Create Space

Lately, I’ve begun to realize that I need to create space in my life for the things I want to do.

If I want to blog, I need to create time to think and write. If I want to feel at peace in my home, I need to create literal space in my home by clearing out the natural daily accumulations of five busy lives. If I want to do anything at all, I need to create space for it.

It’s such a simple concept except that I manage to forget it time and time again.

I particularly feel it with my thoughts. I have all these half-formed ideas and observations I want to chase down and explore thoroughly, but except for when I’m shuttling the kids, I rarely have time to truly think. And of course, now that Hapa Papa gave me a few hours to write and think, what do I do?

Of course. I check Facebook and text.

Welp, I’m gonna try something new. I’m going to write short posts – I know. WEIRD. But hear me out.

I often don’t post because all I have is a snippet of a thought that I want to explore more fully. Except I don’t have time (or haven’t made the time) and then I shunt it to the side until I do have time, but having time doesn’t mean it’s the right time. It’s kinda like making a baby. Just ‘cuz you’ve made the time to make the baby doesn’t mean you want to be making the baby. But you do because, hey. FERTILITY.

Whoa. Tangent.

Also, perhaps TMI. But we’re all friends here, right? And my brother doesn’t always read my posts so it’s okay. Not gross at all.

Anyhow, maybe if I try to trick my perfectionistic tendencies into getting over needing to have a bullet-proof post that hunts down every possible nuance and objection, I can actually write with abandon and perhaps post a little more consistently and with fewer breaks. (Although, now that I think of it, I have been pretty consistent over the years. I just am my own worst critic.)

The other thing I forget is that creating space is a continuous process. It isn’t a “one and done” type of scenario. I often think that if I just clear out my house one time, it should magically remain clean and tidy. But life isn’t static – and neither is my brain. Life is kinetic and entropic and constantly barreling downhill with the occasional brake.

All too often, I beat myself up for just being human and succumbing to life. I constantly forget that life is Sisyphean, a constant repeat of meeting our frail, human needs.

How do you remind yourself of your humanness? How do you create space in ways that harness your natural tendencies? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

Food Insecurity

At almost every meal time, I briefly think that our family is “food insecure.” Not in the true sense of the word – by no means are we that at all. But if you asked me what we ate for the last week, I would have no idea. And if you asked me what we were going to eat for our next meal, I’d semi-panic and want to crawl in a hole and avoid the question entirely.

How is it possible that I go shopping every week, have a fridge and pantry full of food, yet we rarely have anything to eat?

In fact, I think one of the reasons Glow Worm is so short is because all he does is snack all day and doesn’t actually eat real food. (I’ll just go back and hide now.)

It’s pretty telling that my favorite time of every year is when I go to San Diego and visit my friend for a few days and she provides all meals and snacks for those blissful three days. I don’t have to think about anything!

It’s heaven.

Anyhow, lately, it’s been pressing upon me more and more so that we have to make some changes as a family about what we eat and how we eat it.

It all started when I slowly started realizing that whenever I had even minimal amounts of caffeine or sugar, I would start shaking. My whole body would feel jittery and jerky and I would feel jumpy and just “off.” And every time I ate a granola bar that my kids eat all the time (especially Glow Worm), I would feel really weird and my heart would start racing. I would get to thinking, “If I, as a fully grown adult woman, couldn’t handle the sugar content in a “healthy” granola bar, what the hell is it doing to my children?

I mean, maybe the reason Glow Worm is quite insane and is never tired has more to do with his diet than his temperament? Perhaps the kids would eat more of their normal meals if they didn’t always have snacks?

So, I don’t really know what to do. I flirt with the idea of cutting sugar or having only unprocessed foods in the house (OMG – that makes me so sad to even think about), or to go all hard core like the 100 Days of Real Food lady and that just stresses me out. I know I have the tendency to go full tilt all in extreme and then burn out super quick.

It seems impossible. And really hard. And a lot like work. (You all know how I feel about anything that even remotely resembles work.)

My mind races to think of what schedules I need to rearrange for shopping and food prep. Do I start freezer cooking? Use a crock pot? And are any of these dishes actual Chinese food? Or things my kids would eat?

And of course, I have a ton of excuses: the kids never eat what I make so why bother? We’re always on the go, how can we have fewer processed foods but still have an active lifestyle (and by active, I mean that we’re constantly driving around from one thing to another). What about all the food we already bought? It seems crazy hard – especially with my kids’ multiple food allergies.

