Parenting 101: Practical and Efficient

Posted September 11, 2013 by jimhigley


Practical. And efficient. May I introduce you to my mom?

With five boys, practical and efficient wasn’t just smart. It was vital to survival in the mini-fraternity my mother called home.

Why waste time, for example, buying small quantities of meat at the grocery store when you could buy the whole darn cow? Not only did she negotiate a mean bargain, she enjoyed the convenience of our friendly butcher delivering boxes of freshly packaged meat right to our front door – where five obedient boys waited to carry armfuls of neatly wrapped white packages into the basement freezer with the precision of a marching band.

She used a similar approach to baking cookies. We weren’t much into pies or cakes as kids – but boy did we all have a sweet tooth for after-school cookies. So she’d set aside a day every few weeks to push hundreds and hundreds of them through her tiny oven. And whoever was home would be drafted for a job. My favorite? I was on the A-team for taking the just-out-of-the-oven cookies off the trays and laying them out to cool. All broken casualties, of course, were consumed.

And how’s a parent of five celebrate kids’ birthdays – especially when four of them fall within three weeks (I kid you not) of each other?

My mom was never one to succumb to the pressures of choreographing four separate parties during those three weeks when one big one would suffice. Besides, that strategy left more time to do simpler – and more personal things – with each child individually.

And that, at the end of my mother’s day, was her secret to “Parenting 101.” Leave time – and make time – for the things that matter most.


This memory is brought to you through my partnership with Kimberly-Clark during the months of September and October. It’s part of their Pick Up the Values Program– providing tips and ideas for parents to stretch their budgets.

Today’s Pick Up the Values Tip for Stretching Your Budget is one my mom would endorse: As much as we love our kids, your dollars will go further if you leave them home when you go shopping. But enlist their help when you get home! Kids can become super “stocking clerks” and “inventory control officers” when unloading and stocking your supplies! 

Be sure to stop by the Pick Up the Values Facebook Page for more tips and conversations!

Rest assured, while I’ve been compensated by Kimberly-Clark for this story, the memory, and belief in their product is as real as it comes.