Mairsy Dotes

"No faith is as solid as a wounded faith."

Susan Boyle: THANK YOU April 16, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 4:42 pm

I’m sure most people have seen this by now, but this is the full version, so it’s worth watching. If you haven’t seen it yet: grab a kleenex and sit back and get ready to have your face rocked off.

Thank you, Susan Boyle, for having the courage to chase this dream down. For daring to stand in front of Simon Cowell in your ivory lace dress, your unplucked eyebrows, and your pantyhose. Thank you for standing there with your “cheeky grin” and opening your mouth and letting that amazing voice fly free.

I hope that I can teach my girls to be like you.

In other news: today, I popped into my old store to say howdy to folks. The District manager was there, and I’d not seen her since well before my decision to quit to stay home with the girls. She gave me a hug (very gratifying!) and asked how I was doing. I told her that I was utterly gobsmacked at how happy I was staying home with my girls, and that I’d expected to be crawling the walls at this point. She asked where the girls were, and I said they were at daycare today because it was Thursday.

She immediately poo-pooh’d my contentment with all things domestic by saying, “Well, that’s why you’re happy. You don’t have them all the time.” I laughed, agreed, and then later realized that REALLY bothered me.

I fully understand that there are women out there who have absolutely no desire to stay home with their children. They want and need to work outside the home. I fully grant them this freedom, and support them in their choice to do so.

I fully understand that there are women out there who want very much to stay home with their children, but can’t because their family needs them to bring home a paycheck, and so they go to work with lumps in their throats and let other women raise their children for them.

I fully understand that there are women out there who want nothing more than to spend their days surrounded by their children, laughing, teaching, playing, struggling, disciplining, soothing, smooching, chastising,  tearing out their hair.

If you asked me six weeks ago, I would say that I was a mixture of the first two, but mostly the first. I was wrong. Time is heavy on my hands on the days the girls are in daycare. I miss them. I find myself carrying nuks in my pocket for no reason, sniffing their little pjs before I put them away in the drawer, looking at pictures at them. It’s really quite lovesick, to be honest.

I just wonder why we as women can’t just support one another. I would never dream of making such a dismissive comment about the DM’s career decision. Some women want to work. I think they should. Some women want to be at home, but can’t. I hope their situation changes so they can do what they want. Some people find that having a parent home is well worth the sacrifices that it requires. They should be able to make those sacrifices without feeling like they’re somehow…unfit for doing so.

This isn’t one of those “I work hard, too, dammit!” SAHM posts. Really, I so enjoy staying home with the girls that what I do now feels like vacation compared to what I did before. But I just wonder why we have to tear one another down all the time.

It starts early…pretty much once a woman has two lines on her pee stick, we’re picking at one another. Find out the sex? Or not? Breastfeed? Bottle? Cloth or disposable diapers? Cosleep? Crib? Pacifier? Montessori school or Head Start, or let them be a kid until kindergarten? Activities? Or not?

No matter what decision a woman (and her partner) make about the care and feeding of their children, someone, somewhere will not hesitate to tell her she’s wrong to do it, or dismiss it as irrelevent, etc. I just think that’s sad. Like this job isn’t hard enough already.

 

Reflections on being mindful April 15, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 3:15 pm

As I was doing dishes this morning, I was thinking about the economic crisis, and how people are saying this is like the Great Depression. I don’t think that it’s that bad, but it’s certainly the worst recession I’ve ever lived through. And I don’t think that it is an entirely bad thing, what we’re going through.

I’ve shared on this blog that I’m trying to be the uber-domestic goddess (when I don’t get sucked into “America’s Next Top Model” marathons on Oxygen, anyway). Trying to be very economical, making sure that the dollars we have in our pot go further than they used to, etc. A huge part of that has been making meals that will either stretch into leftovers for lunches, or meals that will make into other meals in order to stretch our food dollars.

Today, I was doing a combination of both. I made spaghetti last week, and we still had sauce leftover. I put it in a Ziplock bag in order to freeze it, and realized that I could add the leftover hamburger patties from Sarah’s birthday party to the sauce thereby saving the sauce, the burger, and clearing space in the fridge. Quite smugly, I was cutting the burger into chunks and I realized that not only was I stretching dollars, I was stretching very tangible resources.

I thought about what it cost to raise the cow that made the hamburger, to slaughter it, to process it, to transport it to the Costco I bought it from. Not only in dollars, but in resources.  This time a year ago: I would have just left those burgers to sit in my fridge. Maybe someone would eat them, but more likely than not, they would end up getting thrown away. What a waste, in nearly every way! Waste of the life of the cow, waste of the grass/grain/ground up cow bits it ate, waste of the energy to process it, waste of the energy to transport it, waste of the energy it took us to cook it, waste of the money we spent to buy it, waste of the work it took us to earn the money to buy it.

