Okay, I admit it. I can be a little anal. I’ve had to relax my standards quite a bit though since starting my designer kids clothes business and running it out of my house. Last year some of my most stressful moments involved figuring out and preparing what each of my 3 kids wanted to eat for breakfast. In the morning, every second counts. All it takes is one “bump” on my daughter’s scalp while she’s trying to tie up a smooth, tight ponytail to send the mood of the entire household into a fast, downward spiral (meaning: everyone grab a bag of cookies on our way out the door as there’s no time for breakfast because I’ve spent all my time styling hair). And don’t even get me started on dinnertime in and around playdates, homework and everyone’s conflicting sports team practices. There’s nothing worse than first arriving home at 7:30pm with 3 sweaty kids and nothing prepared for dinner. Can you say frozen pizza – again?!

Like anything else, moderation is the key. So I haven’t let all of my anal tendencies disappear. In fact, I still believe being anal in regards to certain aspects of your life can actually be extremely beneficial. To that end, I have instituted a new policy in my house which coincided with the start of the school year… Food Menus. They are an easy solution to a very common, very stress-inducing part of daily life if you have children. Especially if you are a working mom.

Making Food Menus does not mean I am enabling my kids in treating me like a short order cook at the diner. Quite the opposite.

Here’s how it works:

  1. I sit down with my kids over the weekend so we can work together to make the menu choices for the week (I said I’m anal – not a tyrant!).

  2. We make sure that the decisions are unanimous and everyone has their favorites covered (and if they’re not all fit in this week there is the promise of next week).

  3. We discuss healthy food choices and being sure to include all the “groups” (including desert!), in what is a much more relaxed setting than all being huddled in front of the refrigerator while starving.

  4. Once the schedule is complete, it does not get changed or complained about – that includes eye rolling!

  5. The Weekly Food Menu is posted in the kitchen for all to see. In other words, no more, “Hey Mom, what’s for dinner?”

You can even have your kids make the Food Menu on a poster themselves. It’s a great short project that further makes them feel involved and part of the process.

Now, you’ll know not only exactly what you’re cooking but also just what you need to shop for at the supermarket each week! What I love most is that I don’t have to wait until I am graced with my kids’ presence in the kitchen before doing the cross check of what they each want vs. what we actually have in the pantry and refrigerator. Now, I can actually get started in the kitchen preparing while my kids are doing something else. Ya know, like taking out the garbage, walking the dog, putting their clothes in the hamper and making their beds. What? Now that the chaos of mealtimes seems to have been quieted, can clean and organized bedrooms be far behind? Probably not. But a mom can dream, can’t she?

About the Author:

Lisa G. Gold, Founder & CEO of LikeWear, is a designer of kids clothes, and offers moms a way to earn money selling clothing kids really like.

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