Thursday, November 7, 2013

The freedom to say no

As you can tell from my last few posts, I've kind of been going through some stuff lately. Mucking through the everyday rigor of being a working mom. Finally winning the battle of feeling content and settled in our current home instead of incessantly wanting to be somewhere else. Constantly trying to suppress my type-A personality that is at this point doing more harm than good. 

A few weeks ago I had a little moment. A bit of a pity party about being a working mother. I guess I hit my breaking point and just got plain overwhelmed. It happens. I declared there would be no more intricate meals, just heated convenience foods. That we'd have house cleaners every two weeks like clock work. That I was taking a major break.

But something funny happened when I said those things out loud.

Somehow, giving myself the freedom not to do them, made them seem less daunting. Once I gave myself permission not to clean, I actually felt myself having the urge to do it myself. After taking a full 7-10 days off of cooking, I wanted nothing more than to get into my kitchen and whip up a good meal. 

I suppose sometimes we just need to feel like we don't have to do these things. Once it becomes our choice, it's somehow less overwhelming. 

The same thing happened a few weeks ago when Matt and I were discussing Christmas. For a year now I've wanted a new fridge. Ours is really old, it's not well organized, and the freezer just doesn't have enough capacity for us at this point in our Costco-shopping lives. We've had a less than ideal year financially, with a lot of house issues needing attention, and I decided with complete certainty that we were going to make this one completely unnecessary and over the top purchase for ourselves. We earned it, after all. We work hard. We rarely splurge on anything. We were going for it.

And in the past few weeks, something changed. The thought of spending that money when we could use it to replenish our savings started to seem ridiculous. There are things that need financial attention now--like our vehicles --that are much better suited for those funds. It was like I'd only wanted the fridge so badly because it had been an impossibility for so long.  Once I gave us permission to buy it, I realized we didn't need it. I cleaned our current fridge from top to bottom and now it sparkles like new. And to take care of the needed freezer space, we're getting a small chest freezer for the garage. That will cost a whopping $150. 

Maybe I'm the last person to learn this lesson, but it's been a valuable and humbling one for me personally. As someone who strives to practice gratitude daily, and who is truly living the life they always dreamed of, I sure do carry around a long list of "wants". I want more time with my kids/I want a bigger kitchen/I want new boots for Fall/etc etc etc.  It's not pretty, but it's honest, I'm working on it. 

I'm looking forward to a holiday season of LESS. Small, thoughtful gifts. Big time spent together doing fun things. Less wanting, more gratitude for what we have, and doing as much as we can to help others. I think it will be good for all of us. 

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