Which led me to wonder just how much of our current environmental crisis is directly tied to our economic one. Maybe all of you have already had this epiphany, and are thinking, “Duh, Beege. Get with the program, you dumb blonde. Of COURSE the environment and the economy are tied together.” But it was quite a revelation to me.

We just got so wrapped up in disposable convenience. We didn’t drive cars until they wouldn’t drive anymore. We didn’t wear clothes until they had to be relegated to the ragbag for someone to then make a quilt or a rug out of. We didn’t think anything about jumping into our car to drive a block. We were happy to cook our food with microwaves and eat them out of little plastic trays because it was fast, cheap, and easy.

I’m wondering what all that speed, thrift, and ease is going to end up costing us in the long run.

I told M I’m enjoying being home because it makes my inner hippie chick happy. Lots of the SAHMs I know are also a bit on the granola side…Annie even makes her own cheese and butter, and raises chickens (and is kinda my hero for all that). Me? I’m cleaning with vinegar, lemons, and hot water. In a few weeks I plan to put in a garden and in a few months I plan on preserving the harvest that I (hopefully) will reap. As I worked, I found myself thinking about my Gram, and how not one scrap goes to waste. She makes these CRAZY soups that my brothers and I used to make fun of, but now I see: stretching the food as far as it would go. A mother of five and the wife of a farmer didn’t have the luxury of throwing away food because she didn’t want to eat it anymore. What she DID have was the luxurious knowledge of  just how much work that food required, and she valued it because of it. Odds were good she’d raised the vegetables on the table, milked the cow that provided the milk in her children’s glasses, and helped slaughter the chicken she served for Sunday dinner.  She’s STILL making quilts that have bits of my great-grandmothers’ dresses in them (and they’ve been dead for decades).

I’m glad that my being fiscally responsible is helping me be environmentally responsible, too. I want to teach the girls that it’s a good thing to be able to make four different dishes out of leftover hamburger patties, that clothes aren’t unwearable because a seam popped, and why their leaving the water running while they are brushing their teeth drives their mother crazy almost instantly.

Becoming a SAHM has been good for me. It’s forced me to slow down. It’s forced me to think. It’s forced me to really examine the life that I live, and wonder if I will be leaving the girls a better world than I inherited. I hope so. Every little bit helps, right? It’s brought me to the realization that we are all interconnected in ways we can’t even begin to imagine, and that what impacts one of us, ends up impacting all of us in some way, shape, or form.

Now let’s all gather ’round, and sing some Kum Ba Yah. 😉

 

Rar. Crabby. April 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 12:06 pm

The Beege is crabby today.

I woke up at midnight to Sarah screaming, “No! NO! NOOOOOOOO!” at the top of her almost-two-year-old lungs. Envisioning some cape-clad villian trying to steal her so he could tie her to some railroad tracks, I raced into her room, adreneline pumping, primed to do battle with whomever was daring to lay a finger on her sweet wee self, only to find her struggling with her father. He was trying to give her the bottle she woke up asking for. She (apparently) was unwilling to take it from anyone but me. So I gave her her bottle, and then she wrapped her little arms around me like a little lemur baby and pleaded, “Mommy snugg-o Saysa, pwease?”  (“Saysa” is how she says “Sarah”. So now we all call her Saysa. She will probably graduate from high school thinking her name is Saysa.) I was powerless against the tenacious baby-arms of need, so I crawled into bed with her, got her all snuggled up against me, and tried to sleep.

Sleeping with tenacious baby-arms of need? Not so much happening. Heaven forbid I move even a milimeter away from her. She’d wake up crying, “No, Mommy snugg-o Saysa!”

So, I’m crabby because I’m tired. I’m crabby because we’re overdrawn at the bank, and I’m really confused as to where the hell the money went so damn fast. I’m worried, because we’ve still got outstanding bills that need to be paid. I’m upset, because I’m afraid Sarah’s birthday this weekend will suck wookie because her parents are financial retards. I’m also PMSing. All these ingredients add up to a savory bitch stew, and my children are getting a heaping helping of it.

So unfair.

So I’m self-medicating with coffee, and Barber’s Adagio. I might have to switch that out to something a little more hardcore, and vacuum my blues away. We’ll see.

