Thursday, April 9, 2009

ponderings of a typical, long-winded, rachelish sort…

so i have been struggling lately with what i have come to assume is a facet of my own personal human nature.  essentially, i’ve come to realize that i’m lazy and selfish.

harsh, huh?

well, may as well call a spade a spade. (why we say that, i have no idea.)

i am lazy and selfish with the way i want to spend my time, and it seems like everything else in my life is affected by that – because really, what else do we have in this life but time? how we use that limited time we are given is the true testament of what our lives were made of.

so here is a sampling of the many areas of my life that are affected by this lazy and selfish nature and some things i’ve come up with.

housework:  i’ll start here because, as the sub-text of my blog title would indicate, i consider myself to be ‘domestically challenged’. by definition, i consider this to be my lack of training (and therefore, ability) in the profession of homemaking. for one thing, my mother worked a good share of my childhood. for another, i didn’t care one smidge about learning to cook, clean, launder, organize, orchestrate, rear, host, etc. i don’t know what i thought i would be doing when i ‘grew up’, but somehow it didn’t involve doing any of the things i’m currently doing.  this is odd because i had NO career goals to speak of (other than being a professional figure skater and marrying someone who was a good cook). so now, having found myself in this position, i’m kind of figuring it out on my own and trying desperately to live up to an idealized picture i have of myself. currently, my dishwasher needs unloading, my floors need mopping, my bathrooms need cleaning, my bedroom is a pit, my living room needs dusting, my kitchen peninsula and computer desk are covered in any and all forms of random junk, the chicken we’re having for dinner is still in the freezer, and i have laundry i should be doing. and don’t even get me started on my garage. yet here i sit, at 9:48am, in my jammies, blogging. somewhere along the line, i got it into my head that “because i don’t want to” was a legitimate excuse for not doing what i need to do. and getting that out of my head has proven to be impossible. ::sigh::

hobbies and time: moving right along in that direction, if i don’t want to be doing the above mentioned things, what is it i DO want to be doing? in no way am i suggesting that we shouldn’t have hobbies. i love my hobbies. if we didn’t have hobbies, so many of the art-forms of the past would simply die because there is no need of them in our fully automated world of today. i have recently taken up knitting. i love it. i love to see some real thing emerging from a ball of yarn. in the past, people needed to knit so their families had socks and mittens and hats and woolen underwear to keep them warm. i’m not saying i shouldn’t be knitting, but i think i let it take over times that i should be doing something else: doing the housework that needs to be done or spending my time with my family. it also eats up a lot of money. knitting is certainly not cheap. it seems that every project requires a new set of needles, and quality yarn is outrageous. and what is it i’m knitting? while i think that hand-made gifts are generally far superior to some trivial trinket bought in the store, how much of this stuff does anyone really need? i would hate to contribute to anyone’s pile of stuff. i know i have too much stuff and the problem with hand-made stuff is that, even if you don’t use it, you can’t really get rid of it because it was hand-made for you. i currently have about 50 million baby blankets that people have made for my 3 children. what do i do with them? i don’t need them. they certainly don’t need that many baby blankets. but someone made each of them, specifically for that child.  by hand. so i need to store them. ***edited to add*** it occurred to me that that whole spiel sounded a little harsh. i’m not meaning to imply that i don’t like, appreciate, or value those hand-made gifts – especially the blankets, which are all very beautiful. it just makes you think, when you are starting at a pile of them, what is it you should do with them now? and how do you best store/display them without ruining them or keeping them packed away so that you may as well not even have them? in other words, how do you best honor the gift given by the person who lovingly made it, without the item itself becoming clutter.*** i have other hobbies besides knitting but this is just an example of how these hobbies (which are are much more desirable way to spend my time and money) can take an inappropriate place in my life.

