Tuesday, September 27, 2011

We can't do everything.

The other day I was blog hopping and found a post from a mom who has gone scratch-cooking-gluten-free-no-sugar-and-I-can't-remember-what-else, and the gist of her post was this: we can't do it all. And ya' know what? She doesn't feel so bad about that.

It was a relief to read this from another mom. She has made the choice to feel good about the positive changes she and her family have made, and to not feel badly because they choose not to do other Potentially Really Good things. I totally dig that. Because for heaven's sake, who are these people who make us feel all sorts of guilty because we don't recycle our glass bottles or cloth diaper our children or make homemade bread from sprouted grains (whatever the hell those are)?

I read that particular post at the same time I was kicking around the idea of writing a sort of stream of consciousness post here. I thought I'd set a block of time, like "preparing dinner" and jot down every(unrelated)thing that came to mind while I did that one seemingly simple task.

Uhh. I decided my somewhat ADD self didn't need one more distraction while I'm cooking. But I couldn't get over the idea, so I thought I'd try a "virtual" stream of consciousness. (Does that even make any sense? Ha!)

OK. Imagine I'm making banana bread. Which I really am going to do today.

Here's what's happening in my head:

Banana bread. Good way to use up the bananas we didn't eat. Score one for not wasting food. Too bad we can't grow bananas closer to Michigan. That whole "eating local" thing. Too many bananas, need to double the recipe. Two cups times two is four cups. Rachel needs some help with her multiplication. Add flashcards to the shopping list. No, we have 3x5 cards, we'll make some. We don't need to buy things we can make ourselves or do without because eventually everything ends up in the trash. I wish we didn't create so much trash. I wonder how much of a difference it makes that we burn our paper instead of putting it in the trash. Definitely a good choice to toss all the fruit and veggie scraps outside instead of in the trash can. Maybe someday I'll actually have a compost pile again, to use on the garden. Deer ate it all last time; bad location. Deer ... I'm so proud of Sam for bagging his first buck. Venison will be back from the processor in a few days. I wish Steve was here 'cause he'd cut it up himself and save the cost of processing. But at least we have the cash to pay to have it done. We have the cash because Steve is working, and having a job is a good thing. Do I miss working? What am I talking about? I still work every day, just not "out there." I work for my family. Part of what I do is home cooking and making shopping lists and following a budget so we can live on one income. Add flour to the shopping list. I should probably start stocking up on baking supplies with the holidays coming. Lots of flour 'cause I want to try my hand at making pies. With crusts from scratch. How can I be 35 years old and never made a pie? There are moms out there teaching their 5-yr-olds how to make pies. Mmmm, apple pie. Do I have enough apples for pie? What are the best kind of pie apples? Note to self: look up pie recipes next time I get on-line. Or maybe I should forage for apples. We have lots of trees around here. Then they'd be free(!) and we all know the best kind of apples are free apples. I'll check into that. Even if they're not good for pie I can make some applesauce and freeze it. Freezers ... I really need to make an inventory of what's left in the freezers and make sure there's room for venison. Make sure to add cinnamon to the applesauce if I make it, 'cause Rachel loves cinnamon. I'd love some nuts in the banana bread but the kids don't care for nuts. Maybe some with chocolate chips and some with nuts? I should just make it how I like it and if the kids don't like it they don't have to eat it. But this is what I planned for an after-school snack. What time is it? Will these be out of the oven before the kids get off the bus? Hey! I bet I can find a flashcards app on my phone. I really need to cut back on the kids' TV time. Some people live without TV and survive just fine - better, even. So they say. Ah well, my kids love TV and it's a great reward after they do their chores. Chores? When was the last time I paid them for their chores? I need to make a new chore list. Maybe it should include helping make dinner. But I'm home all day, I can make dinner. And breakfast, too. I should do a menu plan and do once-a-month cooking. Then we'd definitely need freezer space. Where's the damn dog? On my bed again. I give up! She needs a bath, though. Has she had her heartworm medicine this month? Check the calendar. Crap. School pictures coming up. Another check to write. What a racket. I really want to have family pictures taken sometime. I'd like to lose some weight first, and I'll never do that if I eat this banana bread. 'Cause I like mine with a lot of butter. But it's so much better than buying boxes of snack foods at the store; at least I know exactly what goes into this bread. Sugar. Like my kids need more of that. Maybe we should try cutting back. I can't control what they do when they're not here, though, so they're gonna' get sugar anyway. What time is it? They'll be home an an hour and a half. Should I be driving them to school? I'm not crazy about some of the things they hear on the bus. But it would be crazy to use all that gas when they can ride the bus for free. Man, I really wish I had a stand mixer. Definitely need to invest in one before we start making our Christmas cookies this year. Gotta' stock up on those supplies. Wouldn't it be fun to do a cookie exchange with some girlfriends? I'd really like to have a get-together. Need to do some cleaning, though. Put spray bottles on the shopping list so when I use up all the cleaning supplies I have I can make my own. Natural cleaners are a good thing. But I'm not crazy about the smell of vinegar. What's that candle over there? I should swap out summery scents with fall scents. I like these candles that are made in the USA. Pumpkin pie candles make me want pumpkin pie ... hmmm ... maybe I can teach myself how to make pumpkin pie. And make several, and put them in the freezer, for the holidays, when we'll be making cookies, and budgeting so we don't spend too much on stuff we don't need, and I'll be using that new mixer (hopefully) to whip up some bread dough but I'll be damned if I'll use sprouted grains. I can't do it all! Oooooh, warm banana bread.

