The 40 Hour Work Week Challenge

TinyHands in the Kitchen

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. A lot of time. I think fully half of my personal Facebook posts are food related. One of my friends recently commented, “Do you ever get out of the kitchen?” To which I replied, “Sometimes I go to the bathroom!” I was joking. Kind of.

Being a homemaker is my full time job. An apron is my uniform. My job responsibilities include cooking food from scratch, keeping up the house, doing laundry, and taking care of my kids and my animals. In addition to my full time job, I am also currently working on a Masters of Arts in Teaching at Concordia University here in Portland. This means that some day, my full time job is going to be outside my home! How will we survive!? Eat packaged crap? Wallow in our filth? Get rid of my chickens?!

No, no, and no! We can’t survive like that. But we’re going to have to figure out how. To this end, I’m taking on the 40 Hour Work Week Challenge beginning Sunday, June 19, and going through Saturday, June 25. The rules of the challenge are simple:

  1. I will prepare three meals and one snack for my family per day.
  2. Monday through Friday, I can only cook food for our family from 4:30 pm to 7:00 am. This means no chopping, no starting soaks, no starting ferments, and certainly no using the oven.
  3. Saturday and Sunday are free days – the kitchen is open to me all day and night.
  4. I may not clean up the house, aside from my own mess, during the time I would be working (M – F, 7 am – 4:30 pm). No doing laundry, no sweeping, no wiping. (This is the hard part!)
  5. Other members of the household are allowed to cook food for themselves at any time, but I may not partake of this food.
  6. I will post every day, sharing how the day went, what state the house is in, and whether or not we’ve starved to death yet.

I think with a very clear plan and some delegation, we’ll be able to make it work. I’m looking forward to this challenge. Wish me luck!

What are your biggest challenges and best tips for balancing your work and home cooking?

This post is part of The Healthy Home Economist’s Monday Mania.

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9 comments to The 40 Hour Work Week Challenge

  • That’s my favorite apron! Unfortunately, the material is a little too thin and I need to make myself a new one. I’m going to write a post on living in an apron after this whole 40 Hour Work Week business is over.

  • rebecca

    can you come to other people’s houses and cook and clean instead during those hrs?? if so, you are welcome here! LoL

  • Jennifer

    You can totally do it. I used to be a full-time working single mom and we almost always had food cooked. I would take one weekend a month to cook a bunch of soups, applesauce, chop some veggies, roast a chicken and make and a few meals. This way there way almost always something on hand. TinyHands + Slow Cooker = Magic

  • It’s 100% doable. How do I know? I’ve been doing it for 7+ years working between 50-90 hrs per week! It kicked in to high gear in April 2010 when my husband was laid off and cooking from scratch became pretty much my ONLY option.

  • OMG, this so cracks me up! I teach at a community college and have a very flexible schedule and no kids or animals, and still I get very lazy during the semester and have a hard time cooking. We don’t go out because we’ve been on a Candida diet for almost a year, but we eat a lot of hamburgers!!!

    My challenge this summer is to come up with new recipes, which I’m putting in a blog, so that things go easier in the fall. Of course, it’s really hard to find Candida recipes!

    Anyway, I think the best way to manage a job and cooking for people is preparation (which I always forget to do) and a lot of different recipes on hand.

    Good luck with this!!!

  • Sharon

    We do this too — my partner and I both work 40 hours/week but are trying hard to maintain our homesteader lifestyle as much as possible. 🙂 We do a 2-week meal plan, and cook most things from scratch.

    But, we still rely on packaged snacks too much, and usually wind up with a few days where we’re unprepared for some meal (usually breakfast or lunch). Oh, and our house is a mess. So I’m really looking forward to reading about your experience and any tips you come up with. Already I’m thinking a crockpot would make things easier.

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