Avoid Frazzled Fridays: Bring in Shabbos Like a Queen
By Yehudit Garmaise
If you feel more frazzled than calm come 4:20pm on Fridays, here are some tips so that you can light your candles early on winter Shabboses with simcha and serenity.
First, throughout the week, cooks need to plan ahead, while staying honest with themselves about what works best for them.
While some hearty souls have the energy to stay up late Thursday night to get all their cooking done, many others would rather wake up early Friday morning and have some coffee before launching into chopping onions and peeling potatoes.
No matter when you like to cook, here are some tips that can help us all bring in Shabbos with serenity that will radiate to everyone in our families, iyH.
• Get your shopping done early: On Wednesdays, think about generally what you want to make so that you can make a list to get everything you need in the house in the next day or two. Nothing makes Fridays more hectic, stressful, and exhausting than having to run the store for missing ingredients at the last minute.
• Freeze a dish or two in advance: Drastically cut down on what you have to do on Friday by trying to make a side dish, or two, that can be frozen earlier in the week. Soups, kugels, desserts, and challahs are the foods that freeze the best.
• Double up: When you do make kugels, desserts, and challahs, try to make double recipes, so whether or not you serve it right away, you can have something to freeze to use on short Fridays.
• Set your table Thursday night: Even if you can’t start cooking on Thursday night, clear off your dining room table, and set it for Shabbos dinner. Set tables not only get everyone in the Shabbos frame-of-mind, but they can help to signal to others that there are things that they can do to clean up or help out. Don’t worry about “tablescapes.” Just set the table with things you like, l’kevod Shabbos.
• Polish any silver and clean out drawers: on any day BUT Fridays. Don’t exhaust yourself. Stay focused.
• Finish up cooking by the time the kids get home: Try to finish most of your early in the day, so you have time to get work done and do any extra errands before finishing up in the early afternoon and having some hot food ready for your kids when they get home from school.
• Get others to finish cleaning up: Do what you can to clean up, but try to enlist help to make sure the kitchen is clean. You don’t have to do everything.
• Rest or Nap: While others in the house make whatever dishes they like to make and, hopefully, complete the kitchen clean-up, make sure to schedule some quiet, relaxed time for a rest or even a nap, before you put everything on the hot plate, if you use one.
• Dress like a queen: For Parshas Vayigash, come to the candles a few minutes early: dressed in your favorite Shabbos robe, and ready to light with a relaxed smile.