Sunday, January 6, 2013

10 things I won't change in 2013

This week's Monday Listicle topic was chosen by our hostess, Stasha, and I found it very soothing. Lately I've been feeling really down about how I suck at well, everything, and it cheered me up to go through this list of things I have no intention of changing in 2013.

For 2013, I resolve not to stop...

1) Putting my family before my career
With our daycare costs at $2,400/month, I sometimes wonder if I should have taken that fast-track position in a mid-size public accounting firm. I'd be making at least $20-$30K more than now, with a possibility of partnership and the big bucks. We could afford to have a date night occasionally and our house wouldn't be filthy, because we could pay for a cleaning service. We could set up university savings accounts for the kids and finish the basement so they could have a big playroom space all their own. Other than me never actually seeing my husband or children, it would be great.

2) Working out at least three times a week
Yes, my fitness classes take time away from my family. Without them I'm so unpleasant that my husband practically drives me to the gym and pushes me out of the car. They're not just enjoyable; they're necessary.

3) Watching TV
As someone who grew up without a TV (my parents didn't believe in them), I'm perfectly capable of entertaining myself without staring at a screen. But at the end of a long, stressful day, a bubble bath followed by an episode of Dexter or Modern Family brings my blood pressure down like nothing else. I have plenty of high-falutin' tastes and I know I'm intelligent. I don't need to stop watching My Strange Addiction to prove it.

4) Refusing to be a tiger mother...for now
I expect my children to be thoughtful global citizens, appreciate what they've been given and work hard to earn their way in the world. I don't expect them as toddlers to work hard at anything other than learning to respect authority and not hitting other kids over the head with Tonka trucks. There will be plenty of time for heavy academic study and organized leisure activities in high school and later. You only get one childhood.

If your ten-year-old is on the verge of a nervous breakdown from the pressure of her soccer team championships, Mandarin lessons, church youth choir solo and science fair exhibition for the robot she built all coming together on the same weekend, you're not building character. You're crushing her soul. Just stop, or when she's 18 she may drop out of Harvard halfway through her first year, go live on a beach in Hawaii for the rest of her life and never speak to you again.

5) Swearing
Keeping it G-rated around the kids, absolutely. Not swearing at all - why the fuck would I do that?


6) Eating ice cream and steak
Any diet that involves eliminating my two favourite foods inevitably fails in a spectacular feeding frenzy. I am working on eating less overall, and that's good enough.

7) Taking mental health days
I find it interesting that calling in sick is supposed to cover only physical ailments. One of my bosses once had his vacations cancelled over and over until he finally managed to take three days off at the end of October. We all would have been happier if he'd taken a sick day or two before that. I take a mental health day every three months or so, and I don't feel guilty. Considering the amount of unpaid overtime I've worked over the years and the expectation I respond to any question instantly 24/7 (including during my "vacations"), they owe it to me. Not to mention most of my staff have more vacation time than I do.

8) Paying for convenience
I've been buying more and more things online and despite a few glitches, overall it's the best thing ever. I try to get free shipping, but even when I can't, being able to buy new clothes for the kids in my pajamas while they play beside me is SO worth the shipping charge.

Pre-peeled carrots, frozen stir-fries and crockpot meals all get a huge checkmark too. This is not popular in the many areas of the blogosphere, but as long as our family isn't eating Twinkies off the floor, I'm happy. My husband does the cooking and when we all get home from work/daycare at 6:30 p.m., we are freakin' hungry and just want something reasonably healthy to eat. It doesn't need to be a gourmet meal prepared out of ingredients grown in our backyard.

Please don't tell me about all the toxins and pesticides, and how we don't care about our kids for not quitting our jobs to make food from scratch all day every day. Everything under the sun causes cancer or heart disease (including the sun itself), and we know plenty of health nuts who have died in their 50's despite their locally-grown, organic eating habits. We've given up.

9) Giving myself jet lag every weekend by staying up really late and then sleeping in
This is the complete opposite of what sleep experts would tell you to do. For optimum health, you're supposed to keep the same schedule all week, which would mean getting up at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday and going to sleep by 1:00 a.m. (yep, that's not eight hours. I don't approve of it either). HA! My amazing husband gets up with the kids on the weekends and lets me sleep, which is such an act of love he should win an award. It means I can stay up late and get some quiet time to myself without having to be a total zombie the next day. I try to give Jay as many awards as possible to show my appreciation for his kindness.

10) Blogging
Here's where I'm cheating a little on the anti-resolutions. I'm going to keep blogging, but going back to work full-time in March is going to force me to spend less time on it. This is a good thing. It's supposed to be fun and a lot of times it isn't. That needs to change.

64 comments:

  1. Great list! I laughed along with most of it. :)

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  2. Hooray for not being a tiger mother. My husband LOVES Modern Family--it's the only TV show he watches!

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    1. Cam is my favourite - I don't think I've ever watched an episode without a good belly laugh at some point.

