Saturday, April 16, 2011

How To . . .

I'm feeling moderately bossy today, so following is a list of some of the life "rules" that make life at this particular stage work for me.  I stink at the normal amount of things (volleyball, confrontation, estimating volume), but I think I have a few things figured out.

How to Make Great Hamburgers on the Grill:  Mix a little Ranch dressing in with the ground beef before grilling.

How to Keep the Weight Off:  Don't bring the junk into the house.

How to Keep From Bringing the Junk into the House:  Do your grocery shopping while imagining that you are about to run into someone (ex-boyfriend, healthiest person you know, mother, boss) who would critically survey the contents of your cart.  Bonus tip:  Live in a small enough town that this does often happen!

How to Cook Dinner Most Every Night:  Sit down on Sunday evening and plan out the week's meals, jotting down needed ingredients on your grocery list as you go.  Shop on Monday morning, then return to the grocery store every other day or so because you forgot something or because the plan has changed.  Occasionally abandon the plan and eat waffles and scrambled eggs with cheese.

How to Stick to an Exercise Routine:  Find something you truly enjoy doing and build time into your life so you can do it regularly.  Run, walk, swim, yoga, Zumba, cross-country ski, mountain bike, jump rope . . . it doesn't matter what it is, but it has to be something you love, not something you dread.  Bonus tip:  Find another person or two whose company you enjoy and plan to work out with them.  Your affinity for them will prevent you from slacking even if you want to.

How to Manage Laundry:  Keep the laundry segregated.  Give each person in the household a basket, and when their basket is full, throw it all in on cold.  This way, when it comes out of the dryer, you dump the whole (clean) basket on their bed, fold, and put it away right in one room.  No sorting.  Yay!

How to Make Your Husband Happy:  Learn his Love Language and speak it.  The five Love Languages are Physical Touch, Words of Affection, Gift-giving, Acts of Service, and Quality Time.  Most people have one or two major languages that they use to express love to others.  Figure out what your husband's language is by noticing how he shows his love to others around him; this is the way to his heart.

How to Get Your Husband to Make You Happy:  Don't be afraid to identify your own love language(s) and inform your husband.  There is no way he's going to read the book, so go ahead and tell him.  (Ahem.  Gift-giving-and-quality-time.)

How to Teach Your Children Well:  Consistency.  Set up routines that work for you and follow them EVERY SINGLE TIME.  Breakfast must be eaten, teeth must be brushed, clothes must be on, bed must be made every single school morning before there is time for playing.  No exceptions.  We read every night of the week right before bed.  When the girls ask me a question, I think about it, give an answer, and NEVER CHANGE THE ANSWER.  It might turn out badly, the answer might be a mistake, and we will eventually talk about that, and I might give a different answer the next time they ask, but once I have decreed that something is so, IT WILL BE SO.  When you follow things 100% of the time, people stop questioning because they know it is futile.  If you follow something even 98% of the time, your kids will know that there's a 2% chance of you caving in and they will beg you incessantly to see if they can get it to happen.

How to Keep Your House Clean:  Hire a cleaning service.  In between the times they come, ignore the mess.

How to Maintain Your Friendships:  Show up.  Call.  Write.  Laugh.  Ask.  Make dinner reservations.

How to Read a Ton of Books Every Year:  Only turn on the TV for the shows that you actually enjoy and intentionally plan to watch.  Be an anxious person who must read for at least an hour to silence the worry before going to sleep each night.  Bonus tip:  Be an insomniac!

How to End Up with Enough Money Eventually:  See what you make, and save a minimum 10% to invest conservatively.  Leave it alone.  Period.

How to Remember Things:  Write them down.

Leave your bossy life rules in the comments!


  1. Oooh! This made me excited! :) Here's one I can get bossy about.

    How to diminish the junk around your house:

    Touch everything once and have everything have an assigned place. Get mail? Immediately trash and/or sort in specific locations. Homework - dining room table until complete and then back into backpack. Toys? Toy box or bedrooms, as soon as the fun is over.
    The end.

  2. This is great! I completely agree with the "How to Cook Dinner Every Night" (I have the same technique as you) and "How to Teach Your Children Well."

    I have two.

    How to Remember to Bring Reusable Shopping Bags in the Store. Keep them piled up in the passenger seat of your car, within sight as you take off your seatbelt. It looks messy and chaotic, but I never forget to bring them in with me.

    How to Make Friends. I stole this one, but it's something I follow more and more as I get older. "It's better to be interested than interesting." Listen more than you talk.

  3. Thanks, you two! Sixminutes, I always remember the reusable shopping bags on my Monday morning trip, but almost never on the subsequent trips. I'll start keeping a bag or two right in the car!

  4. I don't need to leave my own. I'm just going to steal yours!

    Love this!