This week the writing workshop at Sleep is for the Weak posed the question What do you need to do more of? What do you need to do less of? Josie’s original post that inspired this post resonated with me at the time and I’ve been thinking about what I need to reduce in my life and what I need to replace it with. As it turns out I need to change very little and a lot at the same time. Sometimes the most monumental changes require only the lightest of touches……
Less cooking, more cooking
I love to cook and I love to bake but I don’t enjoy trying to prepare dinner with a small child attached to my leg trying to be picked up. I’m sure the same scene is being played out across the country, as one of the busiest times of the day for parents collides with one of the most challenging for babies. They are tired, they are hungry and all they want is someone to sit and play or to be able to at least for them to be able to join in this game that’s being played out a metre above them.
Enjoyable cooking takes place in this house during nap time and it usually involves cake of some sort. Of course cake is very important and will always be welcome here BUT if I used some of this time to do some real, useful, ‘dinner on the table’ type cooking my freezer would be full and I wouldn’t have that daily task of juggling a hot pan, a sharp knife and a small child.
Less cleaning, more cleaning
I don’t hate housework. I don’t enjoy it much either, but I do accept that it has to be done and if I’m honest a tidy, clean house makes me feel better. After all I am the one who spends most time in it. However, I’ve realised that the most time consuming part of housework is the tidying that needs to be done before I can even think about getting the cleaning products out. I’m not talking toys or Mini Mck’s other stuff. It’s inevitable that this will be strewn around the house by bedtime and really takes no time to clear away. I’m talking about our stuff, post that been opened and discarded, crockery that needs loading in the dishwasher, coats that need to be hung up and yes I admit it, handbags and shoes. If we simply put these things away as we went along the cleaning would be quick and simple. You never know I could probably get away with not doing much actual cleaning at all and no-one would really notice.
Less time-wasting, more time-wasting
We all waste time and what one person considers an enjoyable pastime another would consider a waste. It is what I am wasting my time on that needs to change. Do I really need to check my e-mail quite so much? Do I need to glance at Twitter quite so often? Do I really need to read the latest gossip about whether Jordan hates Pete and what Kerry is up to? Is it so important that I walk to the shop to get that craved after chocolate bar? (OK, yes that one is important.) Is there any point to channel surfing daytime TV, when I know I hate it all and will only last five minutes on anything?
Time-wasting in the right way though is a brilliant thing and should be encouraged. Reading a book, watching something you love on TV, having a nap, writing, or perhaps most fantastically and importantly tickling my boy or chasing him around the kitchen, or making a racket with the saucepans, or standing on the pavement watching the cars and buses go past for as long as HE wants to.
That sounds like my kind of time-wasting, that is what I should be doing more of.
Less reading, more reading
Before I became a mother I would read in bed EVERY night. It may only be a few pages before my eyes started to close but I always read something and had done for as long as I can remember. When Mini Mck arrived there followed the inevitable baby brain and tiredness that is indescribable, so my reading habit waned. Now I’ve found this world of blogging and I love it, but often stay up far too late reading blogs and other bits on the internet. I’ll finally turn the laptop off and go straight to sleep.
Staring at a screen is never properly switching off and doesn’t truly take you to the same place that a piece of fabulous fiction does. It doesn’t allow you brain to quiet down and your day to drift away from you so that when yo do turn the light out you fall into a really high quality sleep.
Of course I want to keep on reading and contributing with comments, but I miss books, so I need to read less from my computer and more from my bedside table.
Less thinking, more thinking
My head is rarely quiet. Mulling things over, thinking it all through, worrying, dwelling on what could go wrong. Too many hours spent on the negative with no outcome or amazing insight. All that brain power wasted. How much brighter and productive would my life be if I replaced all that negative thought with something more useful. I could fill my mind with creative ideas to fuel my writing or politics, literature and art. I need to spend less time thinking of myself and more time thinking of how I might help those around or be kinder to the people I love or dreaming up fun things to do with my son or Mckdaddy or both. We only have a finite amount of thoughts that we can process at any one time and only a finite amount of time to think those thoughts. I need to stop wasting mine.
We often feel that we must make huge monumental changes to make a difference, but perhaps what we need is to focus on what we already do and see how we can tweek that to enhance our lives.
p.s I need to do more ironing.