January 21, 2016 by Julia
I’ve been in Life Hacks Galore! mode because it’s January. It’s time to figure out how to do life better than last year.
For example, I’ve been trying to figure out how to spend the three minutes in the shower while I’m waiting for conditioner to soak into my hair.
It’s not like I have the time to just stand there and let the warm water hit my back. And it’s winter, which means I don’t have to cut my legs up trying to shave them every day. So…Eureka! I can devote that time to tooth care! I’ll keep the floss and mouthwash in the shower! I brush my teeth every morning and night but am usually too rushed or too tired for the other stuff. So I flossed and mouthwashed in the shower for five days, feeling triumphant, until I realized I’d split open the skin where the floss wraps around my pointer fingers. Something about the water softening my skin, or something.
This is not usually a problem for regular flossers. (I know, because Dennis is one.) I had perfectly matched, deep, paper-cut-like gashes across both fingers that stung like hell and took over a week to heal. So I got some shower gloves for flossing. I haven’t worn them yet, because I’m not sure I’m ready yet for that level of crazy. I’ve also considered flossing before my shower (ugh, so unoriginal), and then using the three minutes of conditioner time to scrub one wall of my shower, rotating clockwise each morning. I’ve done this for six days, now. It’s a little weird to have my shower cleaner sitting next to my mouthwash on the floor, and to be scrubbing with one while swishing the other in my mouth, as water and conditioner is dripping into my eyes. For the record, I did splurge on the non-fume-y organic cleaning stuff. You have to think these things all the way through, you know?
The point is that I refuse to give up. There are things that I care about, like tooth care and having a less mildewy shower, and I will work these into my routine, dammit. I have to believe that I will feel a little less overwhelmed if I know I’m being responsible and covering all of my bases, health-wise, cleaning-wise, etc. Of course, there is only so much time in one day, so I am constantly bartering with myself about what to let go. There are things that I care less about, like wearing makeup and taking long luxurious showers in the morning when there are family members waiting on me. If those extras aren’t working for me in the moment, I tell myself it’s not a big deal. I don’t enjoy vanity-based grooming all that much anyway. I do enjoy health and a cleaner home environment.
I’m realizing how much I love to organize. It’s soothing, which is something I need. My home can’t be crowded or cluttered beyond normal standards, or I feel insane. So I’m allowing my tidying tendencies to go right ahead. I’ve given up some of my writing time lately in order to get junk out of our house, because it is such a relief to my soul. I’m making room for mundane tasks, instead of always putting the sacred first.
You can’t really have the sacred apart from the mundane, anyway.
What else have I done to to bolster my own zen? Learn how to play Minecraft, so that I have some idea what my son is obsessed with, and can meet him there. It’s actually kind of fun.
I am watching more TV during the one hour and forty five minutes a day that both kids are at school, while I do something productive. I rush home from dropping off Jack, do half an hour of yoga if possible, and then turn on the TV and watch MY shows while also folding laundry or cleaning the guinea pig’s cage or something. It’s hard for me to sit still and just watch TV in the middle of the day, when there is always so much to be done. This way, it’s a little bit fun, a little bit productive, and I feel good by the time Jack is back home.
I started this school year with the goal to do yoga and write during this alone time, but I found that trying to write in such a limited way, to dig deep and explore feelings or stretch the imagination for just one hour in the afternoon before running back out to get Jack, was just too draining. So here I am, writing at night. I hope it’s enough.
I am scared about what writing holds for me. I re-read my old novel and I don’t know what to do with it. I love writing so much, and I don’t know when to do it. I think things will be different once both kids are in school full time. My writer friend Christine says so. Insert smiley face here.
The kids are fighting a lot. Also, they are getting really old and it’s kind of sad. Also, they are still really, really cute. For my sanity as far as parenting goes: I am trying to hold out for a high standard, while also relaxing and allowing them to be who they are. I am trying to teach kindness and generosity of spirit. I am choosing to hope that some parts of it will stick, despite my moments of weakness and yelling and their mean-spirited bickering. I am choosing to keep fighting the good fight in raising good children. I am choosing to hope.
That’s it. I’ve missed blogging. I am a little bit lost right now, a little bit happy, a little bit adrift in wonder at the blessed life I have.