Passover is literally the most hectic and intense season for Jewish moms and dads. With all the holiday prep, it’s important to keep a positive, non-neurotic vibe around the house. Your kids’ memories can either be filled with images of a crazed complaining mommy or a happy holiday mommy. Inspired by this week’s motivational theme (see #5) I’m vowing to keep things more relaxed this Passover.
1. BREATHE. Ok, I know you’re thinking that this is the silliest tip ever, but it really, really works. Especially when your cousin calls and you have to add an extra two place settings, you still need to clean the car, and will now have to roll more matzo balls, while doing the math of how much meat per person based on the brisket you’ve already prepped, braised and frozen cause you read this article, and, and, and...
And, breathe. A couple of big ones should do the trick. Clear your head. Do a yoga pose. Make a cup of tea. Whatever makes you calm. Do it. Then tackle it one thing at a time.
Now that you’ve taken a deep breath...
2. GO OLD SCHOOL--write it down on paper. Siri has totally ruined me. I just tell her what I need to do and she regurgitates it back to me when it’s time. I never see the big picture, just bits here and there. Write down a list of everything you need to do--from cleaning out backpacks to making a shopping list. Make it big; hang it in a conspicuous place.
Now, it's time to eat live frogs (not literally; that’s not kosher). Which means you start with the biggest, scariest thing on your list first (like cleaning!). Perfect for people who like to procrastinate. Or who have a lot of big stuff to do (like you!)
3. MAKE CLEANING A FAMILY AFFAIR. I say this every year, but this year I mean it. Our goal as parents is to instill and inspire a love for Jewish holidays and traditions within our children. The best way is to get them involved (even the little ones!) in every aspect of holiday prep.
Make cleaning time fun. Tell jokes. Hide something for the kids to find while cleaning (seriously, competition brings out the best in my kids). Play music. Cleaning is important, and so is having fun, especially when your kids are involved.
And because I’m cleaning with little ones, I definitely want to use something that disinfects but doesn’t leave behind any stinky fumes or harmful residues, like PURELL® Multi Surface Disinfectant (from the same company that makes my travel-must-have hand sanitizer). It's approved for food contact surfaces, with no rinsing required. Plus it not only kills germs quickly, but totally makes my whole home sparkling clean. And it’s easy to relax when you’re house is clean (right? LOL!).
4. MAKE AHEAD & FREEZE. I earned my “Queen of Quick and Kosher” title because I learned early on in my marriage to cook for a few hours on Sunday so I wouldn’t have to spend an hour or more in the kitchen every night. (I was doing meal prep before it was cool.) But Passover meal prep is a whole other animal, so I make sure I turn my kitchen over a couple of weeks before so I can make almost everything ahead of time. And a day or two before I can just reheat, prep salads and fruit, and really focus on my guests and family.
5. PERFECTION IS NOT A GOAL. Easy to say, right? I tell myself this nearly every day. It’s become my new mantra. And I’m totally working on it. Passover isn’t about making the perfect potato kugel or having the perfect place settings. Make Passover about friends, family and memories to last a lifetime. The kids fall in love with the holidays when they see you loving the holidays. Perfectionism keeps you from focusing on the joy that’s inherent in every step. And remember, each step you take that gets you closer to that Seder table. Don’t be a slave to the cooking and cleaning, and Passover perfectionism - slavery is so yesterday.
You got this moms and dads. It’s go time!