 

Thank you, I’m full. April 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 5:21 pm

So, my last day of work was a month ago tomorrow.  For the last week and a half, I’ve been in 100% SAHM-mode, because Miss Katie was on vacation. The girls will finish out the month of April going to Miss Katie on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then I will just have them home with me all the time. Even Tuesday and Thursdays ended up being $500 a month, and frankly: that just felt decadent. To spend $500 a month, just so I could have two days a week to myself? What other parent has that? Not many. And when they increased the price of our health insurance by a third, it made it MUCH more difficult to justify.

But those two days were kind of like a safety net for me. A way to say, “You won’t have them with you all the time. You’ll get a break. You’ll be fine. You can DO this.”

But I’ve found I don’t NEED that time away from them like I expected to. I like being with my kids. I like feeling fulfilled, rather than feeling like I’ve got multiple areas of responsiblity and I’m dropping the ball in ALL of them. I arranged those Tuesdays and Thursdays so I could feed myself, so that I could handle the other five days a week I “had” to have the girls, but I’ve learned that being with them feeds me just fine, thank you very much.

That’s not to say it’s been all glitter and monkeys. It hasn’t. I had one day when I was about three seconds away from calling Boss Lady and begging for my job back. But I was hormonal, and Sarah was developing a double ear infection. Menstruation and antibiotics cleared that all right up.

I like what I do. I like being home with my children, raising them, teaching them, laughing with them, guiding them. I like doing the domestic goddess schtick, too. And I know that the family appreciates having me at the helm, mainly so they don’t have to figure out which one of them is supposed to be in charge. I am.

So, you know: life is good. Money is tighter than it was when I was working full time, but it’s better than it was when I was working part time. The girls have finally stopped asking to go out for lunch every damn day (that used to be our “thing” on my days off…I’d try and compensate for not spending much time with them by trying to make the time I DID spend with them “special”). Today, when we were out at Costco, Linnea suggested going home and making “bow ties and cheese” for lunch. Normally, she would have begged to go to McDonald’s. Incidentally: we went to McDonald’s, but she was SURPRISED, which was nice.

So now, I have an assignment for you, should you choose to accept it.

I have taken the role of “Household Manager/Home Economist” for myself. I want and need your tips on cutting corners, scouting out bargains, stretching dollars and pinching pennies ’til they scream. I’ve never done anything like this. I am crap at managing money. I will learn. Here’s what I’m doing so far:

*I will be planting a garden once it warms up. We’ve got the space for it all prepped. I hope to use the garden to not only supplement our food supply, but to teach the girls a little bit about where food comes from, why it’s best to grow your own if you can, and buy locally if you can’t. A little bit of botany, a little bit of cooking. I’m hoping if they help GROW the veggies, they’ll be interested in EATING the veggies. We’ll see. 🙂

*I’m slowly, painfully weaning my family off shower gel and onto bar soaps. You can get so much more soap for your money than you can shower gel, plus you reduce your waste. My problem: are there any “tear free” soaps out there? Sarah still gets soap in her eyes pretty regularly, and I would like to find something that would be pretty mild.

*I’ve learned to sew! It’s not necessarily any cheaper than buying the girls clothes at Wal*Mart, but I can rest easy knowing that less of my $$ is going to line the pockets of Wal*Mart’s corporate fat cats. Oddly enough, I’m still 100% OK with lining the pockets of Target’s fat cats. I think that’s because Target freaking rocks.

*I plan to do some canning this summer. We live smack dab in the middle of orchards and vineyards! It’s foolish to not take advantage of that. I’d also like to try my hand at freezer jam, and save some $$ there, too.

*We’re already saving a bundle by not purchasing convenience foods. We don’t need them. I’m home all day, the inconvenient food gives me something to do.

*I’ve tried clipping coupons, but the only coupons I can find are for highly-processed convenience foods or cleaning products that I don’t want to spend my money on anyway. Sure, it’s great that I can get Totino’s Pizza rolls for a dollar off, but I don’t WANT Totino’s Pizza rolls. Is there some place I can get good, decent, USABLE coupons?

*I’m going to ask my dad to hang more clothes line so that I don’t have to run the clothes dryer as much this summer. That will save us a bundle on our energy bills. Plus, I’m going to encourage the family to keep the thermostat set to 80* to help our energy costs, too. And 80* is not that hot. If you need a blankie to stay warm, you’re keeping your A/C cranked too high.

*I clean primarily with vinegar and hot water. I also use Mrs. Meyer’s, if I don’t want the house to smell like a big pickle. Mrs. Meyer’s is spendy, but good. Vinegar is cheap, and better.

So that’s about what I’ve come up with for corner-cutting-dollar-stretching-penny-pinching. What other tips do you have? How are you cutting back?

Can’t wait to get some tips! Alicia? I’m talking to YOU, girl! 😉