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  3. Hip Hip Hooray for pre-peeled carrots!!!! And pre-washed salad in a plastic container! And green beans that have already been washed and trimmed!!!! Bring on the convenience! More time for Dexter! And Honey Boo Boo (don't judge)

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    1. Exactly!! The more time for TV, the better ;)

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  4. I really love this list. Especially the part about enunciating like a fucking lady- yep! I feel you on the convenience food thing, and I too get tired of worrying about all the bad things that go along with it. It's not like we are subsisting off of Chef Boyardee and Lean Cuisine but sometimes it is just not realistic to make homemade everything. I think your ways to take care of yourself are brilliant. I too am bothered by the fact that blogging is not always fun. :(

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    1. I feel bad a lot of the time that I'm not that domestic superwoman who makes everything from scratch with organic ingredients and whose house is always sparkling clean (cleaned with homemade "green" concoctions of course). But I'm not, and I believe my kids are going to thrive anyway. I would rather spend my time in other ways that benefit both me and them.

      The "not-fun" part of blogging is because I cannot seem to participate in anything without getting competitive and trying to be "perfect" or excel at it. So I get depressed sometimes that I'm not gaining followers more quickly (although I only moved my blog 3 months ago) or that there isn't a massive response to every post I write. It is ridiculous considering I'm achieving what I wanted to: writing regularly and making genuine connections and friendships with all different types of people. I need to get over this keeping score thing (not just in blogging).

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  5. I like your list of things not to cut back on; I definitely agree about working out; it is a good thing in so many ways, stress reducer, etc. I also agree with not putting kids into too many activities; its amazing when I read about people being stressed by schedules like this. Kids don't have to do everything I do believe, but a few things they might actually enjoy doing rather than stressing themselves out (and parents too)

    Blogging I do believe, although I do love it, should come last on our list of priorities, though sometimes we tend to make it first (talking about me :)

    enjoy Monday!

    betty

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    1. It seems like organized competitive activites start so young, and I don't want my kids to feel that type of pressure at 5 years old.

      Blogging is so addictive; I have trouble putting it last too. Although I agree that's where it belongs.

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  6. LOVE this list. Number five cracked.me.up.

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    1. I've been swearing my whole life. No point in stopping now!

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  7. Don't ever feel bad about paying for convenience. People who give you crap about it need to stuff it. Yeah, sure, I can save money by buying whole chickens and cutting them up myself, but that supermarket package of ready-to-cook chicken breasts is absolutely worth the extra cost to me. My time's worth something too, and I pick my priorities. If I'm not getting enough out of my extra effort (either through savings, enjoyment, or health benefits), than yeah, I'm going to pay a little more to make my life a little easier. Why in the world wouldn't I?

    And your blog is great. Give yourself some credit and some slack. If you're not Tiger-mothering your kids, don't Tiger-mother yourself, either!

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    1. I put more value on my time every day. You are so right about the Tiger-mothering! I should be as compassionate with myself as I am with my kids.

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  8. I am rolling! You kill me! Initially I was all "POWER FIST TO THE NON TV WATCHERS" and then I realized I was still alone with this no tv thing. We have them. They are on...ALL THE TIME...but I just can't sit still long enough to watch anything but Duck Dynatsy. Usually that's because we are laying in bed and its on. :D

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    1. There's no question watching TV has made me stupider, but I don't care. It does annoy me when they're on as background noise (*ahem my husband*) rather than watching something interesting. Also, every once in awhile I snap and shriek, "No more cartoons! Mommy can't stand it anymore!" before turning it to The Office while my toddler cries.

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  9. Love your un-resolutions! I like to mess up my sleep on the weekends, too. :)

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    1. The only way I keep going during the week is the knowledge that I can revert to my natural sleep cycle on the weekend.

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  10. Don't say "yet" about being a Tiger mom. There is no reason to put too much pressure on kids. Some pressure, sometimes, yes. But no need to go overboard. Ever. Just like there are very few reasons to give up ice cream.

    I thought the point of blogging was to have fun. If you aren't having fun, don't do it that day. I'll miss your posts, but I don't want you to feel pressure about doing it.

    I'm done handing out advice you didn't ask for now. :)

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    1. I do want my kids to work hard and sometimes that's unpleasant. I just don't want them to have ulcers from trying to be over-achievers of the year.

      And yes - the point of blogging is to have fun! The only one making it not fun is me and I need to get out of my own way.

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  11. "Putting Your Family Before Your Career."
    One of my favorite comics is 'Calvin and Hobbes.'
    In addition to making me laugh, I really like what one of its comic strips said: "When you're on your death bed, you'll NEVER regret spending too little time at the office."

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    1. Exactly. I want to work to live, not the other way around. Calvin and Hobbes is a favourite of mine too.

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  12. I think we are twins! I totally agree with everything you posted! Thanks for stopping by today... I am now following you.

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    1. Thanks Julia! Glad to meet a blog twin :)

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  13. Hey there - thanks for coming by my blog! I am now subscribing to your posts via email. :)

    Love your 10 things you aren't giving up for 2013! And I love Steak & Ice Cream, too!

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    1. I could use some steak and ice cream right now, actually. Thanks for joining up!

