Too Much on My Plate & Our DIY Restaurant

Posted on Posted in Life Lessons, Play-Based Learning Activities
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My life has done a bit of a 180 as of late. I went from being the epitome of a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM) – basically never going anywhere without my kids – to being out of the home every. single. day. of the week. When I started Yoga Teacher Training (YTT), other opportunities presented themselves as well. Before having kids, my regular life included work, university classes, yoga, running, and volunteering. I really didn’t (and still don’t) like the idea of idling. When the opportunities to volunteer at a yoga studio and tutor more frequently presented themselves, I was excited to get back to having a schedule more like my former-self would have had. I have always loved feeling like I’m accomplishing a lot. With commute time, I would be out of the home 30 hours a week. I was excited to work on myself, while continuing to be home the majority of the time.
YTT has been nothing short of amazing. Aside from gettin back into shape, delving into discipline I adore, and meeting some pretty fantastic people, there have been these little nuggets of knowledge that have incredibly beneficial applications to life. One of the concepts we learned, and I have already discussed in a previous post is that of Aparigraha. It literally translates to the English term ‘non-grasping’. This principle urges un-grasping because there are things we hold on to mistakenly thinking we need them. However, holding on to them so fiercely will ultimately lead to our demise. Examples given included grasping onto an unhealthy relationship; moving from one romantic relationship to another never letting go to be single long enough to truly heal; having and being overcome by material possessions; being way too preoccupied with social media to the point it is taking away from actual life; and, creating a schedule, or life that is so busy that you lose sight of purpose. There are definitely a few of these examples that apply to me. When this lecture in our YTT came, I was already on the verge of purging our stuff, which you can read about here. I will leave a post about my social media diet to another day. At the time of my lecture, I had already started diminishing my time spent on those outlets. What I hadn’t even acknowledged yet was my schedule.


Though I enjoy all aspects of the commitments I have outside of the home, I find it incredibly hard to leave my kids. Some days, I’m only out of the house for about an hour. Nevertheless, as it stands right now, I have a commitment that takes me out of the home on a daily basis. Because of this, I constantly feel like I’m leaving. As each day goes by, I find it harder to leave them. Not wanting to renege on any commitment, I found myself praying that something would give and I would get clarity of what to let go of.
On Tuesday, I woke to find out my baby-sitter was sick and couldn’t take care of my kids. Wow. Though I REALLY didn’t want to call in (baby-sitter is) sick, I was so grateful for the opportunity to just be with my little ones. Whenever my dad is asked what he is grateful for, without fail he starts with, “I’m grateful for the gift of this day…”. This phrase kept replaying in my head. I was so grateful for the gift of that day. Our home was a disastrous mess (as it all too often is). However, I let the mess sit, and I just basked in whatever given thing my toddlers wanted to do. We played. We read. We baked cookies (and my daughter ate more cookie dough than I’m willing to admit).


They napped at separate times, giving me one-on-one time with each. As the afternoon unfolded, we played some more, read some more, and finally, I turned on the tv to start dinner. When my husband called me to say he was running late, and likely would not be home in time for me to make tutoring, I, again, felt momentary guilt for having to cancel. But again, I was grateful that I could continue my day of concentrated kid-time. I took my next queue from the show my kids were watching, and decided dinner would be held in our own DIY restaurant. (The synopsis of the episode is Calliou’s parents are going for dinner. He wants to go too. His baby-sitter suggests they play “restaurant”. Caillou loves it!)

Our DIY Restaurant

What we Used
  • Candles
  • Lighter
  • Piece of paper (as menu and for me to take their order)
  • An inordinate amount of references to being in a restaurant


What we did

I lit the candles, and led my two little ones from the kitchen into the “restaurant,” as a hostess (granted a hostess holding her patrons’ hands) would do. I sat my guests down at our dinner table and pointed out the candlelight. My patrons then insisted on blowing out the candles more times than I can count, until such time as Management had to say, “All done”. I then took their drink order, and reminded my exuberant customers that at a restaurant, we say, “Juice please“. Then, I read off the menu which containing only what I had already made. I served my table, and we “cheers”ed one another until such point as Management, yet again, had to say, “All done”. The guest in seat two, as we would refer to her in the restaurant industry, told me repeatedly, the food was “deee-ish-ous”. While, Seat One licked his plate clean. In my real-life almost decade in the service industry, I had had countless customers suggest they wanted to do this, but this was my first time actually seeing it done! It was quite something!

Suffice it to say, this surprise day off was very much needed. I did know in my heart if hearts, it is a fallacy to think that being busy is admirable or something to maintain. Having a chalked full schedule may make me feel purposeful because there are a lot of reminders in my phone and a lot of ink on my calendar. In truth, superfluous to-dos take away from my real purpose and what’s really important in life. I still have some wiping of the proverbial slate to do. But man, am I ever grateful for the gift of each day I am present with my kids.

How do you maintain focus on what’s important? I would love to hear your tips and tricks!

xo Alana

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19 thoughts on “Too Much on My Plate & Our DIY Restaurant

  1. Wow! You’re a busy mama! I’m at home with the kids everyday and I’m overwhelmed! I’m glad you were given the day to just enjoy with the kids and do some extra fun activities with them. The restaurant idea sounds like so much fun! I love this post because it’s a nice reminder to focus and do fun things with the kids. Rather than just get through the day sometimes (in my case.)

    1. I think being at home with the kids is more overwhelming. The hard part about being out of the home is missing them, and feeling like my time with them is constantly fragmented. Thanks for your thoughtful commentary! The restaurant is fun! Definitely worth a try 🙂

  2. Oh Alana I love this so much!!! I love the concept of un-grasping, such a beautiful and necessary reminder. And I LOVE the diy restaurant idea. Adorable!!! You’re doing amazing things and your kids are lucky to have you. As is your husband. I’m so glad you got to spend extra quality time with your kids and are finding the balance for yourself, even if it was forced. Beautiful post!

    1. Thank you so, so much!!! I am definitely learning as I go, but the idea of letting go of that which does not serve us is sooo important (though easier said than done)! Very grateful for your kind words!

  3. Lately, I’m happy when my daughter has a day off from school because life is much calmer. I hate having too much on my schedule. You’re such a fun mama. I love that restaurant idea.

    1. Thank you, Melissa! It’s true, any time there is an unexpected break it’s so nice to just enjoy our kids. It does make life calmer for sure!

  4. Congrats on your yoga position. That’s awesome! It sounds like you had such a nice day home with your kids though. I absolutely love your idea. I’m sure the kids loved that. I’m definitely stealing that idea with my son- he loves to eat! Love this post!

  5. It sounds like you had a wonderful day off! Sometimes, it’s so great just to slow down and appreciate the little things in life. 🙂

  6. I love the way you seized the day and turned it into something special. I also use “un-grasping” in my work although we call it something else. it is amazing how freeing it is to realize that you may want something but you don’t always need it.

  7. I am constantly trying to teach my family (and myself) to un-grasp. So glad you took the time to relish that baby-sitter sick day. Kids grow too fast, so it’s important to grasp onto the time we have together.

  8. I always feel like this.. so if you figure out a way to balance it… let me know!! 🙂 It sounds like you have been making the most of your time with your babies though!

    1. I had hoped YOU would have all the insight on how to figure out the balance! Sigh. It’s not easy. Thanks for the comment! Xo

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