And it goes on like this all. day. long.

Aren't you glad you're not inside my head? You'd probably get motion sick, or at least a little dizzy.

I hope all that blather helps me demonstrate a few things.
1. We can't do it all. Most of us have to make choices about how we're going to contribute to saving the planet and/or humanity. Are we going to go "green" with our choices in building materials, household cleaners, transportation, food consumption? Are we going to become activists for wildlife? Are we going to focus on the political aspect and encourage others to only elect leaders who make the environment and/or high moral values their focus? Will we homeschool our children? Start a farming co-op? Fight the power?

2. Parenting is tough. Mom, dad, single, married, co-habitants, alone, surrounded by family and friends, whatever. It's hard. A few years ago I flooded a social worker with questions upon questions about raising children and you know what I was told? Just the fact that I was thinking about how I parent and questioning some of these things was a pretty good indicator that I'm a good parent. Whew. Hello, validation. My children are fed and clothed and have a roof over their heads. And they eat red meat. And boxed cereal and chicken nuggets. And they drink Kool-Aid and juice boxes sometimes. And milk! And I don't make them wear bicycle helmets. But I let them use power tools and occasionally drive my pickup down the driveway. I say "I" because for the most part I do the parenting while Steve is away. *shrug* I think we're doing fine.

3. Perfectionism can be incapacitating. I like to call myself a recovering perfectionist. In the past, if I didn't have time to do something perfectly (or whatever my vision of perfect was), I wouldn't even get started. Dieting, hanging pictures on the wall, writing a letter, folding towels ... any number of things I wouldn't do because I didn't have the time or energy to make it perfect. I have learned that it's OK to do some things "good enough" and save the pickiness (is that even a word?) for the things that really matter to me. Bonus: this has freed me from being judgmental of others' imperfections. *ahem* Mostly. What can I say? I'm a work in progress.

4. Don't take it personally. If I don't see you stopped next to me at the light, or I don't look up from my list when you walk by me in the grocery store, I'm probably having one of those stream-of-consciousness moments. Go ahead and nudge me. (Well, not with your car, but tapping me on the shoulder in the grocery store is alright.) I might just appreciate the escape from my own brain.

Aaaaand, this seems like the perfect spot to stop rambling for the day! At least publicly. Rest assured it will continue in my head. And I really do need to get baking. Ciao for now!

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