Last winter I tried to economize my schedule. Things weren't getting done around the house and I was forgetting to do important things with/for the kids, so I stopped hanging out on the computer. I quit watching TV. I stopped writing. I stopped calling and talking to people. I stopped visiting my friends and family. I was falling behind in things that needed to be done, and so I saved time where I could. I cut out what wasn't completely essential. In some ways, it helped. I got dinner on the table. I caught up more on laundry. I've been able to get the house cleaned up more and be more on top of all of the kids' needs.
But I'm just now realizing the cost of giving up those things. I'm isolated. I'm tired. I'm sad. I have no time with my husband. And now I'm wondering which things are worth
I suddenly grasped how much I miss having time to waste earlier this week when I toured a local montessori school. I became so hopeful at the prospect of a few hours to myself. And I mean really, truly hopeful. It seemed like such a great solution. Here was this place where I could leave my kids for a short time each day, a place where I could feel like they were truly benefitting from the experience and in good hands. At the same time, I could also benefit from some time away. I'd give myself some time to refresh. Some time to relax. Sometime to regroup my soldiers and assess the battlefield before going back in for more.
I called my friend and talked excitedly about how great I thought it would be for the kids and how awesome it would be to have those two hours a day all alone. She asked me what I would do, and I surprised myself with the answer.
I would write in my blog. I'd go back to cooking new, fun dinners that I actually enjoy. I'd garden. I'd go to Target alone. I'd resume my emails to friends that were written just to say, "Hey, how are you doing?" I'd play VFW bingo or some other stupid thing with my mom.
When I did the budgetary math and realized that we couldn't afford to send William to school, I was crushed more than I'd like to admit. We just don't have an extra $800 a month to send the younger boys to Montessori.
Even just typing that, let alone clicking publish, makes me feel like a snob. I really do know we are fortunate. We have money in the bank for our retirement and our kids' future schooling. We can afford to pay our medical bills. We can afford food, clothing, a house, our cars, and so many other things. I KNOW we are so very very fortunate. But that doesn't mean I don't find myself wanting more, and I don't know how to stop that.
Everything seems to come at such great cost. I can save on things monetarily, but then I end up spending my time. To save my time means spending my money. I guess that's how the cliched "time is money" saying came about.
There is just SO MUCH out there that I'd like to spend money and time on. I'd love a bigger car to fit our whole family and a weeks' worth of groceries. Since we moved in five years ago, I've dreamt of having the holey walls patched and painted. Since William broke my computer months ago, I've wanted a new one. I want to take photos again, to play around editing them and sharing them. I would love to go on a weekend vacation to literally anywhere and just spend time with my husband.
When I saw the back-to-school ads I actually reminisced about how my dad used to take me clothes shopping and let me pick out the new clothes I wanted before school started. The only catch to our shopping trips was that he would always always always try to embarrass me in the store. At the time it was kind of horrible, but I now find myself wishing that I could go to the store and spend half the day trying things on with my dad and walking out with half a new wardrobe. And now it's something I have neither the time nor the money for.
Since realizing all of these things I've tried to think about what I can change, but I am stuck. We save money so that we can retire and be together. We save money so that our kids can go to school with less-than-crippling debt. I spend time doing the laundry, cooking dinner, reading to the kids, taking them to the doctor because, hello, what else can I do? Yet somehow, I still need to change something. I can see that I need a change but I don't yet know what that change should look like.
I start each day before 7am and when the kids go to bed at 7pm I am DONE. I might start the dishwasher or put away a last load of laundry but I don't have the energy to do much of anything, even something I enjoy. So I brush my teeth, climb into bed, and read a few chapters of my book until I can't keep my eyes open anymore. I'm often sound asleep by 8:30.