Must Do All the Things

I have, unfortunately, one very dominant personality flaw.

Since I can remember, I have possessed what I have always referred to as an “all or nothing” personality. I want to do it all, from the time that I say, 100% perfectly, at my very best, with no slip ups or backpedaling. Since this is often virtually impossible, when it fails, not only am I disappointed, but I end up distraught. Sometimes, I wind up battling a phase of depression. I often feel overwhelmed on a daily basis.

This inherent personality quirk can sometimes be a good thing. Once in a while, it helps me to accomplish an arduous task. But, at the end of the day, it’s a passion and a fault I would like to learn to control, and even to lessen a bit.

It’s no secret that I want to make changes in my life. I want to live a more sustainable life. I want to do more things from scratch, learn to spend less, learn to make do more often. I want to focus more on developing and honing skills than I focus on “things.” I want to be more patient with my children, and to teach them that it is okay to pursue whatever they want to try and that they are fine the way they are.

Here’s how my warped mind translates this:

I want to live a more sustainable life. I must not waste anything. I must do each and every thing from scratch. Why do I not have chickens? Why can I not make homemade bread as well as everyone else? 

We are struggling financially. I must never, ever buy anything frivolous. But, I want to buy something for myself, and I shouldn’t want to do so. I need to stop spending money for anything but necessities.

I want to be able to do ALL THE THINGS. I want to be able to master EVERY skill. Why can’t I master every skill? Why can’t I do everything?

I just yelled at my children. What kind of a mother yells at her children? Why must I always lose my patience?

Rather than making goals I cannot accomplish, and resolving to do ALLTHETHINGS, I’m writing this post to ask you, dear readers, to hold me accountable, to start from this moment forward to allow myself to stumble, to do the best I can, to work on improving myself (and the goals I have ARE worthy ones), but to merely work on doing better than I did yesterday, instead of trying for an impossible idea of perfection.

Focus on sustainability, financial independence, striving to become a better mother, learning to hone skills and gain new ones, all with the understanding that nothing will ever be 100% or all or nothing because that’s just not the way life works.

Anyone else struggle with this sometimes?

A Fraud

My dream/goal with this blog is to someday build it up to be a resource for others who want to become more frugal and self reliant in their lives and families. I envision a database where readers can come to find ways to save money, find bargains, research home remedies, discover new recipes–to get inspired. Someday, I might even have an online store that sells some of my favorite products to help accomplish some of the goals that my blog promotes.

But, above all else, my dream with my blog is to become a place for others to come to know that they are not alone in their struggles with marriage, parenting, finances, accomplishing goals, and so forth. Blogs have helped me in my darkest hours by becoming a place to go when I feel I have nowhere else, no one else who understands, and I have been eternally grateful for the words of others.

And yet, sometimes, I feel like a fraud, a fake, a phony.

The thoughts that run through my head….

Who am I to discuss successful tips for parenting? I scream at my children ALL. THE. TIME. I have even spanked my oldest. I use bribery. I sometimes wonder what I have gotten myself into. Our house is so not as babyproof as it ought to be. My five year old picked up a swear word. I suffered from postpartum depression with my oldest. I failed at breastfeeding and fed my children soy formula. They eat too much junk food.

Who am I to sing the praises of marriage, and how could I ever be someone who could ever offer advice? My husband and I have gone to counseling. We have our own struggles. We argue, and we don’t always see eye to eye. We’ve had moments where we wondered where we ought to go from here.

Who am I to pretend we’re eating better? Sure, maybe we have a CSA and are eating more produce, but I could never get rid of my comfort foods. My son only wants to eat chicken McNuggets and fries. And we eat out way too often.

Speaking of eating out way too often, why do I pretend I am frugal? I am swimming, heck, drowning in debt. I sometimes wonder if I might have a slight shopping addiction. I try to budget and fail. I have to borrow money from my in laws at every turn, or so it seems. My husband suggests I teach classes on stockpiling and bargain hunting, but how could I do that knowing someone might find out we’re massively in debt? That would make me a fraud, and I shouldn’t do it. Not to mention, I don’t know how to can anything without help, and I can’t make a successful loaf of bread on my own. We’re too reliant on Walmart and boxed mixes to ever pretend we’re self reliant.

I’m not eco-friendly. We don’t even recycle. Who am I kidding? We cloth diaper 50% of the time, and still use disposables at night and at travel. We waste so much and produce so much trash. Why do I even admit that I try?

These are often the thoughts that run through my head on sleepless nights.

How do I share these worthwhile concepts–self reliance, frugality, sustainability, more conscientious parenting, advice for marriages and families–where I feel like such a failure, a fraud, sometimes?

I think that part of this is the realization that these things take time, even when I’m not willing or able to admit it. I will never, ever tell you I am perfect. I want this blog to be the chronicle of a journey, and with every journey, there are moments where we get lost, or stumble along the way. I stumble and fall–a lot. But, if nothing else, I am trying, and it is my hope that you read this and feel that you’re not alone in pursuing your own goals and hopes in your life and in your moments of imperfection.



The Beginning….

It has always been a dream of mine to have a successful blog–ever since high school, in fact. The fact that I love books, and I have my Master’s in English Literature has not helped to curb the writing bug at all. The unfortunate problem with this dream is that it seems every other soul in America wants to do the same thing.

However, my dream will never be accomplished unless I try, so here we are.

I’ve written blogs before, about family, things, life, whatnot. But, I’ve always wanted to create a place that will help feed my soul, and others as well. I want a place where readers can come to learn a new skill, to become more self-reliant, to work toward a more sustainable lifestyle, to know that they are not alone in the pursuit to conquer debt (one of our family’s biggest struggles), that it is just fine to be a slacker mom. Essentially, this is a place for you to come if you want to move away from the rat-race, sit down, relish the traditional, share in trials and defeats, and to know that you can accomplish your goals, that we can take this path less traveled together… It’s not easy to say, you know, enough with the materialism the television and media throw at my family, enough with the parenting wars, enough with feeling like we have to keep up with everyone else. But, I know that, if we do it together, we will achieve it.

So, I welcome you to follow my family and me on our journey toward a more sustainable, less materialistic, more traditional lifestyle.

And who am I, you’re asking?

I’m a 30-something wife of an engineer, mother of two children (a son and daughter, ages five and nearly two, respectively). I’m a bookworm, a fledgling “prepper,” food storage addict, part-time cloth diapering mama, now former English professor, who is trying to find solace in going back to traditional roots and hoping to be able to break away from total reliance on the consumer world. (Trust me, I love to shop, but want to rely less upon it.) I’m a master bargain huntress, champion of the clearance sale, bulk shopping/warehouse store, and thrift store markets. (I’ll share some of these tricks with you along our journey.)

My hope for this website is to archive my progress (and inevitable failures) as I learn how to do things from scratch, my parenting experiences, our hope to one day remove debt from our lives, to share tips about everything from cloth diapering to mastering clearance sales to navigating Sam’s Club and Costco to sharing recipes, etc, etc. In the near future, I will add space for those who are interested in booking me for tutoring and proofreading help, and for those wanting me to teach classes on bulk buying, bargain hunting, and stockpiling.

So, like the poet Robert Frost before me, I’m taking the path less traveled, and I hope you’ll stay with me and take the trip along with my family.