Back to school. They don’t ease you into it. Like many other families, our family is sprinting. If we run fast enough, we MIGHT be able to keep up with all the stuff. I’m not a fast runner.
This week I was proactive. I told myself on Sunday that this week wouldn’t beat me. I wrote our menu down on Sunday afternoon. I made my menu selections based on what was already in the fridge. I’m really very clever. Here is what I chose:
Monday – Chicken Tacos/lettuce/tomatoes/re-fried beans
Tuesday – Chicken Enchiladas (with leftover chicken – presumably) lettuce, tomatoes
Wednesday – Spaghetti with rice noodles/salad
Thursday – Egg and sausage muffins/broccoli/yogurt w/fruit
Friday – Homemade Pizza (grain free crust)/salad
I wish I could have tasted those meals. I bet they would have been good. Here’s what we ate instead:
Monday – Don’t know. Worked late.
Tuesday – Don’t know. Worked late. (Culver’s drive through for me).
Wednesday – Broasted Chicken from Costco. I think I told the kids to grab a handful of raw carrots for their veggie.
Thursday – Chicken wins again. This time I made it. I also sauteed vegetables. I made this meal after the football game. It was done by 9pm. When it was finished, everybody was too tired to eat.
Friday – Thursday’s chicken for Scott and me. McDonald’s for the kids.
I know. Just all together impressive. Feel free to print off a copy of this menu for your family.
In terms of being busy, this week was not exactly typical. This was a burn the candle at both ends type of week. I’m not good at burning the candle at both ends. I’m going to own that fact right now. If I was your surgeon, and you needed emergency surgery that lasted all night, that would be bad for you. There’s a good chance you would die. I would look around at all the nurses and medical people at 5pm, and I’d be like, “I’d love to keep working on this guy, but has anyone seen the clock? It’s quitting time. Besides, this guy’s insides seem good enough to me. He’ll be okay for the night. Let’s pick this up again at 8:00 A.M. tomorrow. I might grab some coffee on my way in, so maybe more like 8:15.”
Did you see that funny saying that goes, “I don’t want to work hard/play hard. I want to work medium and play my DVR.” Sometimes those sayings just really make me emotional. They so capture my deepest yearnings.
I am NOT feeling sorry for myself because I had a crazy week. I hope you don’t think that. I wouldn’t do that to you. I love that someone thinks I’m worthy of being employed. I love that I have money in my wallet to buy Culver’s and Broasted chicken when there are no minutes to make dinner. I love that there’s food in the refrigerator for my family to find and eat when no one makes them dinner.
I never realized until lately what strong feelings I have about the act of feeling sorry for yourself. It’s just a thing I really hate. And, I know hate’s a bad word. I think it might be the right word to use here. Now that I’ve discovered this thing I hate, I hope I don’t go overboard. I don’t want to ruin my kids.
Generally, I’m pretty soft on my kids. They’ve even told me they wished I’d throw down the hammer a little harder, especially on their siblings. I’m more likely to throw down a cotton ball.
I’m not really a tough love parent, but then, maybe I am. I can’t listen to my people feel sorry for themselves. I’m pretty hard on anyone in my house who does that.
Teenagers have plenty of things that don’t go their way: Dads ride them about getting their homework done and making plans for their lives, they sprain their ankles, they make the “B” team, they don’t get the solos (even though they try out every single year). I’m just pulling from a random pile here. Totally unrelated to anything going on in our house (just go with it).
When my kids are sad, I’m sad. I want them to be happy. But, have you ever seen someone round that corner from sad to self pity? That right there is what I won’t have. I just tell my kids, “Stay where you are. Don’t go around that corner. It’s dark around that corner. You won’t find any solutions there.”
Sometimes, I’m surprised to find that I feel a little harsh.
I think maybe I’d be more sympathetic, but instead I want to be happy. I want my kids to know how to be happy too. Happiness doesn’t materialize without warning. You don’t win happiness like you win the lottery. You have to learn HOW to be happy. Happiness is a skill. You choose happiness. The more you choose happiness, the easier it is to be happy. Happiness is powerless to show itself in the presence of self pity.
I want to believe my kids see this. I think they do. Before school, Olivia was telling me that at practice she was almost certain she was going to learn she made the “B” team…again. I kissed her forehead and put her sweet face between my hands.
I said, “Honey, I know that will sting a little. Remember to ask yourself if what is making you sad is a real problem. Does this troubling thing have something to do with poverty, hunger, war or abuse (probably not an exhaustive list…but for the sake of my point)? If it doesn’t, then there’s a good chance it’s not a real problem. It’s a disappointment or an obstacle. It’s an opportunity. Embrace it. You have just been given a chance to become stronger, learn new things or meet someone new.”
Olivia said, “I know, Mom.” Then, she smiled. I am SO relieved she knows.