Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mise en Place and More: 5 Things My Kids See Me Do

Tell kids something and they're gonna forget it in five minutes. Live it and they may never consciously remember the lesson but chances are they'll live it, too. That's my hope, anyway! I don't always present the best example when it comes to brushing my teeth in the morning or reading the instructions before diving into a project but overall I think I do a pretty good job when it comes to being a mom. How so? Well, here are just five things I'm proud of doing in front of my kids. If you're not doing these five things in front of your kids (whether you're just not doing them or doing them behind the scenes) maybe it's time to start!

Look, kids, mama is human!

Put Everything in Its Place
Mise en place literally means 'put in place' and comes from the restaurant world where pre-prep is vital to making culinary magic happen. I personally think pre-prep is vital to making anything happen - if you want whatever it is to happen without the chaos that so many people think is just an unavoidable part of life with kids. To quote Michael RuhlmanExcellent mise represents the ultimate state of preparedness, whether the physical mise en place of food and tools or the mental mise en place of having thought a task through to the end and being ready for each step of it. In other words, P. sees every day that a little bit of organization and forethought can go a long way.

I look like a pro. I dance like one of those inflatable dancing guys.


Practice
Isn't it weird how parents routinely ask kids to practice half an hour or an hour each day - whether it's piano or calculus - but when kids probably never see their moms and dads practicing anything with that kind of discipline? Which isn't to say that parents aren't practicing something, like maybe cooking or gardening or small batch brewing. All I know is I never saw my mom or dad practice anything on a schedule the way I had to practice clarinet, but P. sees me practicing tap and ballet and my company routines the same way I make her practice her routines. She needs to know that the way you get good at anything, whether you're a kid or a grownup, is by putting in your 10,000 hours.

Fail
I've already written about how I think it's super important that my kids see me fail. They need to learn that grownups don't always get the brass ring when they grab for it but it's never really the end of the world. The best part about failing? It means you were aiming high. If you're succeeding at everything you do, maybe it means you're not really challenging yourself. So when I don't meet a goal and that's bumming me out I'm not afraid or ashamed to explain what's up to P. if she's curious why I'm in a blue mood. And then she sees me finish up my mourning and move on to the next challenge.

This popcorn actually went all over at one point.

Lose My Temper
While I don't ever intend to lose my cool it happens because I'm a human being. When I do, I admit it, explain it, and apologize. I don't say I'll never do it again the same way I don't ever make P. say she'll never lose her temper again because that's an impossible standard to set for oneself. When people live together day in and day out their wants and needs are eventually going to clash and that is natural and probably okay. Better out than in, in some cases. Quiet resentment can fester. Losing my temper means a teachable moment - everyone gets frustrated, everyone lets it out sometimes, everyone says things they regret, but what matters most is what you do afterward. Which brings me to the next thing I let me kids see me do.

Apologize
I'm happy to admit that I screw up - a lot. Lose my temper? Yeah. Pick the wrong battles? Yep. Say stupid stuff? Oh yeah. But after I say the stupid stuff (and we all do) I'm pretty quick to say sorry, and that's whether it's a grownup in front of me or a kid. Turns out there is still a pretty big camp of folks who believe that apologizing to children is pretty much always wrong but I guess I'm not in that camp. I'm not sure how you can expect little ones to own up to the kind of silly mistakes we all make every day if you're not modeling that behavior. I don't say I'm sorry when I make a decision that's for the best but not ideal in P.'s mind - then I say something like "I totally understand how you feel right now." During screw up moments, though, I'm more than happy to offer up an apology.

P.S. - I wrote a critical response to the dad who thought his SAHM wife was lazy but then changed his mind. Curious what I thought about what he had to say? Check it out, please!

5 comments:

  1. I love the whole "mise en place" concept. Prepping when you have time is so helpful for when the crunch hits. I even suggest people cut up and pre-measure ingredients for dinner at 9am if this is when they have time. When the driving around and colic sets in, you have stacked the odds of success in your favor!

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    1. Seriously, it's what keeps me sane! Mise en place for everything!

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  2. I don't have any kids, but I love your face in the popcorn pic :)

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    1. You see, I decided to open the lid during popping to put in some more kernels because I like to live dangerously. Popcorn can really fly, man!

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  3. I dance like an inflatable dancing guy too! We have that in common.
    Also, I can't tell you what happens when I try to make popcorn. It's a disaster each time. I think I've taken oil to the eye, burnt half, or had it all spill out.
    My kids see me lose my temper more often than I'd care to admit. Luckily they also see me rein it in.

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