Forgive me blogger for I have sinned. It's been 3 (or so) weeks since my last post. You see, Mr. B has been at home so there's been no real reason to write to you since he's pretty much the only one who reads this anyway. I'm sorry. I'll try to be more diligent in my ramblings.
Ahhh... the holidays are over, I'm back to work, the Magpie and the little Prince are back to school, and Mr. B is also gone again. He's back at the hangar, working so hard to provide for us. We are indeed a lucky bunch to have someone who loves us so much. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Django-bee is also back at daycare. He's as pleased as punch about that and that makes me happy too. I wonder, exactly how pleased IS punch, really? Hmm.
Yes, it's all over but there will be no crying this time. A simple Christmas it was and just as we had hoped, in keeping things small and in perspective it was by far the best Christmas we've had in a very long time. This shall be the goal every year. Our shopping was done in two simple trips (without the use of any credit cards except for about $100 and that's only because the store wouldn't take anything larger than a $20 and I only had $50 bills left), a few things were handmade by me, and lots of food was enjoyed by all. Other than Mr. B's Christmas party, we did not make plans to go anywhere or do anything that could not be changed if we decided we just weren't up to keeping a rigid schedule and despite the fact that I'm still trying to kick this horrible cold, it was pretty darn relaxing. A relaxing holiday is a bit of a novelty in our house. I think I like it!
So now it's a new year and resolutions need to be made. Yes, I'm aware that we're already a week into the new year but one must not rush these things. I resolve to be "better". That's it. It's simple and it's general. It can fit any situation really without setting any specific expectations that may be too easy or impossible to meet. Instead, I just challenge myself to be better at anything that I'm not currently 100% satisfied with. Be better with my money. Be better at organizing my house. Take better care of my body. Be better at ignoring negativity and focusing on happy things, lovely things. Be a better friend, a better mother, a better wife. I know that seems like a tall order especially after stating that it was a "simple" resolution but it is. Being better doesn't mean being the BEST. It simply means improving. Even if it's just a little bit, it still is better than before.
Here are a few (or five) examples.
1. We started this before the new year but we've become very aggressive with this goal. Instead of Mr. B eating in restaurants while he's away, I cook and pack all of his meals. He left with almost 60 of them this time. I'm satisfying a few of my goals with this particular act. It's tremendously less expensive so that's being better with our money and also, I'm feeding my husband home cooked meals while he's living between an airplane hangar and a hotel. In some tiny measure, I feel like a better wife for having done that for my husband.
2. I pack my lunch and bring my own tea bags to work. That's not a huge savings but it is being better with my money.
3. Now that they are older, I talk to my kids about things that some parents don't always tell their kids about. I think it's important for them to know how money works - what needs to be paid to keep a house running and how to ensure that there's money left at the end of the month instead of the other way around and what the consequences are if you don't. Rather than just hand out chore lists and pay them for their efforts, I explain to them why they need to do chores and that in helping me out, they are in turn learning the basic skills they require to take care of themselves and their own families some day. Maybe I'm off my nut but I think that someday, they'll appreciate that I was so honest with them. Sure, they don't need to know every detail but there is no Home Economics course out there that can rival my true life experience that I'm offering my children. It takes me minutes a day but I think it's making me a better mother. After all, it's not just my job to ensure my kids are fed and clothed, isn't it also my job to ensure they can take proper care of themselves and be responsible adults when my turn is over?
4. I'm going to bed at a more reasonable hour, making better food choices, and drinking more water. I'm not regimenting or depriving myself of anything, I'm simply taking better care of my body than I have been. Simple.
5. I am no longer allowing myself to get drawn into family or friendly drama. I'm fortunate that I no longer have much of that around me, but it creeps in every now and then when I'm not careful. Poison spreads faster than honey and I will not be a vessel to speed it's infection. We cannot change what other people feel or think so the best we can do is be the change we would like to see. Be the honey, I say! We'll either be successful or will learn a valuable lesson about how important we are, or are not, to those in question. Let's be clear, I'm not adverse to helping loved ones solve their issues but there is a big difference between someone wanting help and and just wanting someone to share the hatred. Some things just aren't worth arguing about and some people cannot be reasoned with. I resolve to accept and thus, be a better friend. I'll also be better to myself by blocking out the negative. "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference."
This is just a taste. There is so much more in the works that will take so little time, but make such a huge impact.
Part of the reward of being better with our money is that we'll be able to afford a family trip. So, if you'll excuse me the little travelocity gnome is waiting to help me figure out a budget for the kids and I to work on this year.