We had a Twitter thread going on about tiny, petty things our spouses do to make us hate them and I realized I don’t like being touched or talk to (or even looked at) while I’m eating alone.
Yesterday my husband touched me, in a perfectly friendly, even kind way, while I was eating my peanut butter cereal. It burned like hot acid on a hot day!
I realized it’s because breakfast is one of my micro vacations of the day and I couldn’t stand having my two-minute vacation, especially one where I’m eating something crunchy and sweet, interrupted. Here are my other tiny vacations these days:
Any morning time I’m awake and have hot coffee and nobody else is awake.
Right after a shower when my head is under a towel and I can’t hear anything and it’s dark under there and nobody can find me.
Listening to music/podcasts during laundry/dishes time. If someone suddenly comes in and talks to me, I realize I’m back to doing a chore so I’m pissed about having my audio flow interrupted and also being red-pilled against my wishes.
Lunch by myself. It’s like breakfast but I catch up on my reading so when that doesn’t work out I’m wholly disconnected from the entire world.
When I’m exercising, and I can yell things like “If you can’t get him back in the kitchen, make sure he’s not eating anything you care about!” or “Get yourself an ice pack!” or “My goal is to finish this without stopping so you figure it out!”
Anytime I’m driving by myself, anywhere, as long as it’s a distance close enough that my back doesn’t start to hurt.
I hope you enjoyed this issue of Evil Witches, a newsletter for people who happen to be mothers whose kids are at home all week with nonserious but lingering colds, if not literally, then spiritually. Feel free to forward this around but please do encourage your pals or social media buddies to sign up. If you have any questions, feedback, or suggestions you can reply right to this email. You can follow us on Instagram here and talk to other witches on Twitter, too. Some upcoming topics include strategies for allowing your screen-crazy tween to have some independence online without letting them go hog wild, plus tips on career advancement during a pandemic. LMK if you have any questions, thoughts, suggestions, and so on and where you take your tiny vacations.
I’m not going to address hitting a pandemic/winter wall because it feels like the wall is always two inches away when it’s not actually touching you. So let’s just talk about some tiny ways witches are making life a little more tolerable at home. Of course sometimes I worry I write too much about making life easier at home but all my content about how to keep kids entertained on a 9-hour flight to Europe or how to know whether your kids are doing too many extracurriculars is on the back burner.
Anyway, I saw a witch post this question on social:
“What are dumb, easy little tricks or hacks that make things even a tiny bit easier?”
Here are some answers from far and wide. Take a trick, leave a trick—in comments!
“The kids are playing outside a lot in the snow but when they come inside there’s a ton of wet, messy, snowy gear. I used to put a drying rack by the door but then it was a pain to have a bulky piece with all their shit on it. Now I keep some of those big IKEA bags by the back door and tell them to take off their snow gear, put it in the bag and put it all in the dryer. And they do!”
”On the first day of a season, I do the following: 1. Change out everyone's toothbrushes for new ones. 2. Change out everyone's shower loofah. (I realize these are bad for the environment but it is helping in the ‘getting the kids to wash themselves’ department so I make an eco-related org donation this day to offset.) 3. Check smoke detectors.”
“I am stupid-proud of our puzzle storage system, since every original box is torn open with gusto whenever we puzzle. They are a bunch of clear acrylic interlocking boxes with handle-locks. We put the puzzle pieces in each and tape the picture to the top. Now they stack very nicely and are easy for little hands to pull out/put away, as well as travels well. We got different sizes for various puzzles and all the Melissa and Doug stuff that inexplicably don’t come lids or containers for the 17-piece toys. We also use them for the various figurines. Basically, any toy that can be reboxed into these things makes my house and mental space clearer.”
“I have introduced ‘15 thing pickup’ with great success as long as I don't overuse it. Basically instead of ‘Clean your room’ I yell ‘15 thing pickup in the ____’ and everyone races to put away 15 things in whatever room(s) I call. Reward can be something little (like getting to choose the flavor of the granola bar for snack first, or picking the dinnertime game) or something bigger like a lollipop or other candy (the other kid gets something as well, just not the choice of which of the two prizes on offer). They never know what it will be, so they keep trying to ‘win.’ The ‘things’ have to be put away in their proper place, not just stashed somewhere I can't see. The husband's job is to play along with the ADD child and exclaim loudly ‘Oh, I'm going to put away this one; I'm going to win’ whenever she loses focus and he gets to not die as a reward.”
“(1) Fake plants. I have two nice windowsill plants that GREW to be too big for the windowsill! I don't even know how. Anyway, I bought some very nice fake plants and am extremely pleased. Bought & can vouch.
(2) We keep multiple fully-charged chargers at the front door to grab on the way out. Game-changer.
(3) Airpods. I had my doubts but they have been a true game-changer. Just being able to move around untethered is so nice.
“I used to cover half-used cans of tomato paste and stick them in the fridge until they got rusty and moldy which is a waste of space and food. I realized that you can just spoon off tablespoons of tomato paste onto a plate, freeze it, and then stick them in a plastic bag to use when you need them.”
“INDIVIDUALLY-CUT parchment paper. Oh, the laziness. I love it.”
“I am not a disgusting person, I swear: I do swab my ears on the regular (don't @ me) but my AirPods still get waxy. I pressed some Fun-Tak into the earbuds to pull out most of the wax and a toothpick to carefully poke out some of the remaining crumbs and now they no longer repulse me.”
“I’ve always been someone who makes do with a small selection of cutting knives since I was told you don’t need more than a few, but now I make my own rules and got one on sale at Crate and Barrel. It took me too long to remember am an adult who can just buy herself a nice new knife rather than wait for my husband to die so I can register for one for my second wedding. Having an extra 7” knife on-hand rather than rewashing the same ‘good’ one because I happened to cut meat or something feels luxurious. Sadly.”
A bunch of baskets and hooks ideas—
“Three dollar store baskets. At the end of the day while kids are brushing their teeth, I go around the house and dump all the crap they left laying around all day into separate baskets and each of the three humans that lives with me must put their basket away before going to bed. That way I do not have to look at everyone’s crap, and they do not wander around confused about what I mean when I say clean up’” The youngest sometimes gets to finish hers in the morning.”
“I keep a mesh lingerie bag hooked on the laundry door for used masks. Then the bag is zipped and thrown in with whatever wash load once there’s a few masks in there. Clean masks are in a basket by the side door.”
”I have one of those big black mats by the back door like they have in the stores in the winter. The kids know to ‘stay on the black’ till they are out of all their wet crap. Then I hang it up on 3M removable hooks in the unused shower to dry. (Sadly lot of our stuff can’t go in the dryer easily because it would melt in our 1950’s original to the house heat blaster dryer.)”
I hope you enjoyed this issue of Evil Witches, a newsletter for people who happen to be mothers. Feel free to forward this around but please do encourage your pals or social media buddies to sign up. If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions you can reply right to this email. You can follow us on Instagram here and talk to other witches on Twitter, too. An upcoming topic I’m covering is how to give older kids more independence when they also happen have a tendency to refer to get a little screen-obsessed. Has anything worked for you in terms of adjusting your perspective or strategies? LMK.