While hanging at my friend Laura's the other day, I read through a small but mighty book called Loving the Little Years. It's brief, but contains many nuggets of wisdom from a mom of five children ages five and under. I read through it in one naptime, and a few thoughts stuck with me. One is the idea that 20 minutes in the life of a mom can be just the right amount of time.
*One quick caveat before I go on: I did really like this book and find it worth reading, but the author is clearly very pro-spanking, which I am not. Perhaps I will get into that more later, but know that although I did not agree with her on that particular point, I found many of her other insights to be worth holding onto.
So, twenty minutes. The author, Rachel Jankovic, talks about a time when everything seemed to be spinning a little out of control, with children simultaneously needing all manner of things and Mommy feeling pulled in all directions. When this happens, she recommends looking at the clock, then doing one thing at a time until the storm passes. She says by the time you look at the clock again and twenty minutes have passed, you will be amazed at how much better things are. This totally resonated with me. It really is amazing what can be accomplished in twenty minutes. So, I decided to take it one step further and actually time what I could do in twenty minutes.
Last week at ten o'clock, I went downstairs to turn out the lights before bed when I realized that the kitchen was a mess. It had been a rough day for both me and Kurt, and somehow we had managed to avoid/forget the kitchen cleanup. It looked like this:
I will say that when you have kitchen the size of ours, it doesn't take much for it to look cra-zay. My immediate temptation was to go to bed and deal with it in the morning. But then I had a thought. If I set the timer for twenty minutes, it would go off at 10:20 and I would still have 10 minutes to get ready for bed. Whatever wasn't done in twenty minutes could wait.
Twenty minutes later, the timer beeped. I wasn't quite done. I needed perhaps five more minutes to put on the finishing touches. But, in twenty minutes, the task had become infinitely more manageable. I was more than willing to see the job to it's conclusion. Which was this:Much better, huh? The counter on the left is still full, but that's because I prefer to let our dishes air-dry for sanitary reasons, and they don't take long to put away in the morning. Tons better, and I could go to bed in peace. So, my challenge to you is to get a working kitchen timer, and the next time you just can't bear the thought of (fill in the blank: folding laundry, taking out the trash, mopping the floor), stop and give it twenty and see what happens. I'll be right there with you.