Hi, and welcome to week 2 of Mom Hacks: dealing cutting blows to some of motherhood’s trickiest problems.
As parents, when we find something innovative that makes our lives easier, we want to share it, take out a billboard! Shout it from the rooftops! “Hey YOU GUYS!!! I Found a way to make ______ less stressful!”
And share we must! Because we need sanity, so let’s swap secrets.
Let’s hack into the system, find some cheat codes to rescue the proverbial princess with a bit more ease. (Super Mario reference anyone?)
Week 1, the ridiculous pedometer workout, was something I came up with out of the recesses of my truly unique brain.
This week it’s the Crudités Happy Hour, something my friend Jenni shared with me.
One afternoon, on a long distance phone call from Utah to Oklahoma, I was sharing my pre-dinnertime woes with my dear friend Jenni. She’s like a sister and wise mom-sage all rolled into one.
Here’s the issue I shared with her: Every time I stood at the counter to get dinner ready the kids rushed into the kitchen, mustering their powers of whining and clinging to a degree that threatened my sanity.
It was causing me to hate cooking, something that I formerly enjoyed with gusto.
Someday, I’ll bring them in on the cooking, but they’re too young for most of it. When I bake I happily invite them to join in. But when I chop and sauté I need them safely out of range.
That’s when my friend Jenni told my about her secret Cruités weapon.
cru·di·tés- noun plural [French Noun]
: pieces of raw vegetables (such as celery or carrot sticks) served as an hors d’oeuvre, often with a dip
Simply put Crudités is a raw veggie platter. I’ve swapped notes with many mom friends and we’ve discovered that most kids would rather crunch their veggies raw than sautéed, steamed, baked or otherwise.
So here is how I implement this hack on a daily basis: Around 3:30 or 4, when the post nap/rest munchies threaten our sanity, I put out a platter of raw veggies.
If I have a dip available I put it out, but I make it very clear that each child gets one dip cup a piece. When it’s gone, it’s gone! Because If I’m not careful the dip to veggie ratio gets a little ridiculous. It sounds stingy but my kids would drink ranch if left to their own devices.
Okay so the veggies are out, the dip rule is in place.
Now I tell the kids, you can eat your veggies, play with puzzles or color (or whatever activity I have available) but for the most part they need to stay out of the kitchen (unless a real need arises.)
And I have to tell you that for the most part, the Cruités happy hour is changing our dinner-prep time!
The kids play and graze, and sure I find half-eaten carrots here and there, but for the most part they munch and play. Bonus: when they have carrots in their mouth, they’re a lot less likely to whine.
I try to mix up the options on the Crudités platter as well as always have their favorites on hand (which are baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, red pepper and green olives)
In the wintertime months I have to price match and budget to keep the fresh veg on hand, but I know that it will pay big dividends in both the short and long term.
Also, I usually find myself munching on the platter, filling myself with fresh veggies. They get veggies, I get sanity, it’s the most winningest win/win imaginable.
MOM HACK BREAKDOWN
MOM HACK (WHAT): Put out a crudités (veggie) platter before dinner.
WHY: So that your kids have a healthy snack to munch on while you get a little time to get dinner ready.
TIPS / HOW: Put out your kids favorites with new options mixed in here and there for variety. Tell them that they can munch veggies or play, but they cannot beg for different snacks or hang on you.
So that’s it! What do you think, would it work for your family?
What are your biggest pre-dinner struggles? What hacks do you have to share?