A professor in college once encouraged me to keep a sabbath as best as I could, to the best of my ability, one day a week. Obviously, the Sabbath is on Sunday according to Christian tradition, which typically involves church and a nap. But his challenge was a little different. He said for one day, put all work, including homework, on hold (some people have to work on Sundays, right?). For those of you who have a handy-dandy college diploma hanging on your wall, you know that you earned it through lots of homework. Going through an entire day without doing anything--no emails, no Blackboard, no quick 1-page summaries, no reading ... no READING--could be quite a challenge. Especially considering I was a senior when this challenge was issued and my major, Family Studies, was basically a huge pile of reading and paper writing. But, I liked the premise of his suggestion.
I accepted his challenge and found that even if I took a day off, it was possible to get things finished. If I took the time to kick back, relax, pray, refocus, and enjoy the freedom of my day, I was actually more productive throughout the week. A nice little way to recharge. I've taken this practice with me first into newlywed-ness and now into the busy life of a Mom, cleaning up hurriedly on Saturday night so on Sunday, the day of my choosing, I will truly rest.
Because if there is a mess, chances are I won't rest. It's just my personality. My new personality. Because frankly, a mess never really bothered me before I demanded a bit of order in my life to survive the daily (albeit fun) chaos of a young family.
I typically go to the grocery store on Monday mornings.
When I go, the store is usually pretty empty, and the other customers who do happen to be there are usually other Moms. I don't know about you, but I go into the grocery store with a PLAN. I have my shopping list itemized in accordance with the arrangement of the products for which I am hunting, my purse is packed with two sippy cups and some snacks, and I zip through as quickly as I can, knowing my two year old and one year old could potentially lose it at any moment and I don't want to risk it. It might sound nutty, but experience has taught me that a little preparedness is never a bad thing.
Basically I'm a super anal shopper.
Gah. I hate that word.
Anyway! After my luxurious nap on Sunday, I, for some reason, felt compelled to write out my menu and make up my shopping list for the week. After Googling some new recipes and itemizing my list, I looked at the clock and figured that Meh, why don't I just go today? I could get the shopping over with and be done by the time Monday arrives!
I loaded up the kids and headed down the highway to our usual place. As I parked my Swagger Wagon, I noticed that the parking lot was rather full. I also noticed that it was a bit like a demolition derby, with SUVs and sedans vying for parking spots amidst crowds of people pouring in and out through the sliding doors. Very unlike Monday mornings.
Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to go ahead and take the plunge into the store.
We were lucky and found one of Cub's favorite carts--a cart with a fire engine attached on the front where he can ride. I plopped Naomi in the front of the cart while Cub crawled into his red plastic contraption and away we went, with me chugging at my usual Shopper Mom pace. Which is fast.
As the grand sliding doors parted for our entrance, I stopped short when I saw the droves of people milling about the store. There were just ... just ... so many of them. I took a deep breath, whipped out my list, and charged through the produce section. I tossed our spinach, squash, grapes, and snobby cheese into the cart before peeling around the corner towards the turkey pepperoni and Smart Chicken. I almost ran into a couple that was perusing, yes, perusing, as in, taking their time, in the meat department, but quick maneuvering avoided a potential accident as we buzzed on towards dairy. I tossed in the heavy whipping cream and organic milk before stopping short by the yogurt. A lady was standing there with some Oikos in one hand and Chobani in the other, trying to decide which to get. Oikos, Chobani. Oikos, Chobani. I stood there with my foot tapping impatiently as I watched her head go back. And forth. Back. And forth.
THEY'RE BOTH GREEK. PICK ONE.
She finally settled on one (ONE!) and meandered away. I slid my cart into her empty spot and chucked five Chobanis in the basket.
I checked my pulse. My pace was still good, but boy howdy, these crowds were about to give me an aneurism.
We hit up the rest of our spots, squealing through frozen bread (Rudi's!), charging through the cereal (cereal bars!) and zooming through pasta (wheat spaghetti!), weaving between customers parked in the middle of the aisles to chat. How nice. Chatting. By the time I yanked the massive cart to the checkout, I was sweating, Naomi was fussing, and Caleb had his legs dangling out the window of his faux firetruck. I organized my items on the conveyer belt (ANAL) and said three cheers for drive-thru pick-up as I hoisted my girl on my hip and held my little boy's hand and trekked across the parking lot to our car. I picked my groceries and away we went.
By the time we got home, I was a cranky hot mess. The kids were cranky because I was cranky. As the cargo door on the van slowly lifted in our hot garage, I stood there glaring at the sacks of groceries I had to carry inside. They were heavy. I was hot. I heaved each sack onto the counter before trudging back to the garage for another. The kids were getting hungry and whiny and I was feeling the same, but after the groceries were all schlepped inside, I still had to unpack them. Ugh. I put them away as quickly as I could, with whatever energy I had left, and tossed the kids some cereal bars before slumping onto the couch. I noticed that the kitchen trash needed to be emptied. I winced and let my head fall back on the couch. Meh, trash.
Some sabbath, yes?
What's really so sad is that I have time to get groceries on Monday. And, if worse comes to worst and I get busy on Monday, I have time to get them Tuesday. But for some reason, for SOME REASON, I decided to take a detour from my Day of Rest and instead forge through a massive commercial building enduring the perils of consumerism with two little kids. A good idea in theory and a really terrible experience in practice.
I understand now why God suggested, nay, demanded a Day of Rest. Not a "One Extra Day To Get Things Done".
So, this is just me saying that I totally failed with resting today because of an apparent attempt at overachieving. But I really didn't achieve much, save for some food in the fridge and a bad attitude.
Next Sunday? Hopefully there's a little more rest in order.
Have a lovely day.