A big welcome to my friend Stephanie, The Cheapskate Cook, who generously offered to guest post for me as I’m in the middle of moving and re-settling. I’m currently tied up in knots at the DMV where I need 5 – yes, 5 – personal documents (that pretty much exhausts my repertoire of personal documents) just to transfer my drivers’ license. So while I’m waiting in line at the DMV, you can enjoy Stephanie’s thoughts on recovering from the flu.
The flu came to visit my house. Not just a quick visit, An extended one. The kind that drags on and on and until you can’t remember the last time you left the house and everyone was healthy at the same time and you ran out of easy food two days ago but no one feels healthy enough to go buy more, so you’re stuck dragging yourself to your feet and whipping together whatever you can that you still have ingredients for, and it doesn’t matter if this is what you eat for all three meals, because it’s probably all gonna come back out again in some nasty way.
So our lives were stripped down to basics for a few days: sleep, eat, drink, sleep, change diapers, sleep.
And that’s about all we did. And TV. Lots of TV.
When we have weeks like this, I’m really hard on myself. My husband and I are down to our last nerves, trying to hold it together and take care of the kids and each other. We’re not actually mad at each other, but the reality is, the only people around to get mad at is… each other.
The kids watch far too much TV. Not only are they sick and listless, but if we dare turn off the tube in an attempt to rally something constructive (or at least non-electric), it’s amazing how quickly those listless kids muster the strength to protest.
Am I the only one in that boat? Am I the only one who’s had to call a time out on everything but the basics of life?
Interestingly, this time the worst part wasn’t the stage where we were really sick. It was easy to prioritize then. It was easy to only do what needed to get done.
It was when we were recovering that I melted down. It was during that awkward middle ground where we just weren’t healthy enough to do everything… but all I could see was everything that needed to get done.
The laundry piled high (flu laundry at that – ugh), dishes piled higher (if possible); I didn’t remember the last time the floor had been swept or vacuumed. And food? We’d eaten crackers for three days straight, Not even good, slightly less-processed crackers. Just saltines. For three days.
Oh, where to start?
Somewhere between pushing myself too hard one morning and laying around like a plague victim that afternoon, I realized something.
Sometimes I can’t do it all. Sometimes – wait, no-matter-what-the-time, I can’t do everything that needs to be done. I can’t do everything I think my kids deserve, that my husband deserves. I can run my self ragged trying to chase it all.
I can however, choose what is important to me and my family. I can choose what I will put my precious 24 hours a day to. And I can let the rest go.
In the quest for authentic simplicity is the beauty to choose. To decide to do things homemade, natural, organic, and sometimes to decide to buy pre-made and conventional. It’s our choice. It’s our simplicity, and it’s our job to choose it.
So the next day, after peeling myself out of bed, I chose to hold my sick little toddler and cuddle him on the couch. I chose to listen to my body and lean more on my Heavenly Father. I chose to look at picture books with my kids (reading was out the question because I had lost my voice). I chose to serve leftover chicken and rice soup for both lunch and dinner because, well, I chose to do some laundry instead of make dinner. And yes, I chose to turn on the TV. One step at a time. One choice at a time.
And you know what? I felt much, much better.
When Stephani and her husband got married, they lived in a renovated shed and had a grocery budget that matched. As a passionate whole-foodie, Stephani was determined to continue eating healthy, minimally-processed foods on their shoestring budget. So The Cheapskate Cook was born. You can follow the fun on her blog, where healthy meets frugal, or keep up with it via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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