Hello Everyone and welcome to the second edition of The Nap Times! If you are receiving this and do not want a monthly newsletter from me, simply unsubscribe at the bottom. I totally get wanting to simplify and declutter your inbox and will not take it personally.
This second newsletter is going to coverhow I decide what to say yes to and when to say no, as well some some basics for cooking with little people. While these two topics might not seem to go together, it's often having the kids help me in the kitchen where I really have to decide to say yes or no 🤪
DECIDING WHEN TO SAY YES
When I am trying to decide if I should say yes to something with the kids, there are two things I have learned. The first one is easy and yet the one I can most often forget: I DO NOT HAVE TO ANSWER IMMEDIATELY.
I don't. And that is a wonderful thing.
Often, when the kids ask me for something, I will tell them that mom needs a few minutes to decide and I will let them know in a moment. Allowing myself even 30-60 seconds to breathe before I make the decision can help me make it with a clear head instead of impulsively. Some people are more prone to impulsively say yes. Others impulsively so no. Either way, the simple phrase “mom needs a minutes to decide and I will let you know in a moment” gives you the space to think through whatever is being asked, and also teaches your kids they don't have to have an answer right away. It is a good and healthy lesson for them to learn!
During that 30-60 seconds, I implement my second tactic for decision making with the kids. I play the scene out to the end and decide if I have the time/energy for it.
So often I will impulsively say no to the kids helping in the kitchen only to realize we actually have no plans for the entire morning. Even if a mess is made and it takes twice as long to make, we have nowhere to be. Giving myself a chance to realize we actually have nothing but time and I am rushing to get to nowhere allows me to say yes more frequently.
This also goes for when the kids ask for a messy activity. I usually play it out and ask myself, “Do I have the energy to clean up play dough?" and if the answer is yes, then I say yes. If it has been a long morning and I know I personally cannot handle play dough I say no. The kids will survive and hopefully one day in the future I will have the energy or the weather will warm up and we can do play dough outside.
This second tactic also works really well for moms who impulsively say yes only to end up snapping at their kids due to a big mess. Sometimes it really is ok and good to say no and since you are the one in charge; you get to decide if you have the energy and patience for what is being asked of you. You are the captain of the ship.
Having that minute to decide can also help you with expectations for how things went last time you said yes or no. Maybe the mess was huge and this time you will be prepared for it, or maybe the mess was huge and you know you don't have it in you right now. There is no right or wrong answer here. Being a parent is exhausting and it is ok to recognize your limits when the kids want to pull out the 15th activity before 10am.
Over the next few weeks, I invite you to try these two tactics: 1) allow yourself a minute or two to respond, and 2) play out the scenario to the end before you respond.
And please know, I do not do this perfectly. Sometimes you will say no when you could have said yes. And sometimes you will say yes to something that you clearly didn't have the energy for. Parenting is hard and humbling. No one does this perfectly.
A TIPS AND TOOL FOR COOKING WITH LITTLE PEOPLE:
*Please note: the below links are affiliate links. That means if you purchase through them I make a very small commission. Thank you in advance should you wish to use them!
Recognize that messes are not BAD. Messes happen and that is what wash clothes and cleaning products are designed for. A mess simply has to be cleaned up. It is not a sin.
Have some towels at the ready. In my experience, kids do not like sticky hands and having a damp cloth nearby to wipe saves your counters.
Start small. Allow them to crack the egg. Or pour the oats into the cookie batter. Or peel the banana. You can include them in small ways and slowly increase what they are capable of.
Put them on your level. Whether you use a chair or invest in a learning tower, allowing them to see what is happening is key. Imagine making a cake if you couldn't see into the bowl!
Get wide mouth bins for flour, sugar etc. These allow kids to scoop out easily. We adore these Rubbermaid containers that are super wide and also airtight. The 16 cup perfectly holds a bag of flour.
Invest in some kids' knives. We have used plastic knives for years and they are perfect for learning. You can also simply give kids a butter knife and allow them to practice on soft things like banana and watermelon. I plan to get a sharper kids knife like this one for John Robert and Scout to move them to the next level.
Let them practice peeling something simple like a carrot. Carrots are so cheap! Even if they butcher one or two, who cares?! I let me kids use the same peeler I use and it has been great.
Don't forget, filling a pot with water and pouring pasta into the pot are still valuable cooking lessons. I think so often when we think cooking with kids we immediately go to baking from scratch. This doesn't have to be the case. They can start by pouring the artificial cheese into the easy mac!
Let them be a part of the cleanup. Whether it's loading the dishes or using the dust buster to suck up all the oats they spilled, allowing them to be a part of the cleanup teaches them an important lesson about cooking: there is always cleanup!
No matter the outcome, remember it is an invaluable experience. You are teaching them amazing skills they will use for a lifetime. So let them shape the cookies or fill the muffin tins unevenly. Those muffins are likely not being entered in a baking contest.
*I am going to use this section to only share things I read/watched I would suggest to another person. I definitely read/listened to/watched some duds!
I just finished The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and enjoyed it. The time period jumps around a lot which can be hard on my kindle because I cannot flip back and forth easily, but I was able to follow the plot well enough. In the end I really wanted to know what happened and the final part of the book was reading any chance I could to find out.
I am currently reading The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand and I enjoy the way she writes so much. All the books I have read so far focus on one character per chapter and jump back and forth between viewpoints. It keeps me interested. Plus, they are all set on Nantucket and I am committed to visiting one day! This is the third book I have read by Hilderbrand and it won't be the last.
The main thing I have been listening to is The Bible Recap and I cannot sing its praises enough. It is by far the best Bible in a Year plan I have ever done! I listen to the Bible passages each morning using the YouVersion app that has the reading plan already on it and then listen the the episode of The Bible recap which comes to my Podcast app every morning. It has helped me to understand what I am reading more than ever before. Listening to all of this takes me around 15 minutes each morning. It is completely free, by the way. Such an amazing resource!
I am getting back into listening to the How I Built This Podcast. There is something so inspiring to me to hear how these businesses began and the huge hurdles they overcame.
Nate and I have watched Lupin on Netflix and it. was. awesome!! You do have to read the subtitles but gosh it was worth it. I do not enjoy scary shows and this was not scary.
We also watched The Intouchables on Netflix (also featuring Omar Sy, star of Lupin) and it was wonderful. It's an older movie (2011) and involves reading subtitles. It is WORTH THE WATCH.
I love Omar Sy so much. He might be my new favorite.
That's all I have for you this month. Thanks for reading!