Our home is a place where everyone is welcome.
On a daily basis, we celebrate both the beauty and bedlam of everyday life, and a large majority of that celebration centers around great food.
The old cliché states that “the Kitchen is the Heart of the Home,” and it’s certainly true with our family.
In my house, the place we end up congregating the most is in our kitchen. So, when parties happen, life is lived to its fullest, but the entire time, echoes of “Excuse me, pardon me. Can I get by you?” occur non-stop.
When I designed my kitchen back in 1997, I wasn’t thinking space-planning, smushed kitchen corners, or five children. I had three toddlers that could easily slide by the island and peninsula.
So, for nearly two decades, this is what my kitchen counter space looked like; a very traditional layout, which gave me tons of surface space with which to work. You can see some pictures of parties in action. I had two cute stools which rarely were used, except as a clutter collector.
Note the close proximity between the traditional L shape and the free standing island. Everyone typically congregated right in this general area because I used the peninsula as the drink and main dish serving line and the island as the appetizer/dessert area.
Who would want to move from all that delicious food?
Not too many, and thus the dilemma of being trapped. For years, I didn’t think I could solve this space issue until I was ready to remodel the kitchen, and that wasn’t a priority.
I needed the peninsula’s counter space, since I entertain large groups often, but my dear friend, Melissa from the inspired Room, had just removed the same peninsula in her remodel. I saw how it opened up her kitchen, and I kept going back to her floor plan. (You must click over to see her completed kitchen reveal. It’s breath taking and worthy of a “REAL GRAND REVEAL.”
So what I did next was a moment of sheer spontaneity, desperation or insanity. You decide.
I did it to myself, and I knew better. That last cup of late night coffee created my self induced insomnia and now I was dealing with its effects.
Isn’t it something, the vast scope of topics our mind travels to as we lay awake in bed?
Over the course of an hour, I simultaneously had a brain storming session about my upcoming conference, confronted a difficult parent over a recent ugly, team sports situation, cooked my bulk ground beef in the crock pot for tomorrow’s Taco Casserole and basically solved our nation’s health care issues, all from the comfort of my bed without opening my mouth.
I fluffed my pillow a few times, tossed and turned trying to get comfortable, and then began a slow descent.
Doubts about my blog, my lack of “drive,” and even questions of how I fit into this social media circle slowly crept to the surface. The new worlds the internet opens is truly a gift, but it also brings its own set of challenges and insecurities to those of us who share words here.
As I think back over our two decades of raising children (yes, we just hit that mile marker), I’ve often shared here on the blog how the journey towards building character in our children is exhausting, difficult, requires consistency, but is so worth it.
For years, I shared a workshop entitled, “Raising Responsible Kids” at various conferences and mom events, but then our eldest son turned five and all my formulas went out the window.
In an era that desires quick fix solutions and 1.2.3 formulas, we want assurances of amazing children without the years of prayer and hard work. I find it even more interesting that many might listen to input on child rearing or read books to help them find solutions, but when it comes to actually implementing the tough ideas, yes, the ones that really make the most difference, we find a hundred reasons why we shouldn’t or couldn’t or can’t or won’t.
It’s not that we don’t care; it’s not that we don’t want what’s best for our children, we do, we really, really do, it’s just exhausting and painful and tiring.
Have I mentioned parenting is exhausting?
And here’s the kicker. I am SPEAKING TO MYSELF AS WELL!!!
You’d think that with my background of child psychology, as well as my years as a middle school and high school youth ministries director, I’d have all the solutions.
In fact, I’m a mother of five, with four of them 14-20, I should have this all figured out, right?
Well, guess what?
I have figured out simple, yet highly effective ways to raise lazy and entitled children based on personal experiences with my own children, the shared stories of others and my observations.
Names and situations have been changed to protect the innocent, so if any of you start feeling like I am stepping on your toes, it’s all good. It just means we are in this together.
Please note this is meant to be read with a sarcastic, tongue and cheek tone. [Read More...]