Flying in to Home Base: the Hurried Lifestyle Tradeoffs

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I read in a time management book (Morgan Tyree Take Back Your Time) that we should build margins and buffers around appointments. But single parents have nothing to buffer with. That is like telling a woman who is missing her leg to get a pedicure. We are bufferless.

I remember standing at a makeup counter trying to get a new mascara (before I found that Maybelline from Safeway is just fine). The lady behind the counter asked what my makeup regime was. I told her I can only wear makeup that I can apply in the car.

I got very good at paying bills at stoplights, the old fashioned way too w a checkbook, a stamp, the envelope, etc. Stoplights were when my middle console became a desktop and I put those 60 seconds to good use!

I considered dentist appointments a luxury because I could lay down in the middle of the day and actually slept while the hygienist scraped plaque from my teeth. When they asked how often I flossed, I looked at them and usually said, “Twice a year, right before I come here! I am lucky to brush my teeth.”

I had 2 labrador retrievers (who only got their daily water out of the toilet bowl because I couldn’t get the dogs food AND water) when my husband went to jail, I was 9 months pregnant and had a 17- month old barely walking toddler. It was poor judgement and terribly bad timing on his part. But of course, worse judgement on my part to marry him in the 1st place (And yet I have 2 entire journals filled with gratitude that I got those 2 beautiful kids out of the deal).

But I was super tired.

Food consumption was so on the go that I carried a small lunch bag of pb& j sandwiches for my munchkins to eat after church on the way home from the free daycare during the service… I am not afraid to admit that I got religious when I realized I could have 2 free hours of child care while sitting in a peaceful setting.

Anyway, margins and buffers don’t come easily to us. Someone is always needing to pee, or the food needs to be figured out, or we are asleep. Or, well, we are running late. So buffer zones are something I never figured out. Maybe I had too much on my schedule, or have FOMO, or maybe I expected too much from my life. No matter–I came to a half-peace with it all. I (selfishly) decided that I did not want to miss out on as many things because I was single. So we skied as a family, I ran on weekends, I dated, I worked full time, we did a lot of art projects, we hiked every New Years day, we made pancakes every weekend, my kids did at least 2 sports a year, and we ate dinner at the table most nights. And–my kids and I lived with messy hair, a cluttered house, dog hair on our sweaters, and we ran late. I chose experiences rather than appearances. It was messy and imperfect, but it was a conscious choice! *

Breakthrough#20: Some things have to give. Make your list of must-happens. Make your list of what you are letting go. Then breathe. It won’t be perfect. You won’t be perfect. I didn’t do it well at all. I was selfish and rudely late, my kids didn’t learn quiet peace and still don’t flourish in good hygiene.

*But I did get a really good nap in every 6 months!

You got this Mama, more soon!

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