The Author

My photo
I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Joy of January

Most years, I make plans like crazy all January.  (I have this month off of school).  Before Vinny was in school, I used to use this time to travel, but I would also schedule myself full of other activities as well. This month, I have done the opposite. I have done a lot of staying home and a lot of not making plans.  I don't regret this at all.  It has allowed me to enjoy and appreciate things I have not always had the opportunity to in the past.  I have gotten into habits I am enjoying.  I have been home cooking almost every single meal.  We don't eat lunch or dinner out. We ate one meal out at Knotts Berry Farm on Friday, and that is the only meal we have not eaten at home all month.  This is huge for us.  At first, I was kind of grieving our decision to stop eating meals out.  I enjoy take out. It tastes good and its easy. Now, I have found that I am enjoying the routine of eating each meal here. I like being able to make each meal just the way I like it.  I have enjoyed experimenting with new stuff (my homemade macaroni and cheese was a flop, but hey at least I tried). I have even started making breakfast regularly.  I am not big on breakfast, so this is new for me. I usually don't have anything but coffee in the morning. I made a huge batch of waffles and froze the leftovers.  We have a "bagel slice" toaster, so I can reheat them easily in there, and you know what... homemade belgian waffles taste much better than store bought frozen waffles. 

Best of all... when I designed a monthly budget for this year, I cut our budget for food by $200.  I was nervous about this decision and didn't know if we would really be able to make it work, even without eating meals out. As a result, I have made extreme efforts to be incredibly frugal with my food usage.  I have become more aware of portion size and have tried to cook only what we will use, and I have also tried to be more aware of our leftovers to be sure not to let them go to waste. As a result, we are about 64% of the way through the month, but we have only used 39% of our food budget!  Woo hoo!  Go me.  This extra money can go to pay off our debt faster.

I've spent much time in introspection. Recent events in my life have made me really question a lot about my life -- who I say I am, who I really am, what I really value in life, and what I want for my future and what I am doing to get there.  It has opened my eyes to a lot. Some of it has been somewhat painful, but I think for the best.  I am proud of myself for the personal progress that I have made. 

I am nervous about going back to work and keeping the commitments that I have made to myself.  I want to try to be mom first and teacher second, so that I can keep making homemade meals and packing Vinny healthy lunches.  It's just hard to describe what happens to me when I am working.  Teaching has a way of completely taking over your life.  Even when I want to be mom first and teacher second, it is just really hard to do.  Teaching is kind of all hands on deck. 

No comments:

Post a Comment