Sometimes I think my children are just really farm animals by the way they graze all day in and out of my kitchen. The thought of wanting to eat at all times of the day is making me crazy. I know most of the time it is just pure boredom. Not because there isn't a million things to do around here, but because sometimes we are just lazy.
I realize that I may have contributed to the problem. When I was in school, there was a lot of times when I said to them, "feed yourselves, I have a paper due in two hours and I just started." Yes, we ate a ton of pre-packaged food, cold cereal and ramen the last few years. Gross. But it was mostly my fault that we got into some bad habits.
I will also admit that I sit at this computer and do NOTHING, a lot of the time now. Yes, I'm checking my e-mails for the booster club stuff that needs done, sometimes I am writing that awe-inspiring blog post, working on my book or editing something for a fellow writer, but I waste a lot of time doing nothing. So do my kids.
They stare into the fridge like something is going to move and they are just going to stand there and wait for it to happen. Shut the fridge already, nothing has changed from the last time you opened it and looked inside.
I'm ready to do something drastic. I'm laying the groundwork right now as I have started planning out our meals and snacks and posting them on the fridge. It has been heaven not having to wonder what to make (or merely set out) for their after school snack. When it comes to thinking about dinner, I can pull stuff out of the freezer the night before or that morning and do a lot of the prep work throughout the day so I'm not in a rush to figure out what to cook.
Here is how we are starting small. I don't like to call them rules, because they are merely a way of life, it is how it is going to be around here from now on.
Normal #1 - If you don't want what is on the menu, you don't get another choice. Period. I'm not a short order cook. I try to vary it so that there isn't too much complaining, but after just two weeks of the menu being up, the complaints are almost down to zero on the days when they don't like the snack. This is huge. I hate whining.
Normal #2 - I am not doing your kitchen chores for you because your life is so busy and you have so much to do. This is not negotiable. I do a ton of the work to keep this house running and your part is to pitch in. It doesn't mean that I'm not going to do something nice for you once in a while, to reward you for your efforts. Just don't plan on it.
It is just a start, but like I said, I'm building the foundation for some new attitudes around here. About every other week, I am going to institute a new "normal" to add to our routine. This is the beginning of something great, I can feel it. I'm more on top of my life now and I'm gaining back some of the parental control I lost while I was consumed with my education. We're getting back to our "normal" ASAP.