Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Relax Mom. It means be calm.

This is what my daughter said to me the other night as she watched me play Mario Kart with her daddy and big brother. It was in response to me exclaiming, "WHAT THE?!?" when Wario knocked me into hot lava and I lost my position at 1st.

And again she said it to me the next day as I began to get uptight and upset with the state of the toy room, and the kitchen, and especially her room.

It is a fantastic concept. It sounds delightful. Relax. Calm down. As I type this my knee is bouncing up and down in a quick jittery jig that I picked up my freshman year of college. I do it when calm is elusive. But I hear it burns calories, so not all bad and kind of multitasking.

Today was not a relaxing day. Between two boys at two different doctor appointments (same office, hello front desk gals again!), Caroline sporting a fever of 103.9 (I'm sure the front desk gals will see us again this week), family and work and school obligations and pressures, I am now just sitting down to write this. So what? Who doesn't have this kind of day nearly every day?

We are in a go go go world. We have information at our finger tips. We are surrounded by stress. Turn on the tv or switch on your home page on your computer and you see images of Swine Flu hysteria, financial crisis, political sagas, violence or Lindsay Lohan. STRESS! Informative articles that tell us how to be a better mother, spouse, friend, cook. Marketing that makes us think that we need certain things to be happy or to be satisfied or to be with it. Experts telling us that if we do this, that or the other we will be fulfilled. A barage of information, dvd's, magazines that will make us healthier, thinner, younger, stronger. A certain definition for what is acceptable or ideal in our society. We have kids going 90 miles an hour, too. School, music lessons, sports, playdates. It is almost unacceptable for a child to have more than an hour of free time. Bigger and better, right? Give them opportunities galore, wouldn't want them to miss out on anything. STRESS!

Then you have the whole comparing yourself to others (don't lie, we all do it, whether it goes in our favor or not - seriously, if say you only worry about you and how well you are doing we all will know who you are by the length of your nose). I know there are things that I am good at. I will list them for you if you want. But I can give you a list a mile wide of things that I need MASSIVE improvement on and I can tell you who can do it better and how they do it better. STRESS!

With my knee bouncing at a jackhammer pace, I am trying to remind myself that I need to chill out. I need to focus on the good. The joy. The niceties that make my day. Sleeping in, good oatmeal and fresh fruit, kids that rush me in the morning like they haven't seen me in days. A husband that spends mass amounts of time with his kids, works hard and finds time to give me a hug and a kiss. Friends who walk with me at a frantic pace and hear my irrational rantings, friends and family who support me in even the tiniest of situations. A cozy (not always tidy) home in a fantastic neighborhood with even better schools. Good music. A good family. Frozen chicken nuggets. Health.

Maybe I needed to hash this out so that tomorrow I will stress less. You know, the over-reaction before the calming action. I will make a list of things that need to get accomplished (like delivering hens and chicks, I promise) and pat myself on the back when the first or second items get crossed off, even if that is all that is crossed off. I will only check my email a couple times instead of too often. I will sit and play Go Fish with Caroline even though the kitchen floor is in need of a good scrub. I will patiently do homework with Eli and snuggle Joey longer after his nap. I will read. I will listen to U2, because without fail, it relaxes me. I especially love this song,

And I will make waffles for my family to enjoy when we have Breakfast for Dinner. Something I know everyone will love and no one will complain and I can still feel good about it because the kids will enjoy it with fruit.

Overnight Waffles
Make 4-6 servings
Time: 8 hours, or more, largely unattended
1/2 t instant yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 T sugar
1/2 t salt
2 cups milk
8 T (1 stick) butter, MELTED AND COOLED
1/2 t vanilla extract (optional)
Canola or other neutral oil for brushing on waffle iron
2 eggs

1. Before going to bed, combine the dry ingredients and stir in the milk, then the butter and vanilla. The mixture will be loose. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside overnight at room temp.
2. Brush the waffle iron lightly with oil and preheat it. Separate the eggs and stir the yolks into the batter. Beat the whites until they hold soft peaks. Stir them gently into the batter.
3. Spread a ladleful or so of batter onto the waffle iron and bake until the waffle is done, usually 3 to 5 minutes, depending on your iron. Serve immediately or keep warm for a few minutes in the oven at a low temp.

It says Overnight Waffles, but I often make the batter in the morning and we are good to go for dinner. The yummiest I have ever had. We use this waffle iron, but I think you could use anything. We have made them for large family gatherings (just making more, obviously) and for just our little family. In fact, add it to your menu for this week. Relax, let me tell you what to make.

recipe is from this book, I suggest you check it out


Christy said...

Oh that recipe sounds delish. But my husband does not like breakfast for dinner. GASP! I know! I soooo wish he did. Maybe it's because he's British? I don't know. I just know it doesn't fly here. wah! I'm sure once our daughter is older it'll be two against one and I'll be able to get away with it occasionally. In the meantime, this goes into my special weekend breakfasts file. Not that I really have such a file, but you know what I mean.

Hopefully writing this out helped calm you a little bit. It can be so cathartic, can't it? :-)

Also, glad you included the link. For a second there I thought you were actually raising baby chickens and giving them to friends. ha!

suzan said...

Thanks for this post! It's true, we all have these days. This was a great reminder for me. I know I need to snuggle longer, read more, and check emails less often! I always let the guilt of a not always perfect house get me down. Gotta work on that some more... Also, Thanks for the recipe. I have that waffle maker too. I LOVE IT!!! I have made waffles for dinner more than a few times myself. It's a sure winner at may house :)

Through the Looking Glass said...

I wish you had brought me baby chicks, but I love the "hens and chicks" instead. I'm compulsive - I have to plant them before I leave.

Like you, I go through phases where my world piles up on my and I feel like I'm drowning. Sleep, exercise, spend some hours away from kids, get a break. We deserve it. All of us.

I've seen you post this recipe before and I need to try it. FIrst I need a better waffle iron - we're still sporting the wedding one and it's a little, well, old. That Costco one sure is purdy!

Miss(Michelle) said... have to stop and smell the roses...but what a hard thing to do in this dog eat dog world.
The best thing you can do is where no one knows you. Then you won't be known as the creative one who can do it all...who can volunteer with 1 arm behind her back. Try it... I hear Texas is looking for Dave back.
BTW...those are the best dang waffles ever...guess what is on tap for Friday dinner.