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  14. Hee! I really like these. I resolve to never stop making what is important to me a priority.

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    1. That's the best resolution of all. Love it!

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  15. Crap, I didn't know that daycare costs that much. Wow. I'm with you on the tiger mother. My kids pretty much just play all day. And with the food, you gotta do, what you gotta do. Sometimes I need to go to McD's just to maintain my sanity.

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    1. It's insane. And that's with my mom watching the baby two days a week! If they were both full-time it would be another $500 or so. We're going into debt to the tune of a new car to fund this stage of life.

      There's a cheaper daycare down the street from us (the one they're at now is on the other side of the city). Our daughter is 2.5 and has been on the waiting list since she was born. They estimate she might get in this September. I tried to apply earlier (like the instant I peed on a stick) but they refused to take the application until she was born. So maddening.

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  16. What a great list for a balanced, happy life! I'm the same with the working out - it is a necessity.

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    1. Balance is always my goal. Rarely achieved, but always the goal!

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  17. Gosh, I need to start working out. Really! I admire your tenacity there. And of course who ever wants to stop eating steak or ice cream?? That's no way to live - given that we live in a time when a meteor or a Mayan could easily result in the world not existing anymore. And swearing is the best stress reliever (yeah agree to keep it out of kids earshot and in my case, my Mother too). ;)

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    1. Yes, my parents are also not fans of swearing. In fact I once had my mouth washed out with soap, after commenting quite rudely on the pain in my toe when I dropped a garden hoe on it.

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  18. This is an awesome list Azara! Steak and ice cream are definitely not worth giving up. And lucky you for sleeping in. I'm the one that gets up with the kid. The teen sleeps in but the hubs has the duty of picking him up after his social events so in the end I'd rather get up early than stay up late.

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    1. Oh, that's a tough call. Once I'm all snuggled into the couch watching TV, reading and blogging in my PJs, I definitely wouldn't want to get up and go retrieve a teenager either.

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  19. Great list! I like you thoughts about letting your children play and not pushing them to excel in many things yet. I want my children to pursue things that interest them, but I also want them to have time just to be children.

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    1. My daughter is a ball of energy and will probably love gymnastics or that kind of thing. I just want it to stay fun for her.

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  20. If it is not from the crockpot I did not cook it :) Great list, I look forward to hearing how work goes. And good on you for doing what you love. TV and gym are as essential as ice cream...

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    1. The crockpot is the best invention ever!

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  21. I love the way you think, can't say any more than that. Hope 2013 is a blast.

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  22. LOVE your list!! That picture with the tv is hysterical. Oh, number 8....yes...YES!! I can't grow my own organic veggies in the back yard and I can't afford them at Whole Foods. Don't try to make me feel guilty about that!! We're doing the best we can!!

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    1. It's not that I don't care about all the toxins. I just don't think they're avoidable, and as you said: "We're doing the best we can."

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  23. I am a firm believer in non tiger mothering, eating ice cream and steak (and sometimes, in that order), and taking necessary mental health days.

    and oh yes, that we all could afford both the time and money to bake All The Food with nothing but organic. I ate Kraft Dinner when I was a kid....and my heart is still beating just fine. Mine will survive too.

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    1. Amen!! "Happy, healthy and loved" is my motto.

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  24. Thanks for stopping by. Your list is spot on! I could never give up ice cream or tv! Hey something has to keep me busy while nursing baby!

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    1. Ice cream and TV both soothe my nerves and these days I need all the soothing I can get!

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  25. I promise not to lecture you about food additives, you could make far worse dietary decisions.

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    1. Yep! I've seen reality TV shows where people ate everything from dirt to gasoline.

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  26. I LOVE it! I refuse to be a tiger mother too. In fact, I'm probably the opposite. I have a daughter who is a competitive gymnast and I am always the one asking her if she still wants to do it, because it's ok if she doesn't.

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    1. I know I was the kind of kid who really pushed myself. The last thing I would have needed was someone else pressuring me too.

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  27. Paying for convenience is something I can get on board with as a need Amazon prime member. That picture of Hawaii is awesome! Erin

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    1. I keep staring at it and wishing I was there. Sigh.

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  28. This is a great list! So great in fact, that I joined right on up to follow. I agree so much on the mental health days. Seriously - could this be part of what's wrong with society?? We completely ignore and marginalize the need to take care of our emotional side and our mental well-being! I take them too - it's either that or end up babbling and drooling in a corner!

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    1. If I need to take a mental health day, I'm not going to be much use at work anyway. Thanks for joining up!

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  29. Such a great list. I love the idea of taking mental health days!!

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  30. Number 5 cracked me up too and I have definitely get on the Crock Pot band wagon. :D

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    1. I don't know why anyone wouldn't make as much use of their crock pot as possible. It's so convenient.

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  31. Lady, if you can manage to not swear around your kids, my hat's off to you. It's usually my son who gives me the reason FOR swearing. :-)

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    1. I've already slipped twice this weekend already...*facepalm* I MUST stop. I don't want to hear my toddler yell, "No! I don't wanna fucking nap!"

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Lend me some sugar!