A few days ago, someone asked me why I'm always on the hunt for quick and simple recipes, and although I already answered in the comments, I would like to dedicate some time right now to talk about simplicity.
It's not only about food; I'm seeking to simplify in many areas of life and homemaking. It means getting rid of various knick-knacks I don't need, so I have less to dust and put into place, and giving away items of clothing we don't use, to free up space in the closet. It means buying and wearing mainly clothes which will be sturdy and easy to care for. It means trying to minimize time-consuming pursuits. It means, even, remaining in touch only with a limited number of people who bring peace and joy into my life, so I won't have to spare the time and energy to deal with needless anxiety and stress.
Time and energy. Two limited, precious resources we must carefully delegate, taking our needs and the needs of our loved ones into consideration. It would be lovely, of course, to have lots of time for everything. I would love to have whole days free to clean and organize now, before Pesach. I would love to have several hours straight to spend in the kitchen and cook. But the life of a wife and mother is busy, and the needs of the our loved ones, and our domestic duties, are numerous, and must be attended throughout each day.
So in practice, the way it works for me and my family, every day I have time to do a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Some laundry, some cleaning, some cooking, some ironing. Some long-term projects and some everyday tasks, such as doing the dishes and making the beds. There is also a little one I don't want to brush aside even on the busiest of days. So there is usually a walk in the fresh air and sunshine, games and stories and songs, and of course, bath time.
However, simple doesn't have to mean boring and unsatisfying. A simple meal can be a true feast. How about oven-baked fish and some baby potatoes and carrots, roast whole in the oven? Or a pot of soup simmering on the stove? This way, baking or cooking will take time, but as soon as you put your dinner in the oven or on the stove, you are free to go on and do other things, perhaps occasionally checking on what is going on in the kitchen.
Above: a simple and delicious meal - rice with fish and stir-fried veggies.
Hard work is good, important and satisfying, but when we try to cram too much into our days, we might lose that sweet relaxed feeling we can otherwise convey to our children as being mothers at home. By simplifying and streamlining and becoming more efficiency, we free up time. You can never have too much time on your hands when you have little ones by your side throughout each day.