When does life go back to where it was? Back when kids could be kids. Back when a road trip wasn't a giant financial burden and actually something done without care or worry. Back when Moms had time to cook a healthy dinner every night. Dads stayed up until the fireflies came out playing catch or even just relaxing watching the kids play in the yard. Kids were in bed before dark because they were so worn out from playing outside. When does history repeat itself and we get that back? I miss that.
My kids. I will never let my children get on their bikes and call out "see you at dark!" to them as they ride off in the morning. They can't go out without being covered in sunscreen and bug spray. UV rays, ahhh! West nile virus, eeek! Oh yeah, and it's 137 degrees outside in July now, so they could also have a heatstroke.
Do you have any idea how much it costs to drive anywhere? A lot. That's how much. My parents and I trekked across the great state of Texas my entire life, in a Suburban. We drove everywhere, and we had fun doing it. Now these trips we take are planned far in advance to allow for time to save up, and they are few and far between.
My mother busted her ass (she still does actually) and was/is a rock star. She was up insanely early for work, worked on her feet all day, came home and cooked something amazingly southern usually covered in gravy, and hung in there long enough to tuck me in and tell me good night. Why am I so exhausted every morning and night? Was my Momma this tired? If she was, she never showed it.
I need this lifestyle.
I need to come home at a decent time for my kids. My current routine wears me out. Out the door at 7:30 at the very latest, home for lunch with the Hubs from 12:05 to 12:45 running around like crazy people sweeping and mopping floors, folding laundry, doing dishes, basically anything that requires immediate attention at the house, which is always something. At the end of the day I'm in the door with the kids in tow from daycare around 5:20. Kids are hungry, they want food now, they can't wait. Kade gets a can of ravioli. Lily gets lunch meat, crackers and cheese. I'm the world's worst mom. I'll take my trophy whenever you like for that. Because when I do cook something the kids whine about starving the entire time, so I give them snacks to buy me some time. Then by the time the casserole or whatever it may be is out of the oven or off the stove they don't want it. They are full from snacks. It's a lose lose situation. If I got home even at 4:15, I could get home, clean, cook, and be fully prepared for two hungry bellies to come through the door an hour later.
Is now when we talk about personal time? What's personal time? Is that time you go do whatever you want without feeling like a terrible person for leaving your husband and children at home to fend for themselves? Because that just doesn't fit into the 24 hours I am allotted each day. And I don't do well with guilt, so when I do leave them, I feel like racing home the minute I walk out the door. Now that I think about it though, my mom didn't have any of that either. She was always home. (See above: rock star.) [Sidenote: my husband encourages me to go do things. He's pretty awesome. I still feel guilty though, and honestly, usually prefer to spend any second of spare time I have with him. Because as I mentioned, he's pretty awesome.]
Exercise falls into the personal time category. Personal trainers will tell you things like "there's always time, make the time" and more annoying mantras to that tune. Shit that makes you want to punch them in the face. Ok, give me a 25 hour day then peppy irritatingly in-shape trainer. Then I'll go work out. Until then, kiss my ass. (Geeze, my lack of exercise is deeply connected to my giant amount of anger deep inside me, apparently.)
But, I digress. I'm trying for one little change, and maybe that will ignite bigger ones that make for more change for the better. First step towards a happier, healthier, and more well-oiled machine of a family: monthly meal planning. This is huge. This is something I NEED. I need some control over something in my life. The food in my family's life will be what I control. We have eaten out a lot the last couple months. That saddens me, because we are a family that prides itself in doing very little of that.
The menu has been planned October 1 through November 30. It was planned with the food currently in my freezer and pantry in mind, as we need to use what we have, decrease food costs, and decrease trips to the grocery store. Every time I pop in for a couple things I need I feel like I come out at least $50 poorer. This needs to stop. Sunday I will prepare for the month of October, purchasing everything I need for the month that is non-perishable or can be frozen. Items like milk, bread and eggs will be purchased once a week on Sundays. Sundays are the days we go to the grocery store. That's it. We make no exceptions unless something urgent is on deck (as in if we run out of whole milk, that's the key to LilyPad going to sleep: milk, we always make exceptions for milk.)
This won't be easy. My picky husband will see the menu and try and say no to what is on deck, and I will cook it anyway. He may or may not eat it. That's fine. But the kids and I will. And we'll like it, dammit. (Did I mention that this won't be easy?)