If I have to hear my family say that I should do what Sarah did one more time, I swear...well, I might swear. Sarah is a good friend of mine and a wonderful person to emulate, and I honestly don’t have any ill feelings toward her whatsoever. She had a good idea, she told our family about it, and they thought it was a good idea, too. Great, right? Well, the annoying part is that if I would have had the idea in the first place, they wouldn’t have thought it was so great.
The idea, if you’re curious, was to split up the house cleaning chores among family members so we would all agree on who does what and make a chart of the chores. Sarah’s family and my family had the same cleaning lady who recently had to take some time off. Instead of trying to find another cleaner who would most certainly not meet the expectations set by Miss Sherri (as my kids call her), we decided to try it ourselves for a while.
We did split up the chores, and after I printed out a nice little chart, I presented it to my family angrily, “Here’s your chart -JUST LIKE SARAH'S!” It got me thinking, though...this could be a stroke of genius...what if Sarah and I colluded and had each other tell the other’s family our “ideas?” Would we both suddenly get what we want? Or is it possible that Sarah’s family wouldn’t hold me in such high esteem, and she’d still have trouble convincing her family? Or does Sarah have a magic ability as a wife and mother that I don’t possess, and her family already thinks her ideas are amazing even when they come straight from her mouth??
The best part of this whole thing is that, not long ago, I was listening to the “Happier With Gretchen Rubin” podcast episode where Liz and Gretchen talked about how to use envy to our benefit. The gist of it is that you should think about who you envy, really ponder why you envy them, and then figure out how to get some of that in your life. I didn’t have to think too long before it hit me like a lightening bolt - it was Sarah that I envied and specifically her time. I envied the time Sarah had from a semi-flexible work schedule, the time she spent doing activities with her kids, the way she spent her time doing things she enjoyed, and the way she didn’t seem rushed even though she was busy. It would be interesting to hear if Sarah feels the same about her time, but it was how it I perceived it, which, as we all know, made it my reality. I brainstormed and thought about ways I could have more time, spend my time better, be present in the things I’m doing. I came up with some hair-brained ideas, sifted through them, picked out a few that seemed doable and implemented them. I had to give myself permission to give up some things, throw away the worry of others’ perceptions, and become more self-disciplined in some areas. It’s been a few weeks, and I am amazed at how much happier I am!
So, in the end, I guess Sarah’s fantastic ideas are just one more thing I envy, but I made it work for me by teaching my 11 year old to clean toilets and my 6 year old to dust!
A woman with many roles in life who knows the necessity of keeping things in order!