And so, I’m hesitant to even mention my thoughts for several reasons. The main being that if I talk about it, I might actually have to do something. The others being that I know that my complaints are totally a first world problem and that I feel a lot of shame.

After all, there are 870 million people worldwide who don’t know what – if anything – they will have to eat. Even within the United States, there are millions of children and families who experience actual food insecurity. (1 in 7 Americans experience hunger because they or their families cannot afford food.) And here I am, complaining about my petty problems.

So, even though I have no idea what to do with our food situation, I hopefully can at least remind us that as America is gearing up for the holiday season. I encourage you to donate to your local food bank, volunteer for Meals on Wheels, donate your time to help pack food supplies, whatever. If you are at a loss of what to do, consider donating on a monthly basis to your local county food bank. We currently donate $150/month to the Contra Costa County Food Bank and I consider it part of our tithing. It has not been difficult to do considering it’s the very least I can do – which is give money.

In addition, this year, instead of just telling folks to not bring gifts to my children’s birthday parties, I’ve asked people to bring food items to donate to the local food bank instead. For Glow Worm’s birthday, we raised 118 pounds of food. I might even have people do so for our annual New Year’s Eve party.

I mention these things not to seem righteous or holy, but merely acknowledging that the rest of this post is horribly incongruent with real food insecurity. But since the context is my life, I can only write what I know.

However, I do want to also highlight actual hunger instead of my cheap facsimile so as we get ready for the holiday season (I know it seems early, but it really isn’t!), to keep in mind ways you can help – even if it’s just with your time and energy and strength.

I would also encourage you to set up a monthly contribution (or at least a reminder to donate during the summer months – which are notoriously low on donations) instead of just doing something during the holidays. People are hungry year round – not just on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Anyhow, I have no idea how to end this post (as always). But I would love to hear your feedback (especially if you and your family have made major food changes) and advice! Happy Monday.

 

Someone Get Me An Adult

People, people, people. I just can’t get my shit together.

Seriously. I think I’ve somehow landed myself in a minor depression again. I care about stuff, but not enough to do anything about it. I kept telling myself I’d get it together after our LA/SD Trip. Now, I tell myself I have to get certain stuff done before our DC Trip. (But only the stuff that has actual deadlines.) But really, I’m telling myself to get to it after school starts.

My kingdom for a “wife”! (That’s probably what Hapa Papa thought he was getting, but too bad, Sucker!)

I will settle for someone to just follow me around and nag me until I do things. (Better yet, I would prefer someone to just do things for me.)

Why is adulting so hard? Why is life so hard? (Cue sad violins and people giving zero fucks at my privileged, pampered life.)

know I’m being a whiny asshat. I know it’s sad and pathetic and whatever other invectives I hurl at myself. But here I am all blech-like.

To quote Fat Bastard from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, ” I can’t stop eating. I eat because I’m unhappy, and I’m unhappy because I eat. It’s a vicious cycle.”

Substitute eating with whatever (well, also, the eating) and there you have me in a nutshell.

I want to say a lot of my paralysis is because I’m conflicted of what I want and why I want it. But that only covers some of the problems like parenting/disciplining/interacting with my children or homeschooling. I know all I have to do is just fucking shut up already, sit down, and think about what I want. I just choose not to do it because then once I know, I have no excuse not to do it and then I have to do it!

Which then, brings those problems into the column that is the most problematic: life.

How is it that I am so incapable at life? I know if I just got off my ass, my bathrooms would be cleaned, my laundry folded, my carpets vacuumed, my home decluttered, my bills paid, etc. I know because I’ve done them before. At least a million times before. And I think lately, that is the problem. What is the point? Why bother doing anything at all? I WILL JUST HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN TOMORROW.

Or depending on what it is, in about ten minutes.

I mean, seriously. I do at least three loads of diapers a week (not including regular laundry). After I spent half an hour mopping the kitchen floor, one of my kids spilled their milk. And thought about eating a cookie so immediately, my floor was covered in crumbs. I vacuumed my crunchy carpet and almost instantly, my children chose the crumbliest, flakiest food to consume and then promptly walked all over my family room.

I used to care about things (back in the days before Gamera and Glow Worm were born) but each successive child has sucked the will to do anything out of my body. I am now the opposite type of parent I thought I would be. Just a sad, deflated, screaming mom completely run over by her irregular children.

I think I need an accountability partner. Someone to check in with and make sure I get stupid shit done. Maybe I don’t need a wife after all. I NEED A MOM. Just not a mom like me.