Thursday, April 18, 2024

Routines, Habits, Stability and Value


I’m officially an empty nester now. Sonny has moved out to take a job close to Caren and Jake and has taken a room at their house. I’m on my own, well kind of on my own. I’m living with my parents (does that mean they are no longer empty nesters?) and my days get to revolve around the routine of their home. I’m reintroducing myself with Mom’s habit of meal spacing. Mom’s routine revolves around fixing food for her family; around breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner; around gathering the family together. I know being here disrupts the routines and habits my parents have developed to create stability and value for their lives. And Sonny is experiencing the same thing. Moving in with Jake and Caren he’s learning house rules; fitting into new routines. Sonny will be under Jake’s roof and Jake’s rules, subject to Jake’s routines, habits, and values. Jake has a habit of making breakfast every morning. In the evening after the rest of us are in our bedrooms Jake makes his rounds to lock the doors then he does some cleaning. Before heading to bed Jake prepares the kitchen so come morning the counter, the sink, the stove is clean and ready for food preparation. Workdays he is gone before the rest of us are up, but plates of breakfast are waiting for us on the counter. Jake’s routine includes sleep. I was there when he told Sonny, “Sonny, don’t do laundry after 10 p.m. The dryer keeps me up and I need my sleep.”

Sonny nodded and grinned, “OK Jake. No problem, I’ll get my laundry done before 10.”

No back talk; no attitude; no excuses; no hiding behind mom. My son didn’t even look in my direction. I was proud. We’ve done a good job. My son is on his way to seek a new horizon.

Watching Sonny, I’m thankful for the Jake and Carens (the Ray and Dawns, the Stan & Kirstens, the Paul & Melindas, the Kevin & Sharons) who have worked (and still work) hard so there is a space in the community for young people willing to put in a day’s work for a day’s wage. I know it is due to the ability of the people who have routines; create stability; develop habits and build value that make horizons old and new possible. Sonny is heading towards new horizons and I’m heading towards old horizons. My old horizons have me reintroducing myself to Mom’s routines and meal spacing. I’m renewing old routines; recreating stability with old habits and making myself valuable by helping make, serve and, most importantly, cleaning up the meals so the kitchen will be prepped and ready for Mom to make breakfast for Dad in the morning.

Mom’s Method of Meal Spacing

Up at 6 or 7a.m.

Breakfast at 7or 8.a.m.

Snack at 10 a.m.

Lunch at 12:00

Snack at 3 p.m.

Dinner at 5 or 6 p.m

If at 5 p.m., snack at 7 p.m.

If at 6 p.m.’ dessert at 7 p.m.

To bed at 8 p.m. for younger kids

To bed at 9 p.m. for more mature kids

To bed at 10 p.m. for parents (we need an hour of peace before bedtime).

In 2000 Michele Priddy left the work force to become a stay-at-home mother and wife. Being a one-income family in today’s society meant she had to learn to budget quickly. Food became a priority early because she wanted the children to have the best nutrition, she could offer them even on a budget. She also taught cooking classes on how to stretch the food dollar with simple ingredients at various churches in her community. Michelle has put her kitchen strategies and recipes in booklets, her church newsletter and in her hometown newspaper, The Goldendale Sentinel. We hope you will enjoy her strategies, stories, and recipes. You can contact the Leavenworth Echo at or 509-548-5286 if you have any questions or comments for Michelle.



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