Time

timeflies

I’m not too fond of the excuse “I don’t have time…”. While I’m sympathetic to the fact that most of us are stretched too thin and time is our most precious commodity, I think what erks me about it is that people make time to do the things that are a high priority for them. As someone who strives to get the most out of each and every day – being a good wife, quality time with my kids, a full-time job, cooking dinner every night, the kids’ extracurricular activities, blogging, the dishes, the laundry, etc., etc. – hearing “I don’t have time to do this/that/the other” just kind of hits me wrong. The more accurate statement, in my opinion, is that doing this/that/the other is not a high priority for some, and so it’s an active choice to not devote time to it. And that’s okay. We can’t do it all, but own your choices.

Over the last couple of months, blogging has lagged a bit on my list of priorities. I’m sorely behind. I’ve got recipes and stories to share, but I have been needed more in my other roles and so I haven’t made the time for it. At the end of the each night I face a decision – do I sit down and write, or do I spend time with my husband who is home more now… or go do prep for tomorrow night’s dinner… or pick up a little more around the house… or go to sleep. And more often than not lately, the alternatives have won out. So I have a camera full of food pics, a note pad full of recipes and a brain full of kiddo stories that are just hanging around, waiting until I make the time (or get the energy) to share them.

When I started blogging, I said that I never wanted to do it out of obligation. I never wanted to feel like I had to meet some expectation for how often I post or what I write. I wanted it to be just about me. And I’ve stuck to that. But what I didn’t anticipate was having a never ending supply of material but having the constraints of a mommy schedule and priorities that have made it hard to make the time to share.  I want to write about my boys playing tiny tot football and my husband winding up their head coach. I want to write about how I set a goal for myself to cook a home cooked meal on practice nights when I need to have dinner cooked in 20 minutes (which I’ve successfully done the last 6 Tuesdays and Thursdays!). I want to share those recipes to help other busy moms faced with the same weeknight dilemma – and I will, at some point. But the funny thing about time and choices, is that I had the time tonight and chose to write about this instead. So again, no excuses.

And not to get off on too much of a tangent, but perhaps what rubs me wrong isn’t so much about the semantics of the time excuse, but perhaps it excuses period. I think we live in a world where people spend so much time making excuses for themselves and their actions – rejecting ownership – falling victim to their circumstances, that it’s downright annoying. Like so many others, I didn’t come from the storybook childhood, but I had choices. I made choices. Some of them were good and some were bad, but the ones that counted got me to where I am today. No excuses. I continue to lead my life that way. Life is unfair. We don’t all have endless supplies of time or money… and some sort of misfortune falls into all of our laps. But I refuse to go around proclaiming “I don’t have the money to do such and such…” (no, it should be I choose not to spend the money I have on such and such) or “I can’t to do such and such…” (no, it should be I choose not to learn how to do such and such, or darn it, I don’t want to!) or “It’s too hard” or “No one will help me” or “I don’t have time”. It’s all the same really. It’s an easy way out. It stops us from examining the real reasons for our circumstances. It’s a good enough answer that keeps us from our full potential. And it’s something I’m probably guilty of from time to time. But I’ve never let a bit of hypocrisy keep me from speaking my peace, so I won’t stop now. 😉

So think about it the next time you feel an excuse about to roll off your tongue. Be honest with yourself (and others) about your priorities and your reasons. Own it. It will feel good and authentic. I promise.

 

 

Are my kids your birth control?

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I’ve had several friends tell me that reading my blog and all of the “fun” I’m having with my boys has given them second thoughts about parenthood (just a delay, I hope – I don’t think I’m sending anyone to get fixed just yet). First of all, this does not offend me. Not in the least. I get it. Kids are a handful. Especially mine. If I had read this stuff years ago, it may have given me a little pause too. From an outsider looking in, sometimes it may seem that I live in a hell made by the little demons I created. And sometimes, that’s not far off. But most the time, being a parent (even of sometimes challenging children), is just awesome. It really is. Especially when they’re sleeping, or at school, or with their grandparents (I kid, I kid).

When I started blogging, I wasn’t sure exactly what I’d write about. I knew some of it would be food, and some of it would be kids, but I’ve learned along the way what inspires me to write. When I cook something that makes me think oh my gosh this is the best thing ever, I get excited to share it and it’s easy to post. And likewise, when my kids make me want to pull my hair out, or when I find myself in some sort of comical situation (and usually the laugh or else you’d cry kind of comedy), I feel compelled write as well. I thought my stories would resonate with my friends who are in a similar phase of life, but I didn’t realize I’d be helping the others save on contraceptives. You’re welcome. But to be frank, the really good days are just not that interesting… unless of course I’ve set us up for a certain meltdown and my kids shock the hell out of me and act like angels. And yeah, that hasn’t happened yet, but when it does, I’m sure I’ll want to write about that too.

