Lately I’ve been struggling with feeling satisfied with myself as I began discussing in my last post. Part of this is a struggle to do things I enjoy—even identifying those things. I feel guilty when I cut back on work and instead do things that make me happy. But work makes me happier when I’m feeling better about life in general.
In the last two days I’ve taken time to work out, try a new recipe (buffalo cauliflower), clean the bathroom and kitchen, and read a book that’s been languishing on my kindle for weeks. It would be easy for me to feel too guilty to do these things and instead try to maximize as many work hours as I can. I struggled with that. But I needed to do these things to enjoy teaching and editing.
I also said no to a last-minute request. In theory I could have done it, but it would have required me to sacrifice the plans and work I’d already scheduled. So I said no and gave an alternate time. It sounds like a small thing, but this was one of the first times I’d ever said no, instead of just accommodating the request.
I’m starting to feel a bit more like myself. I bought roses. I have plans to make enchiladas and potato soup this week. I’ve looked up the ingredients and put them on the grocery list. I’m going to invest time and energy into making these recipes for me and my husband. He’s excited about it and so am I. I won’t get paid, but I will feed myself and my loved one. I have to believe that that is a worthwhile endeavor.
I’ve also looked up cooking classes. I’ve been wanting to take cooking classes for years and I’ve finally looked them up. We won’t be able to go for a while, because in early November we’re having a delayed wedding reception/family reunion for my mother-in-law’s family and it’s taken a lot of my energy and time to plan and organize with my mother-in-law.
That’s also a lot of work that is important, but unpaid. I’m doing a lot and working hard, but it doesn’t always translate to money. I have to continually remind myself at least every day that being paid for work isn’t the only measure of work and its importance.
Society has made that connection over time, especially regarding traditionally women’s work versus men’s work. It was important for men to make money to support their family, so men’s work was made economically significant. Women’s work generally was not, especially because it wasn’t important for middle- and upper-class families.
Cooking is often seen as women’s work—something necessary, but invisible. I grew up with parents who shared cooking duties. My dad loves to cook and try new recipes. He’ll spend weekends watching football and cooking. He’s an amazing cook. I love when I get to eat his cooking. Like my dad, I also love to cook. I do the grocery shopping, meal planning, and cooking in my home.
Yet, I struggle to feel proud of myself. But I’m still cooking and hope that by physically doing this satisfying activity, I will convince myself.
I’m not going to be a food blogger, but hopefully I won’t need to order in or worry that we don’t have a balanced diet.
It helps that my husband and I primarily work from home. It is so much easier to prepare lunch and dinner when you’re already home surrounded by groceries and options.
It’s one of the reasons I am working hard to find work from home that I love and find satisfying. I need the home environment to be most productive. I work best laying on my heating blanket on my couch with my laptop actually in my lap in the evening and night.
And I’m a night owl. I love the quiet and peace that pervades the world when everyone else is asleep. When the rest of the world is ending their day and yawning on their way to bed, I feel alert and awake in a way that I never have in the morning. My husband has encouraged me to lean into my natural inclinations so I am. I’m writing this at midnight.
No one emails me. No one needs me to respond to them or do something for them. My favorite websites don’t get updated very often. I can focus completely. And then post this in the afternoon the next day.