I've thought about that a lot and wondered about the things I prioritize. What things do I do, even at the expense of other things?
A few I've come up with off the top of my head:
- Sleep. I do not stay up late. On a LATE night, it's around midnight when we go to bed, but that is rare. We are usually in bed by ten thirty or eleven. I have never once in my life pulled an all-nighter (except maybe as an infant, in which case, Mom, I'm desperately sorry).
- Food. We eat a pretty balanced diet and we direct a good chunk of our grocery money toward our CSA box each week. I make time to cook dinner virtually every night and it is extremely extremely unusual for us to go out for dinner because I don't feel like cooking. I also am serious about not wasting food so we make big efforts to finish leftovers and use up odds and ends in the fridge (Bart is a saint to be on board with this).
- Reading. Since Ella has stopped nursing four hours a day, I've had to make much more of an effort to read while she naps or when she plays outside. I try and keep something on my iPhone at all times so that I can listen to it in the car, or when I'm pushing her in the stroller or while I'm doing household chores or cooking.
- Getting Ready in the Morning. I shower, put on makeup and do my hair every single day. My mom is like this too (even when she's sick), and I've picked up from her that I'll feel better about myself and my life if I'm not wearing ugly pajamas and my hair looks like something died in there. I don't fear the UPS man's knock at four p.m. I hate to waste a nap time getting ready, but if I have to do it, I do it.
- Being Outside. I think being outside is really important and I like to be away from the computer. If Ella wakes up early, we take her to the dog park and let her run around. Most days, in the afternoon, we sit on the shady side of our building and she plays on the sidewalk and grass.
- Sun safety. Look, I'd love to be nice and tan, but I'd rather not have skin cancer and early wrinkles. I am very serious about wearing sunscreen at the pool and regular lotion with SPF in it. It's September of one of the hottest summers on record in Texas and not one of the three of us have had a sunburn this summer. Huzzah!
- A tidy house. I am not the world's best cleaner and my kitchen floor is usually . . . unfortunate, but I keep most things put away. Our table isn't piled with stuff, the bed is always made, Ella's toys stay put away when she's not playing with them, and the laundry gets put away the same day I wash it.
- Having people over. We live in a fairly small apartment, we only have one couch, and my bathrooms aren't always sparkling. Ella's stroller sits in the entryway, and my patio has CSA boxes stacked on it. I don't care. We have people over all the time anyway. We invite people for dinner or lunch after church, we host a monthly couples FHE group, we have game nights and birthday parties, we have spur of the moment dessert get-togethers, and many pool parties. I'm unwilling to wait until we have the ideal circumstances to be social. Last General Conference, we had nineteen people for dinner. Most people sat on the floor. We didn't have fancy table settings (unless paper plates are fancy in your book). It was fantastic.
- Exercise. It's vital for me to have a partner or group to go with. Otherwise, I am mega hit-or-miss.
- Doing fun things with Bart on weekday evenings. It's easy for us to waste away our evenings after Ella goes to bed, just on the computer, etc. Stupid.
- Deep cleaning. Kayla once told me that she always cleans her baseboards before company comes. I . . . have cleaned my baseboards exactly once in my adult life and that was when we put our house on the market. I can hardly keep my floor mopped - you can bet I'm not dusting my ceiling fans or scrubbing the oven very often.
- Crafty things. I look at the amazing things Merrick does with a sewing machine and I am not good at doing these kinds of projects. I like to do them, but I just. . . don't.
- Staying up on the news. We get the Economist and on a good week, I'll open it. And perhaps read one article. Most weeks are not good weeks.
And speaking of prioritizing reading, I've just reviewed Rules of Civility for the BlogHer book club. It's historical fiction about the Great Depression in New York City. You can check out my review here.