By Eliska Counce, TSB Columnist
With three kids under the age of nine, a Hubs, and two jobs, there is plenty in life to stress me out if I let it. And I know you’re with me, dear reader: stress is the way of the world these days. We’re all running the proverbial rat race at full speed, and life can be like a gallon of milk in a shot glass if I let it. It got me to thinking: there’s gonna have to be some places where my give-a-damn just won’t apply if I plan to stay sane. In this vein, here’s five examples of situations and events I hereby proclaim I refuse to stress about:
My dirty house. Let’s face it. I’ve got three kids aged nine, seven, and five. A clean house is a pipe dream for the next 10 years. I might as well strip the living room down to concrete with a drain in the middle of the floor so I can just hose the whole thing down. My kitchen floor is, indeed, crunchy. Your elbows may or may not stick to my kitchen table.
But I’m over it. Life is too short, in my humble opinion, to lose sleep over whether or not there are ground Goldfish in my carpet. I assure you I do not know, nor have any desire to know, what exactly is hidden under the cushions of my couch. But one day, when my little ones are big and grown and gone, I will miss the many Legos I step on. I will remember the days of voluminous laundry and a gazillion muddy footprints and long for them. Well, maybe.
Exercise time. See above: running is part of the reason my house is such a disaster. I often choose to work out instead of pushing a broom or a dust rag. But taking that time to run is something I refuse to give up, feel badly about, or worry about what’s not getting done instead while I’m about it. Running keeps me from strangling people. The time is well spent. It makes me a better mother, a healthier person, and gives me the energy to deal with the three ring circus of a life of which I am ringmaster. Other tasks can wait. Trust me. You wouldn’t like me if I didn’t exercise.
Getting old. Let’s face it. I’m forty-mumble. I know I live in a city that prizes its smooth brows and pert ta-tas. Oh, Dallas. You’re so cute, wanting to be Los Angeles. But all the Miss Me jeans and M.A.C. makeup in the world ain’t gonna make me 25 again. There’ll be no Botox for this puss. I’ve earned every wrinkle and line. I may have to kick ’em out of the way, but these boobs have fed three babies: pretty impressive to be the dairy business as long as I was. So I’ll take my sags, lumps, and folds where they come. Every scar tells a story of my life, and I wouldn’t go back and change a thing.
My guilty pleasures. Oh, go ahead and post on Facebook that you’re diligently finishing up your Eckhart Tolle novel. We know the truth: you’re convalesed in your bathroom with a glass of wine and Us magazine just like me. I know so many degreed engineers and professionals who have taste in television like a Teen Mom but refuse to own it. Not me! I refuse to apologize for my love of People, The Young and the Restless, and the Twilight franchise, all better paired with a cheap chardonnay. Bliss. There’s a time and a place to use your brain, but I refuse to apologize for enjoying switching if off for periods of time. Here’s to shaving a few points off the old IQ every now and then.
My occasionally craptacular diet. On the whole, I can take care of myself. But every now and then, usually during some seriously tense moments every 28 days (apologizes, gentlemen), there must be terrible, terrible food consumed. A nasty cheeseburger with slabs of breath-withering onion. Movie theater popcorn with extra butter. A chili dog, God help me. It’s true confession time: sometimes nothing says a hug for your belly like 14 double-stuffed Oreos. Don’t get me wrong: these aren’t choices I make most days of the week, but if I crave cheese enchiladas for enough days? Nothing says congratulations for surviving another weekend with the kids like a carb coma.
So here’s to letting go every now and then. I may not be perfect. My house may or may not be condemned by the city. I may not return your voicemail, email, or message as quickly as I like because I’ve spent the time out running. I may pick April’s edition of In Style magazine to peruse instead of Faulkner, all the while polishing off a box of Thin Mints. But I’m sane, ladies and gentlemen. As long as you don’t ask my husband, that is. Here’s to imperfection and all its glory. It’s called balance. Here’s to all things in moderation. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s Saturday night. Time for a glass of gloriously cheap wine and an encore screening of this week’s episode of Dallas.