And I’ve also got a real pet peeve about people who act like it’s super easy all the time. They are liars. I appreciate honesty and authenticity, and so if I sat here and didn’t write about my real experience as a parent, the hypocrisy would eat me alive! (I’ve got no issue with dramatization, however). And so I give you all the truth as I live it. But since some of that truth – when they are good listeners and have a good day at school, or when they are obedient and easy going – isn’t all that sexy, I don’t feel compelled to write about it.  So my friends, it’s really not all gasoline spills and markers on the walls, nor is it licking used gum off the sidewalk or pushing each other down the stairs. No, no, sometimes it’s just sweet and simple and pure joy. I promise, the good outweighs the bad. You will be happy to get them to bed every night, but even happier to see their smiling faces in the morning… unless of course it’s before 6am… details, details.

 

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How do you have time to blog?

I’ve gotten this question a lot – how do you have time to blog?  If you’ve read any of my kid-related posts, you know that I’ve seriously got my hands full.  However, I would not call myself a super-mom.  The truth is that my blogging (and cooking, for that matter) are things that I really enjoy doing and so I make time for them.  Everyone has things that they make time for – exercise, sleep, reading, Facebook, TV – no judgment at all on how people choose to use their time, but my point is that I choose to make time in my day for the things that make me happy.  These things, I realize, don’t make everyone happy – to some the thought of making dinner every night is a chore, for me, it’s a challenge, it’s fun and it feels great to feed my family good food.  Regardless of what you choose to fill your day, everything comes with a set of sacrifices or trade-offs.  For me, blogging each night after the boys go to bed means:

1) I go to sleep later

2) I do less housecleaning at night

3) I don’t watch as much TV

4) I spend less time on Facebook and Pinterest

There is really something to finding what interests you and going for it. I watched my husband find a love for getting fit and working out and saw how that made such a positive change in him.  When he first started and was at the gym every single night, I have to admit that a part of me was resentful that he had the opportunity for such an outlet, while I was “stuck” at home.  So I did some soul searching to figure out what would make me happy.  Lord knows it wasn’t going to be working out – so that was off the list!  But when I thought hard about it, I discovered that sharing my experiences as a parent (especially to those who can relate), sharing my love for cooking, and (one day, when I make the time) sharing my other creative ventures gets me jazzed up.  Wouldn’t you know, once I started writing and blogging, my attitude toward my husband instantly changed.  My resentment turned to admiration and understanding.  And I think because he gets it, he has been really supportive of my venture too.

So how do I have time to blog? I found some of the time hiding and I stole a little here and there.  Turns out that when you find something that really motivates you, it’s more of a question of how could you not have the time to do it?  You are in charge of your priorities – you get to choose what they are and the order in which they fall.  Blogging is by no means at the top – my family and my day job are certainly the frontrunners.  But the good thing is that I live in a world where you can truly have it all – and that, my friends, is what I am striving to have.

Jessice and Blake

You’re Inspiring a Blog Post

So I have a new saying in my house – you’re inspiring a blog post.  My latest remark to the things my boys (husband included) do that make me shake my head.  It came out naturally the other night when my husband Blake asked me if I’d seen his cell phone. I told him it was upstairs on my nightstand. Fast forward an hour or so and I asked him if he found his phone. His response – it’s not on your nightstand.  A couple of things to know here… 1) I have a photographic memory and 2) Blake has established a reputation for not being able to find things that are right in front of him.  I mean to tell you that if something isn’t front and center, bouncing around with a spotlight on it, he can’t find it. No lie.  So I was naturally skeptical. I followed him upstairs to investigate the situation and what do I find? His cell phone, on my nightstand, underneath a clear plastic bag. My immediate response to him? You’re inspiring a blog post.

Jess and Blake Caricature

Ever since I started this blog a couple of weeks ago, I look at my day-to-day life determining what is story-worthy.  It’s been a refreshing experience. Sometimes I have to really think about it, and sometimes I’m handed little gems like that. Thank you honey.  I began my blogging journey very open to wherever the inspiration took me. I honestly thought it would be more about food with occasional anecdotes about the kids.  So far it’s been the opposite.  A couple of contributing factors – I’ve had a lot of thoughts on the adventures of parenting floating in my head for a while, and this blog provided the platform for me to articulate them. Secondly, while I do cook most nights, it’s not always blog-worthy.  It is hard to cook a real meal when you have a screamer hanging on to your leg.  So weekday food experiments may be hard to come by.  Who knows where this thing will go. I have no idea how often I’ll post – it probably won’t be consistent. One thing I do know is that it will always be authentic. If I don’t have anything genuine to post, I just won’t post. Thank you to everyone who has given such positive feedback – this has been a great outlet so far!