Every time you turn on the tv, someone tells you how they've got a product or service or secret to save you time. There's the appliance ads that claim you'll accomplish even more with their premium line of washers, dryers, ranges or whatever else. There's the chemical cleaning product ads that claim to make cleaning even easier by eliminating scrubbing, cutting through all kinds of grime and wiping out germs.
Food is no exception. The celebrity chefs all promise quick meals with fast prep time, easy steps and flawless results - all to save you time. Plus, there's all kinds of pre-prepared, pre-packaged meals straight from freezer to oven or microwave and then to your table in less than an hour. Or if you can't wait even an hour, there's every kind of fast food and dining-out options just a few minutes drive from your back door.
But why is everyone trying to save us time and what are we supposedly doing with all this time we're saving?
Parents are running the kids to soccer, dance, baseball, band and drama club. Singles are focusing more time on careers, networking, meeting up for drinks, hitting the gym, relaxing on a beach. Kids are struggling to complete all their homework, cramming in extra-curricular activities and still searching for game/movie time. And somewhere in all this, we're trying to find time for important stuff like relationships with friends, family, partners and coworkers. Right?
But I think all this hype on saving us time by giving us faster appliances, better cleaning chemicals and easier recipes is completely missing the point in the rush to sell us on a product (or convince us to spend time watching a program). Instead of trying to make more time for the "fun stuff" or the "important stuff", it's time to re-evaluate priorities and get focused on what's really important - relationships.
I'm not suggesting homework, extra-curriculars, careers and vacations aren't important - but they're not the most important part of life and they shouldn't take priority. All the stuff we're trying to get done faster - cooking, cleaning, finances, chores, etc - is the very stuff we should be spending more time on together with the people important to us.
Sound backwards? Well, just think about it for a moment. Rather than rushing to throw a frozen lasagna into the microwave and rushing to feed the kids before rushing them off to work on homework so that maybe they will have a little time to spend playing games or watching tv, instead involve the kids in creating a meal together. It's the perfect time to find out about their day and create a healthier meal together.
Same thing goes for chores. Instead of rushing through chores with toxic chemicals that promise fast results, take the time to clean with your kids using non-toxic cleaning products and a little elbow grease - it's better for you, your kids and the planet.
If you think it all sounds "good in theory" but impractical, give me a chance to prove your wrong. I'll share what works for me in the kitchen (and other parts of my life) and let you judge for yourself. You might find yourself re-evaluating your own priorities...