I am two weeks post-surgery, and SEVEN WEEKS into this buy nothing new project. Scary stuff. This week I am finding especially hard. Last week I had the whole house to myself while the kids and Mark went on their camping trip and I could rest and enjoy my own rhythms (I am not an early riser), I was still sick enough that I really ENJOYED resting, and I didn’t need to accomplish anything major. This week I’m just stuck. The kids are back. They are restless without a fixed schedule/structure, as is Mark. Suits me just fine but I sense their stress and get myself worked up trying to FIX the problem. It’s also August 1st which means less than a month and Mark goes back to work, leaving me with two munchkins most of the time (one of which stuck a HUGE raisin up her nose today) to start kindergarten, swimming, dancing routines. With no job prospects on the horizon. Which I’m trying to be ok with. I’ve never NOT had a job. (Translation: I’ve always had a job). Even while on maternity leave I’ve volunteered or done jewelry or filled in for others. I need a break. But its a challenge when I want to be USEFUL and HELPFUL and COMPETENT at something, and motherhood isn’t always any of those things. Especially on raisins up the nose days. I mean, I was USEFUL and removed the f***ing raisin from her nose in a COMPETENT way, but the YELLING that ensued wasn’t helpful. Le sigh.
Phew. So there it is. I am struggling again this week. I think I let myself do enough second hand shopping last week that shopping seems to be almost “normal” again. When truthfully, I DON’T NEED ANYTHING. It’s all WANT. I got a shirt off a buy and sell site, several dresses and shorts and a scarf from Value Village, the girls and I went on Monday to get some DVD’s and kids cd’s and some puzzles. I did a bit of “new” stuff for the house after my week studying it. Things like unified white plant pots and two picture frames to put in my office. (Against the rules? I didn’t think so at the time, but now that I’ve done them, it makes me want to do MORE. Buy more. I have a 15% off Crate and Barrel discount card and I almost convinced myself to use it. Ugh.).
So August, starting fresh. I spent some time the other day looking at our bank accounts, which really, were in a good state after July, so hooray for me! But looking at those in a god state always makes me want to SPEND whatever is left, so I made a list. Of all the expenses I could think of that would be coming up in August. This list did not include things that we still need to pay off like line of credit, and new appliance account, just things that I knew were coming up this month. It made me realize that August might be a bit costly. I knew that swimming was a big chunk (although I did get to cut it in half by doing it in two installments when I got there today) and we are getting a new front window and front door installed this month which we need to pay the second half of. (Seriously, original door from like 1963 and the seal on the front window is gone and the latches on the windows that crank open are broke. Insert crying emoji face here. Or emoticons as my dear friend called them!) We are getting tile installed in the kitchen for a backsplash, as we didn’t get that done in the original reno, we need to sign the girls up for dancing for the fall and those fees will likely be a chunk. The list may grow or shrink as we move things around (a la the swimming payment) but I think this is a practice I should adopt at the end of every month. It allows me to project a little bit for the month and know that things like new light fixtures might have to wait until September (the one in my office right now is literally a lightbulb. A DIM lightbulb. Works. It’s true. le sigh.)
Another practice that I’ve heard a lot of people encourage is writing down each purchase and amount in a book. Or use cash for each purchase so that it’s more of a realization when it’s gone at the end of a week (*Cough* day *cough*). I worry about having cash in my wallet as it’s way easier for cash to be stolen and spent than a credit card (at least in my head it is, you can disabuse me of this notion if you like). My victim services brain of many years worries about theft and death and all those things a lot more than I probably should. (Just ask me about going over a bridge into water in a car with two kids. I’ve thought about it. A LOT.) So I think writing everything down will be a good practice for me. I’ve been pretty free with going out for food/starbucks/dessert/wine lately (mostly while Mark was gone, I don’t cook a lot!) so I think keeping track will help curb that a bit more. This does feel a little bit like removing ALLLLLL the fun from the world, so we will see how much I can cut this back. Life without shopping AND starbucks?! Hard. So hard.
Hence the photo for today’s blog. And I’ve seen this picture posted a LOT on instagram, by magazines, independent businesses or whoever. This is NOT what I want my girls to learn from me. That I need new things and pretty accessories or a perfect house, or immaculately dressed children to be happy with myself. As my beautiful doula, acupuncturist and friend affirmed for me last week without even knowing my struggle, “You are enough”. We ARE enough, and we are as good, or even better with less. Because with less, we have less to worry about! I’m trying to remind myself as much as you. I treasure the empty shelves in my linen closets, and my sparse-er closet that holds only some of my favourite things. But sometimes, oh sometimes, I think how much happier I could be with that THING, whatever it may be.
SO there’s still work to be done. What other tips and tricks do you have for me to keep tabs on myself?