I guess this post applies to anyone, but I particularly wanted to address my single readers. Some of the time, we can get so caught up in the “hunt” for Mr. or Mrs. Right or even just our next love interest, that we forget (I know I do!) that this “season of singleness,” as some people have dubbed it, has an actual purpose besides just waiting.
When you get into a relationship, that significant other does tend to take up a significant amount of your time and energies, not to mention brain space! Then if you add family to that equation and start popping out the little adorable munchkins, consider ‘free’ time a luxury. This is all good and well. My point isn’t to bash couple-dom or family. I just want those who are single to take advantage of the free time at your disposal!
Let’s learn some skills now that will benefit us in the future when free time is a thing of the past and we have to meet the demands of a family and a spouse.
Here are some great things to learn before you have a family. Some are pretty obvious, but still worth mentioning. I’d love other ideas! Feel free to comment:)
I’ve always had this kinda ‘Stepford Wives, Bree Van de Camp” fantasy that my kids think my cooking is so stellar, they actually whine when we announce we’re going out to eat. Like,
Mom, do we have to eat out? Can’t we have your Sausage Putanesca or spinach quiche? I can prepare the Phylo dough for Baklava for dessert and make greek salad! I know you love Kalamata olives and artichoke hearts! Or what about the goat cheese souffle? We haven’t had that in ages!
Okay, so maybe this is just my weird fantasy….but I really think that everyone should learn how to cook at least some basic dishes. Let’s face it. We don’t really know what people put in our food when we go out to eat. The restaurant industry’s goal is making a profit, not making a healthy, sanitary, balanced meal.
And there’s just something about home cooked meals made with love and effort, eaten at home, and around a dinner table with just your loved ones and not a bunch of strangers in a packed restaurant. Have you ever heard a bachelor complain that he hasn’t had a “home-cooked meal” in ages? He eats out every night and you’d think he loves it. But, eating out gets old. There’s just something about having a meal that’s been cooked for a limited number of people by someone who loves you. And another thing that’s wonderful about learning how to cook is being able to share the cooking tradition with your children, passing down a recipe or sharing a secret recipe at a holiday get-together. There’s also nothing like coming home after a long day and entering a home that has the familiar smell of your favorite pot roast just waiting to be eaten, or waking up on a Sunday morning and filling your home with the aroma of fresh bread or cookies. It’s just special.
Turning leftovers into another meal:
In the same genre, but wow, people who can do this well are kitchen magicians. My Mamagrand (grandmother) is an example. One night we’re having Mongo soup. The next afternoon we’re having Mongo patties. The best part is when we don’t even realize we’re eating leftovers. It’s a miracle!
I had to learn how to do this when I worked as a cook for a Natural Health Clinic.I don’t think I’m that great at it, but I had to manage. I made lunches every day and didn’t want to waste leftovers.
One day we’d have black beans and rice. The next day we’d have black bean wraps. If we had leftover plain spaghetti from one meal, we’d have chicken Lo mein the next. If we had leftover avocado from a salad, we’d have guacamole and chips. I remember we had a party and had so many hors d’oeuvres of square cheese and chips left. I decided we’d have chicken nachos the next day. Thanksgiving turkey became turkey tacos for lunch. Seriously, most things can be turned into a sandwich, a taco or burrito, a wrap, or a fried patty.
Leftover steak for dinner? Chop it up in thin strips, saute it with bell peppers and mushrooms. Grill some onions. Toast some french bread. Top it off with provolone cheese and you got a philly cheese steak for lunch. Tada!
It becomes kind of fun actually. Like a game. It’s you versus the leftover dish. Who’s going to win? The leftover wins if it’s eaten the same and not appreciated or gets thown in the trash. You win if you manage to create a new dish! Here’s a leftover website tool you can even use! Leftover Chef
(I’m speaking to women here, but of course men can learn this skill too!)If you learn to cut hair and you cut your husband and kid’s hair, you will save A LOT of money. Before I started cutting my mom’s hair and my little brother’s hair, they would get their hair cut at an average of once every month at about 10$ a haircut.
Let’s say you have two boys and a husband. You’d save around $360 a year if you cut their hair.
Not counting your husband, if you paid for your sons’ haircuts until they were 18 years old, you’d save $4320!
