So here we are, already at the end of our first month of Extreme Self-Care and Cheryl Richardson’s invitation to End the Legacy of Deprivation.
Over the past month, I’ve learned that my biggest resentments are around housework and cooking, that I crave unstructured time, and that I only allow myself to rest when I’m sick.
So what do I do with that information?
Well, around the housework/cooking thing, my ‘perfect day scenario’ has someone who loves cooking and cleaning taking care of those things for me. (I especially love it when I envision hir delivering a cup of tea and a muffin half way through my morning of writing – sigh – or when I walk into the kitchen after a day of creating and (s)he has a healthy, delicious meal waiting for me – deeper sigh.)
Until that day arrives, however, I need to come up with another plan.
I considered hiring a housekeeper, but I am the mother of two teenage boys. It is very important to me that they learn how to cook and clean so that when they leave our nest for the big, wide world they are able to competently take care of their own basic needs. I’ve seen too many young men and women blindsided by the reality of living on their own.
So we sat down as a family and talked about all the things that needed to happen in order for the household to run smoothly and then divided up the duties on the resulting list among the four of us.
Some teaching/coaching needs to happen in some areas, but this division of labor has already opened up some time for me and has eliminated tons of resentment.
This process is also providing me the opportunity to let go of my need for perfection – a side ‘benefit’ of this shift that I’m still grappling with.
As for the cooking, each of the men in my life has taken over cooking one supper a week, they just need to tell me what they will be cooking so I can be sure we have the ingredients on hand. And as of this weekend, I will start teaching them how to cook our traditional Sunday morning pancake breakfast so that, in the very near future, I’ll only be manning the flipper one Sunday in four. I’m looking forward to schlepping up to the table after a full morning of ‘nothing much’ on the other three Sundays of the month.
That also ties in very well with the whole rest thing that is such a challenge for me. Last weekend, when I was gifted with a trip down memory lane and the menstrual cramps of my youth, I actually lay on my living room couch in the middle of the day and stared out the window at the sky. I never lay on the living room couch.
A day later, I wrapped myself in my favorite blankie, put the footrest up on the Lazyboy (I never put the footrest up on the Lazyboy), reclined it and just lay there with my eyes closed, stroking the cat in my lap. No music. No educational CD. NO BOOK! Just me and the cat and not even very much in the thought department.
It was very nice.
Maybe if I can learn to do this on a regular basis, maybe even daily (gasp!) my body won’t be compelled to get sick in order to get my attention and some rest.
As for the discovery of my yearning for unscheduled time – I’ve been experimenting with my relationship to time two ways. First, by looking at my to-do list before bed so I know what I’m wanting to accomplish (and maybe do some prep work in my sleep) and then doing my best not to rush the next day, but moving from item to item slowly and mindfully, pausing after one thing is completed and sitting quietly until I get a sense of what wants to happen next. Amazingly, I’m finding that I get more done on those days than on the days I take anxiety’s lead and rush about madly.
The second thing I’ve been experimenting with is scheduling all my out-in-the-world appointments on two days of the week, leaving the remaining three free to work in that more organic way that is so much more nourishing to me.
So that’s my take home from this month’s exploration.
What have you discovered in the quest to end the legacy of deprivation?