Home Management and Priorities: When Crayons Come Before Meal Time

momhome management

broken crayons My husband walked in from work at 7pm the other night to find dinner still untouched on the stove. The kids and I were deeply engaged in an activity that had completely occupied the previous 4 hours. We were melting crayons.

The kitchen was a mess and there were crayon shavings covering the floor, the counters, and under our finger nails. But no one (save my husband) was worried about the mess or complaining about being hungry.

After dinner, I was marveling at the crayons that we had created, and my husband remarked, "I can think of a lot of other things that would have been a better use of 4 hours." I immediately shot back with, "But what could have been better than the memories and the bonds we created while making those crayons today?"

He didn't argue.

While looking at the muffin-tin shaped crayons the next morning (along side the crayon-colored muffin tins that need cleaning) I thought of the analogy about the jar filled with rocks and pebbles.

The concept is relatively simple: Picture a jar. You need to fit a bunch of rocks of different sizes into your jar. It makes sense to place the largest rocks in the jar first, adding the smaller rocks next, and finally filling the tiniest of spaces with sand. Experts recommend taking the same approach to home management. Do the most important tasks first (rocks) and fill in your time with the less-pressing activities (pebbles and sand).

The question remains: "What are the rocks when it comes to home management? What are the most important tasks?"

For those four hours the other day, my children were my rocks—my most important priority. Yes! Even more important of a priority in that moment than meal time.

The time I spent with them was the best use of my time, and I was able to fit making dinner into the breaks. We also managed to unload some dishes and clean the kitchen table so that we didn't have to eat on crayon shavings.

melted crayons

Priorities might change from day to day. Tomorrow, I might need to make laundry one of my rocks or no one will have clean clothes to wear for the rest of the week. Sometimes, when I have a deadline for a project I'm working on, my work becomes my first priority and house work needs to take a secondary place.

Most mornings, after the kids have left for school and the work day starts for me, I tend to head straight for my computer, where it is very easy to get stuck for the next 6 hours. However, I've learned that taking 30 minutes in the morning to clean the kitchen and the family room (and maybe a few extra minutes to take a shower) make the rest of my day feel so much more productive and gets me started with a positive outlook.

What are the rocks that you like to tackle first? Or do you find yourself wanting to fill your time with "sand" too often?

Lolli Lolli is a mother of five who believes that kids can do more than they lead us to believe. So she puts her kids to work cleaning and cooking as much as possible, reassuring them the whole while that they will thank her for it someday. When the kids are at school, Lolli spends her time writing on her blog, Better in Bulk, tweeting, and editing pictures from her latest photo shoots.

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