Sometimes, a solution is as simple as a lock.
But, a lock requires a handle. And a handle requires a door.
And this was my problem. A door-less, handle-less, lock-less space.
Our family lives life in the kitchen. It’s the center of our house and the hub of our lives.
Packing lunches, emptying lunches, prepping meals, eating meals, cleaning up meals.
It’s where the groceries land, where the calendar resides, where the mail drops, where the school bags empty.
It’s where the convos happen, where the questions are asked, where the music gets played.
It’s where you find us.
As convenient as it is, the kitchen – the center, the hub – is a horrible place for a pantry. Instant access to all things snacky, carby and sugary.
[Now, you can put your mom-judgment right back in your pocket. Yes, we could just keep those simple-carb, gluten-stuffed, crazy-makers out of our house. But, someone’s gotta give those healthy moms (who actually do yoga in their yoga pants) something to feel superior about.]
But, contrary to where any mom-judgments may have landed, it’s not just anything-goes around here. We have limits and rules to go with our grub.
It’s just that nobody follows them.
So, when the pantry didn’t have a door, it was backstage, all-access, unlimited snack-ness. Not a minute would pass without some little-legged mister or miss sauntering by with a half-eaten bag of baked lays, fruit snacks, go-squeeze or Snackwells.
Then, after months on the edge of insanity, came doors!
Finally! Out of sight, out of mind.
Well, for a day.
Then, those little minds ‘membered what was behind Door Number One. And out came the goodies once again.
This door needed a lock (or kids with internal restraint, but, well, that ship had sailed.)
Unfortunately, the door that’d gone in had one of those fancy lever handles. Convenient. Ergonomic. Easy on the wrists.
But, also, easy for the kids.
I was at my wit’s end with the littles and their all-you-can-eat snack buffet. So, off to Lowes I went (yes, back to Aisle 17…). It was time to get a (literal) handle on this situation.
On went the new knob and then on went the childproof cover. Pantry closed. Authorized Personnel Only.
It was a glorious turn of events for me. Mom for the win.
When it comes to personal discipline, I’m about as undisciplined as they come.
Not because I don’t have goals or am entirely irresponsible. I just do not do the discipline thing well.
I can commit in the morning that tonight, I will go to bed on time. I can set personalized “Night-Amy, go to bed! Love, Morning-Amy” alarms on my phone. But, come 10:30, I can’t find one convincing reason to turn in for the night.
I downloaded a calorie-counting app with every intention of tracking what I eat and by the first breakfast, I’d already bailed on logging.
I’ve set goals and false deadlines for hobby projects, hoping to keep me on track for things I mean to finish. Sadly, I spend more time setting goals than following through on them.
I’ve got my own Murphy’s Law for goals: once I set them, I’m guaranteed to go off track. I joined Zumba and the day after I purchased the accessory weights, I dropped the class. I went to a gym regularly on a drop-in basis. Once I paid for the year up front, I stopped going altogether. I joined a running group and after a week, got the flu and wound up in the eat-pizza-and-cheer-them-on group.
I make beautiful schedules like these so I will have written proof of the routines we will not be carrying out.
I can make myself sticker charts and sticky notes and stick-to-it plans. I can make lists, commitments, resolves and action steps. But, if the desires are strong enough, I won’t play even by my own rules.
Sometimes I need a door. A door with a handle. A handle with a lock.
So, I’m working on want-proofing my life. Not just making good habits easy and bad habits hard, but putting proper barriers in place. For when that’s what it takes. I can want the results with all my heart and I can have every good intention to get there. But, too often, my in-the-moment nature throws good-intention to the wind.
I need to set myself up for success.
For me, a goal, a belief, a value, a hope or a routine does not an action make.
I need immediate rewards and consequences to keep me focused. I need people to drag me to where I need to go. I need short-term reminders to keep the long-term perspective. I need lights, computers, apps and alarms to go off when I need to turn off. I need to work within a realistic system that is tailor-made for who I am and what I’m shooting for.
Sometimes, I just need a door, a handle and a lock to keep me out of what’s not for right now and into what is.