Thursday, June 14, 2012

So my 12 year old daughter and I were talking today

about music, and she wanted me to change the station to something that had "better music" than what I was listening to.  (I actually don't listen to music on the radio that much anymore.  Or FM for that matter.) And then she asked me why I listened to "old" music.  LOL So I said, "Well, I don't ALWAYS listen to old music.  I do listen to some music that was produced in the past year or so.  But yes, in general, I don't listen to popular music.  But you know what would be weird? If I did listen to popular music all the time.  And wore all the popular fashions. And followed all the popular trends.  Because you know what I'm not young anymore. It would make me odd if I was trying to follow all the stuff."

And then I added, you know, because I always feel the need to throw stuff like this in "And you know what else, by the time you are in your 40s, you just don't care as much anymore about what is popular, or what other people think. Or maybe that is just your Mom."  She got a good laugh out of that last part.

But most of that is true.  Now that I'm almost on the downside of my 40s (I'll be 46 in August), I find that I am not that concerned about other people's opinion of me.  I mean, I'm not rude about it.  I don't go out and flaunt my opinions all day long, and I don't like being argumentative either, so I don't like getting into disagreements about my opinions vs. other people's opinions , but I am comfortable in how I  live my life.

And how does this tie into Simple Life? A lot actually.  It was around the time that I started changing about how we lived that I started feeling like I wanted to live a more authentic life too.  I wanted to do things, Simple Things, not because everybody was doing it/not doing it, etc.  I wanted to do it because it felt right for me and my family.  It gave me a sense of happiness and peace. 

It also kind of ties into the fact that living a simple life IS more "popular" now.  When we first started living like this, I felt like I was in the minority.  I didn't know many people who wanted to be more self-sufficient.  I didn't know that many people who were into thrifting and recycling or sewing and crocheting.  I didn't know that many people who went to Farmer's market.  I didn't know that many "regular" people who also cared about eating certain organic foods.  Or fair-trade products.  But now? I know tons.  Part of it is that over the years, I've discovered more people who live like we do.  But part of it is that just more people in general (I believe in large part in reaction to the economy) have become interested in being more self-sufficient.

But whether it is "popular" or not to live like this, I think that I'm in it for the long haul now.  I can't imagine going back at this point.  Like I said, it gives me a sense of happiness and peace.  And happiness and peace? I take that feeling any day of the week.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Well, just so you know

It isn't all that "simple" going from stay at home mom to working mom.  Granted, I've only been doing it 2.5 weeks, but it has been a challenge.

I think it would have been a challenge anyway I would have done it but here are a few things that I've learned so far.

1- If you have to be at work at 7 am, and your kids have to be at morning swim team practice and your spouse is dropping the kids off, you should have something available that the kids can eat quickly before they leave, and then they can eat something more substantial when they get back.  For us, most days, it has been smoothies.  I usually fix them before I leave, right before I wake the kids up, and they drink them before they leave.  But it took me a few days to really work this out.  I also need to have other quick breakfast options, in case someone doesn't want a smoothie, because there won't be time for say, eggs or something, before they have to leave.

2-Speaking of food, I should have prepared more dinners ahead of time.  It was a rough first week because I was working that week until 4:30 pm (my regular schedule now is 7 am to 3:30) and not getting home until almost 5 and people were starving and all I wanted to do was relax, not rush around trying to find something quick to cook.

3-Again, speaking of food, I should have got more groceries to have on hand before I started working.  At least some options that were a little more simple to prepare - things that Mr. Simple can fix quickly or the children can do.  However, there is a fine line between easy and "fast food" though, and it is a bit of a struggle for me still to have healthy food on hand that is substantial enough for a meal and easy for everyone to prepare. 

4- Laundry.  Ugh.  I swear we go through more clothes than the average family of five.  I feel like I'm always doing laundry.  Of course, we use yarn dishcloths, cloth napkins, and cloth paper towels too, and that contributes to it.  But I MUST do at least a load of laundry every evening, and then stress to the children that it needs to get put away while I am at work the next day.  (One interesting thing that at least early on, having Mr. Simple "remind" the children about their chores seems to be going well.  They do their chores much more willingly and quicker than when I'm assigning the chores.)

5-Dishes are the same thing as laundry.  I must load the dishwasher before I go to bed, and I have to unload it in the morning before I leave.  Otherwise, it just is a problem. 

6-I am very slowly trying to let go of some of my control issues concerning the house.  I like things done a certain way, and I like things to be tidy most of the time, etc. and I have to realize that it probably happen totally like that.  I am going to try and get some improvement over the course of the summer, but I will probably have to deal with things being little less than how I would have it be if I were here. 

7-I am very grateful for the garden again this year.  And I'm thrilled that it is right outside my door.  It enables me to go out and do things after dinner or on the weekend.  It enables us to have ultra fresh salads and strawberries for dessert.  If I had still been garden at church plot, I am sure that it would already be full of weeds because the last thing that I want to do in the evenings is drive across town.  But being able to just walk 25-50 feet? I can handle that.

8-I have not yet learned how to balance working full-time and maintaining Simply Living In The City.  I haven't blogged over at Simply Living In The City for weeks now, and I have even been kind of hit and miss at the Facebook page.  And I was supposed to reschedule the May class for last weekend, and that didn't happen. I'm hopeful to still be able to do a June class though. 

9-I sit quite a bit at my job, and I'm totally not used to that.  I've found that I have to walk the (10 flights) of stairs a few times a day so that I don't feel like such a slug.  I'd love to be able to figure out some time to do more traditional exercise, but with full time work and the kids with their very full summer schedule and all their drop offs and pick-ups, and laundry and dishes, and meals, well, I haven't yet figured out when I could fit in a run or going to the gym. 

10-I'm driving my car back and forth to work because I need to be home in enough time to take the kids to evening practices, but starting in the fall, I'll be able to bike or ride the bus to my job.  I'm pretty excited about it! I've never been able to use public transportation or bike as my regular form of transportation.