It’s 2013 and resolve to get my life back under control.
Since when do I actually abide by those resolutions? “Lose 20 pounds.” “Save more money.” “Eat out less”. “Bake my own bread.” “Run a half marathon every season.”
Have you ever had “training” on how to set goals? I remember getting some training on it in AFROTC many years ago, back when we had an ENTIRE SEMESTER on Quality Air Force, which was the Air Force’s adaptation of Total Quality Management in the mid-1990s. Part of the training was about how to set meaningful, reasonable goals.
Feel free to Google “Goal setting” or “how to set reasonable goals” and you’ll see all sorts of tips. What I remember is the following:
- Goals should be realistic.
- Goals should be achievable in a timely manner.
- Goals should be achievable with resources available.
- Goals’ successes should be measurable.
As you can see from the title, simply declaring “Getting control back!” is not really measurable, is it? After all, how do I know whether my life is in control or not? To a fly on the wall, it might seem like my life is in control: my kids are clothed, fed, they’re taken to piano, Scouts, sports and school at the proper times. Bills are paid, I meet my AF Reserve obligations, and I remembered everyones’ birthdays in 2012 (I think).
I need help with meal planning and keeping up with housework. Every once in a while I’ll fuss about these two things on Facebook or Twitter…or here on this blog. These are the two items that will fall by the wayside FIRST when our lives get busy. I’ll get into scenarios where I don’t have time to cook, the laundry and dishes will pile up, and my poor floors get filthy, and the dust tumbleweed starts to roll.
I KNOW I can do better with the meal planning. What I seek is a little more elaborate than just having ingredients to prepare breakfasts, lunches and dinners every day. Sometimes I’ll get on a roll and prepare big heavy dinners every night for a week — then we have a fridge full of leftovers and bored boys who are fussing about having to eat leftovers. I would like to find a balance:
- Cook with meat only 3-4 days per week
- Ensure a variety of vegetables with dinner every night
- Don’t cook huge dinners every single night — try to keep the portions under control.
- Have a leftovers night once a week
- Program in one lunch out and one dinner out per week — or every other week?
- Be prepared for quick portable dinners when the kids have Scouts and sports. With baseball ratcheting up in about 6 weeks, that will be very important.
Corollary to this meal planning bit is to be better about sitting down to write out good shopping lists. This became quite terrible in 2012. I’d go to the store and buy duplicates of things I already had, and then forget other things. I’d try to cram the entire shopping list in my already-full brain.
I have a great iPhone app called Grocery IQ. It’s pretty sophisticated: bar code scanner to simply scan the empty cereal box or jar of peanut butter, a capability to arrange your shopping list by your favorite store’s aisles, and even links to coupon apps so you can download and print the coupons from your smartphone.
I barely used it this year. Shame on me.
Better meal planning and grocery lists means more balanced, nutritious meals for the family, and cost savings from not eating out so much and only buying what ingredients I need at the store.
As for the housework piece, I need to come up with a daily housework plan. In 2012 I got into this rut of trying to do a week’s housework on Mondays. Obviously laundry and dishes (and for me, vacuuming) are daily or almost-daily, but the other items would be crammed into Monday: mopping floors, cleaning my oven, wiping down cabinets, scrubbing toilets and bathtubs. I’d get exhausted. And Facebook and Twitter would draw me to the laptop like a supermagnet.
I like this guide better, which also covers monthly and quarterly chores, such as deep cleaning carpets and wiping down baseboards. Both things I ought to do quarterly, but it’s more like 2x per year. There are big-ticket tasks that I don’t do routinely. Usually something catches my attention — a sticky spot on a doorknob…then I’m breaking out the Clorox wipes and Magic Erasers wiping down every door in the house.
It makes sense — if I do a little bit of housework every day, I don’t end up overwhelmed on Mondays.
With a military move coming up this summer, it’s time to go back to the basics of keeping up with this household so we are well prepared when things get even more chaotic in as little as five months!