children: my children (as most children) benefit from a consistent schedule. i do pretty good about keeping meals and snacks, micah’s nap and bedtimes at consistent times, but what about the rest of the day? for the most part, i prefer they entertain themselves, and/or each other. not that this is entirely bad. i think it’s important for children to be able to entertain themselves, and to spend a good share of their time in open-ended, unscheduled activities.  this is what childhood is about. this is how they ‘really’ learn the valuable lessons of life. no classroom lesson will duplicate the experiences children will have digging in dirt, collecting rocks, stomping in puddles and testing the bounds of their own abilities and the properties of nature. but when my child shows up asking me to play a game? gosh, i really just don’t want to! isn’t that terrible?i feel strongly that it is my responsibility to raise the children that God has blessed me with myself, but i sometimes realize that i’d rather they do their own thing (not really because i think that’s what they should be doing) but because when they do their own thing, i can do my own thing. this leads to my next dilemma. homeschooling. shane is currently homeschooled, but not by me. my mom does it. they are both generally happy with the situation and i firmly believe in the benefits of homeschooling. it has been my desire to homeschool since long before shane actually began school. when it became clear, half-way through 1st grade, that regular school was not working for shane, i was working full time, and my mom offered, and that’s how we wound up in the situation we’re in now. but i have to say i feel a little weird about it. i don’t know where i fit in to this situation. while i think it would be beneficial to join a support group or co-op sort of thing, i don’t feel comfortable in that situation because i’m not actually the one doing the teaching, and i’d feel like a bit of an imposter. and then there’s the impending dilemma of layla. turning 4 this summer, i’ve not signed her up for preschool, and don’t really think there’s room in the budget for it. and, having worked as a preschool teacher, i am confident i could easily have her ‘prepared for kindergarten’ by the time she’s 5 myself. bringing us to my next dilemma. school or not? i have a strong desire to homeschool ALL of my children (even shane), but seriously doubt whether there is room in my lazy, selfish way of life to commit to undertake such a hugely important responsibility. i know that when it comes down to it, i would be fighting with myself each and every day to stay on schedule, to work through the attitude problems that kids reserve for their mothers with patience and love, to get off my butt and go do the things we should be doing to give my children the rich and well rounded education they should be receiving through homeschooling. and then there is the always-present fear that i would be a total flop. and then there’s the consistency with rules and discipline. oh! what a disaster! you know how sometimes it’s just easier to dispense yell wisdom orders from your chair? that’s me. in the past there have been rules established about the tv; those shows which are allowed and those which aren’t, and how long, etc. but, because of my laziness, those often go ignored. shane, especially, knows all sorts of ways to push around my “rules” and how to get to do what he wants. he will ignore them, disregard them, beg, plead, pout, be generally obnoxious, and usually, just not bring it up and hope i don’t notice. and generally because i’m lazy, i’ll let it go, and because i am selfish, don’t want to deal with the fuss and unpleasantness that comes with enforcing it. yeah, a disaster! and i can see clearly the evidence of the damage done by both the shows and my inconsistency, but once again, lazy and selfish… and so it persists.

husband: wouldn’t it be great to say that my best efforts and energy were reserved for my husband, the one i have vowed to love, honor, be faithful to, etc. for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, as long as we both shall live? yeah, that would be great. unfortunately, i have to admit that he often gets the leftovers of me – what i have left at the end of the day, and whatever mood i happen to be in when he walks through the door. and let me tell you, that’s not always anything i would want to come home to. 

money: i have always been irresponsible about money. subsequently, i’ve never had much of it. but i have always wanted to live like i do. for the first time ever, dave and i have more or less established a budget. super fun! but i’m trying to have a positive attitude about it and stick to it, although it’s exceedingly hard for me to postpone that instant-gratification thing. aside from my knitting (or other hobby-related) spending, my other passion is clothes shopping. while i love to shop for myself, my biggest stumbling block is shopping for my kids. you all know how much i love gymboree. and although i shop sales and use gymbucks and attempt to do it most economically, i’ve really been feeling convicted lately about this little obsession of mine. why is it i like gymboree so much? yes, the clothes are incredibly cute. yes, they are well-made. but really, i think it’s what those clothes say about my children, and as such, what they say about me. people who shop gymboree clothes, KNOW gymboree clothes. you keep up on the latest lines, you know what’s new, what’s old, what is on the way out, and where on the sale scale it is. when i see children wearing gymboree clothes, i recognize them, and i know that other moms recognize them on my children. in general, it’s a snobbery associated with children’s clothes. super! i don’t believe that adults should dress in a way that draws inappropriate attention to themselves (ie, attempting to look provocative or blatantly advertise how big your clothing budget is w/ designer clothes), so what is it i’m teaching my children to do? i know that’s a bit of a stretch, but by dressing my children in a way is intended (however subtly) to draw attention to me, then am i not teaching them that the purpose of their clothing is to draw as much attention to yourself as possible? and if so, what are the future implications of that, especially in the case of my daughter? this is something i’ve been struggling with lately. i’m certainly not saying that gymboree clothes are bad, and i’m not saying that it’s this way for everyone who shops there, but for me i think it is. in addition, i think it’s an inappropriate use of our money and so, for the time being, at least, i think it’s a vice that i need to put on the shelf.

well, i know i’ve become bored with this post, and if you’re still reading, i’m sure you are too, but i’ll end with this:  i’m not intending this to be some sort of self-loathing pity party and i’m not fishing for a bunch of pep rally comments here.  it is simply me using this venue to sort out some of my personal issues. perhaps the reader may have some ‘helpful’ comments that would encourage me in that which i need to change about myself. perhaps you’ve been there and have some wisdom to share.

and now, i think i’ll unload the dishwasher!


  1. Ok, trying not to sound pitying or cheerleady. But are you sure you aren't taling about me? Seriously. Joey once approached me about homeschooling and my first thought was, that'll take up a lot of MY time. Fortunately the thought of giving up band turned him from it, but really, that was my first thought. And you don't even want to know how much junk is piled in various places in my house. I know it'll take me about an hour to go through it all and eliminate the clutter, but I'd rather read (my current vice). So I guess I'm saying if you want to start a support group, here's you first member. You aren't alone.

  2. Oh I'm SO in on that support group! I felt like I was reading something I could have written!!! ;)



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