This is all without considering the gas and time also involved. You can learn how to cut men’s hair. It’s pretty easy. I actually learned it through trial and error! (My poor brothers!) I recommend youtubing it or looking at a manual instead:)
Besides God of course, and the principle that families who pray together stay together, I would say the number one reason why I’m close to my family is because of physical affection. I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t know how to massage because I grew up with parents who massaged my brothers and I from birth.
We’d get massages to help us fall asleep.
We’d get massages when we woke up. (those are the best!)
We’d get massages when we were injured or fatigued from sports or work.
We’d get massages when we were sick in bed.
We’d get massages when we had headaches.
We’d even get hand massages during church.
I remember several times when my mom actually massaged me until I fell asleep. I remember when I was a waitress as a teenager, she’d wait up after my closing shift and massage my tired legs after my long day.(and hers) Even now, when one of us wants a favor done on the computer–looking up an airline fare or googling some information, the person who’s doing the favor will automatically say, “sure, massage,” and the recipient will gladly oblige to trade a quick backrub for some useful information!
Now, before you think we were the only ones benefiting, let’s just say that my parents are very clever, wise folks. The gift of massage that they gave us was a gift to themselves as well! Now my mom gets a massage from me three or four times a week. Basically, you can teach your kids massage so they know how to massage you in the future! It’s a give and take. Win-win. When I need it, there’s always someone in my house who knows how to give it. When someone else needs it, they know they can rely on at least one person being available to provide it. Let me just tell you.
We are a family addicted to massage.
We’ll take it over any pain medications.
Any other stress management technique.
And it’s proven that touch is healing. It’s beneficial to the giver and the person receiving it. Learning how to massage and teaching your family members is one of the best things you can do for them because I believe touch encourages openness, vulnerability, communication and authenticity.
We’ve never been the kind of family who has elephants in the room, and I think it’s directly related to the fact that we so freely exchange physical affection. My mom will hug me in the hallway for more than a couple of seconds. She always says, “Where’s my 5 minute hug?” Massage is healing. Hugs are healing. My mom’s massaging hands are her legacy, one of the best, if not the best gift she’s given me. You can leave that legacy for your kids and start learning now!
On the same note, if you’re a believer in natural, holistic health, you may have heard about Reflexology. In short, it’s a foot massage, hand massage or ear massage that helps the entire body. There are points on the feet that correlate to organs and parts of the body. I known it sounds like a lot of quackery to some people, but I just know from experience that it works.
Reflexology can help a painful lower back when your lower back is to sore to receive direct massage.
Pressure points on the ear can calm a hyper child or a crying baby.
Reflexology can help alleviate pms symptoms, headaches, and digestive problems.
It can even give you energy when you hit your afternoon slump.
I encourage you to try it out. You can find a certified Refloxologist in your area or look at charts online. Forget about science as proof. Let experience be the proof. It works!
Home Remedies like Cupping and Ear candling:
Again this has to do with holistic health. These practices aren’t known by the general public. Some of them are controversial, but I encourage you to do some research and come up with your own conclusions. A friend of mine just sent me a controversial article about the risks of Ear Candling so I won’t advocate that right now. I will advocate Cupping. It’s weird. It looks scary. But it works! I learned how to do this at the Natural Health Clinic I used to work at. It’s great for releasing the knots in your back. You know, those stubborn knots in the scapula area where your stress piles up? I’ve also used it when I strained a muscle on my upper chest and when a friend pulled a muscle on the back of is upper thigh. In both cases, we experienced immediate relief from the injury or pain. I know I advocated massaging and I still do, but for immediate and precise relief from those stubborn back knots, cupping is The. Way. To. Go. I taught my former roommate in Dallas and now, every time we see each other we do each other’s backs. It’s just amazing how much your back loosens up after just one session. Besides helping with muscle tension, it also has a number of other benefits. You can google the benefits and find out more information online. Mind you, it does leave bruises. Big, gigantic, clown-sized, circular bruises, but it goes away in a couple weeks. Believe me, it’s worth it. You could even tell your boss you have clown measles and get off from work! (so kidding. although, she would believe you if she saw them!)
I have some other ideas like learning how to grow your own vegetables and learning how to sew. My mom has a green thumb. I just haven’t gotten around to learning how she does it. Can you add some skills you’ve learned that will benefit your family in the future, or some that you want to learn?