If you didn’t see my post on TPIL on Facebook this past week, feel free to check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/thepartilove/. I shared thoughts on choosing what is worth the chase in our lives. This post today, goes a little more in depth. I hope you enjoy it. As always, feel free to share and comment.
If my husband and I have a point of contention, fifty percent of the time it is over meat. Not enough or not enough of the deer variety that he spent umpteen weekends waiting for it to surrender. Not enough “red” and too much “turkey fill-in-the-blank”. He still rolls his eyes every time I purchase turkey-bacon, ground turkey, or turkey sausage– informing me that yet again, I’ve bought the faux meat.
Since we have four pint-sized faux-meat-eaters, I typically buy a Texas-sized package, cook it up with garlic and onion and stockpile it in the freezer. But once I do such a brave act, I’m constantly guarding the Ziploc bag from my husband who likes to add a little to macaroni and cheese, a little to Ramen and before I know it, I’m digging out measly crumbs for the lasagna I’d had planned to make with meat but is now vegetarian with a hint of meat flavor.
I shriek and say, “You’ve wasted all the meat!”
He looks like he just got caught feeding the class gerbil a pork chop. “I didn’t waste it—I ATE it!”
In addition to attempting to use meat sparingly, in my past stages of parenting, I sometimes felt superior in how I managed my time. I used to coach other young moms that my biggest secret was to use small increments of time wisely. If I had five or ten minutes, I would break projects down into doable segments so that over the course of week, overwhelming lists became more do-able in small bits of time. I would inform them that I don’t have time to waste—every minute is precious. I”m surprised no one slapped me.
Don’t get me wrong, I take time to play Twister, UNO and read more than my fair share of Goodnight Moon, but my old modus operandi was to be busy “getting stuff done” for the better portion of the day and into the night, though you’d never know it if you saw the state of my house or how I compulsively track packages that I’ve ordered off the internet.
And now that I’m in a stage of life where I balance part-time work, part-time community volunteerism and full-time wife, Mom and friend, my life has started to get a little more hectic and I think I can manage to take it down a notch or two–maybe three.
I have realized that though I will still remain a list-maker and a goal-setter, my days of plowing headlong through phone calls, chores and errands from 6am to 10pm (with occasional package tracking, email checking and Face book stalking) are over. I’ve recently learned to put more space, more breathing room into my day.
Nothing is wrong with pausing for a half hour and reading a book, making time to exercise, or simply looking out the window and watching the fishing bobbers blow in the breeze on the trees (long story).
And you know what else? When I am at the grocery store and have to give myself permission to buy bread instead of make it—something is wrong. When for the first time in ten years I actually purchase chicken nuggets to feed my family dinner–maybe my standards have been strung a little out of reach. And since when do I need to feel guilty for buying myself some live plants to bring cheer and life into the coldest, darkest time of year? Why do I always, always put my needs last under the guise of frugality and selflessness?
No, one—not even my meat-loving husband cares as much about this stuff as I do. Seriously, you should have seen his eyes shining while eating breaded, machine-processed chicken thighs. No one in my church, my family, or my friends has ever put the bar so insanely high and dared me to keep it there.
And yet, somehow unconsciously I have done it to myself. And WHY?
So, yes, I will strive to serve, to give, to cheer those around me, but I also deserve equally to fill my own soul. So, I now will NOT be using and filling every spare 5 or 10 minutes of my day. I will NOT be making every meal from scratch. I will NOT make myself be last in line for my own time, space and energy.
I will still give. Still serve. Still be happy. But I will be stretching and working out some kinks—give myself some breathing room, some treats, some time.
Maybe my husband is onto something. I’m not wasting time; I’m savoring and taking it at a little slower pace so I don’t feel so wasted. So, if you see me plopped on the couch reading a book during “prime get things done” time, I hope you join me, take off your watch, ignore the to-do list and let yourself enjoy some time for you. It’s not a waste. It’s a gift.