I mean this literally, of course, but I also think it's a good metaphor. I can make something instead of buy it if I want to. I can savor a sweet treat if I think it's worth it. I do have time for the things I want to do if I prioritize.
this recipe, cream cheese frosting and all.
I have the tendency to act like I am a victim of everyone else's schedule. And sometimes, I really do feel that way, believe me. But it is also true that I have a ton of flexibility and autonomy when it comes to blocking out my days. Even though I can't go to work until the kids leave and I need to be home for them most days, there's a lot of time each day that is screaming for me to fill it with work and writing and wonderful lunches with friends. And I do have time for all of those things.
A couple of years ago, I read Brigid Schulte's Overwhelmed, which I completely recommend. It is a fascinating look at time and how we spend it. SO much of that book resonated with me, and I felt carving out a livable life was totally impossible because of the structural barriers to happiness. Then, as you know, I fell in love with Gretchen Rubin whose very bootstrappy approach to happiness convinced me that I could use the master's tools to tear down the master's house anyway. And I sort of could, if I ignored the fact that the whole game is rigged against me because patriarchy. Or, as bell hooks reminds us, white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, if you want to put a finer point on it.
So, what do I do to fight the overwhelm and fill my day with the things I love?
- Well, part of it is a reframe like I wrote about in this sappy Madison Mom post: https://madisonmom.com/loveslaborfound/
- Another thing that helps me is to have a packed lunch calendar. I have 5 friends whom, I see monthly, and I try to schedule a couple of one-off lunches every month as well. This amounts to more than a lunch a week, and I love it.
- I schedule time to read. I know this sounds silly, but the Goodreads annual challenge has really helped me prioritize reading, which is a huge happiness booster for me.
- I try to have one day a week where I can work from home and have no housework to get in the way. It is easier for me to squish the housework into my already crazy commute days, and then I get one day to live in my pajamas until moments before the kids come home.
- Instead of the thankless chore of grocery shopping, Jack and I have a day date to buy food every Saturday. He loves to shop and is super helpful, and I cross two things off my list: getting actual groceries (duh) and spending time with my favorite 6th grader.
- PODCASTS. I listen when I am tidying the house before I go to work, on my way to work, and as I scramble to my class in the morning. Two new ones I am hooked on are Dolly Parton's America and Office Ladies.
What do you do to make sure you have fun in the middle of the weekday rush?