Today was a typical Sunday - my normal one day off per week. Me and the kids did the usual grocery shopping, house cleaning, back to school shopping, yard work, laundry and meal prep that normally happens on our "day of rest".
Just as I was about to start dinner, the one night per week I try to make a sit-down healthy family meal, I stepped outside first to find kid 5 teaching his puppy to jump through a hoop. I've been telling him for awhile now that I really think this dog could learn some neat tricks.
She's a rescue pup, so we aren't totally sure of her lineage, but based on the way she can jump we are thinking she definitely has some Jack Russell Terrier in her.
Well, after just a quick minute, he had that dog jumping through the hoop almost a foot off the ground!
I bet we stayed outside almost an hour just playing with the dog and taking video of her jumping.
Eventually we remembered we were hungry and I came inside to make dinner.
After dinner I stepped out back to talk to Kid 3 about coordinating all our schedules for the week. Each of the kids drifted out to follow me and we all sat outside for over an hour as the sun went down.
Not only was it the first Memphis night that wasn't sweltering hot, it's also the last weekend we have before school starts back again.
We all just felt laid back, relaxed and unhurried. Of course, though, being siblings it can never stay totally relaxed. Kids 4 & 5 challenged each other to a race, then a rematch, Kid 6 got a little loud trying to make everyone laugh and the dog was running around like crazy in the middle of it all.
It was fabulous.
I realized the key to everything tonight was time. I took the time to enjoy being outside, the time to just be with the kids without having a schedule or accomplishing a to-do list. I had the time available where I wasn't working, wasn't worried about getting back to work and wasn't worried about how to make more money -- I just simply took the time to enjoy life for a bit.
I'm normally so busy trying to earn enough money just to get by that I don't feel like I have time to take time off.
I've always heard that money can't buy happiness. My response has always been I am willing to try! But tonight I realized that if money could just buy me more off time, more down time, I could be happy.
Money would relieve so much of my stress. Allowing me to enjoy the time I do have.
I realize that sounds like a greedy statement. But the reality is I am raising 6 kids on a single mom budget. I'm one of those Americans who has way too much credit debt, not from family vacations or shopping sprees, but from buying gas and groceries and kids sneakers. Not to mention school fees, car insurance and everything else that comes along with raising a family. Those expenses that you can't just cut back on.
Financial stress affects every part of my life. It even seeps into the fun times by making me think I shouldn't be just sitting here doing nothing, even if it is enjoying time with my family.
Down time is time that could be working. A nice meal is nothing more than another charge to my account. I keep a running total in my head of expenses during trips away for graduations or dance competitions. Believe me, adding up costs really takes the fun out of fun times.
But somehow tonight I forgot all that for a little bit.
I just enjoyed my time with my family and remembered that is why I work the way I do.