it seems hard and you seem like a bad mom when you are focused on sometime other than your kids. But this work is also important. And the kids are watching you! They are seeing what it takes to take care of family.
Here’s the thing: we all want this magic bullet of how to get it all done and compare ourselves with that “perfect Pinterest mom.” Guess what – she doesn’t exist. That isn’t reality. Training our kids is a responsibility we can’t pawn off on a computer, the television, or straight up neglect and hope it’ll just “work out” in the end. And yet, our lives can’t revolve around satisfying our children’s every want. The way to accomplish things other than just taking care of the kids is to train them that they are not the only thing that is important to you. Don’t get me wrong – they are EXTREMELY important, but kids are not the center of the universe. Instill the discipline in your kids (and yourself) to get things accomplished and you’ll be amazed at how much you can actually get done in a day.
What tricks do you have for a productive kitchen day with children under foot?