Monday, January 28, 2008

Simple is the New Black

I struggle with envy. It doesn't overpower my life and make me miserable. Nor does it cause me to spend money I don't have. It doesn't even make me harbor ill-will toward those who have more than I do. But it does still have an impact on my daily life.

I have a nice home, and wonderful family and great friends. I have a reliable car that isn't rusting out on me. I have a boat to enjoy with those I love. I have a good job. But I often want more.

What do I want? I want to be a skinny and gorgeous mom like I see at Logan's school every day. I want her perfectly straight, bleached teeth. I want that humongous diamond ring that is so heavy on her manicured hand she can barely wave to me. I want her designer wardrobe, her Fendi bag, her toned and tanned body. I want her hair that doesn't go too long between highlights, and her housekeeper who keeps things shiny and nice. I want her daily lunches with girlfriends. Her latest and greatest everything.

I am the oldest mom in my son's class. I am also one of the few working moms in his class. My teeth could use some Colgate Strips. My wardrobe is only designer because I haunt resale stores and shop eBay. My bag is a Kate Spade knock-off from two years ago.

My body has betrayed me and I am forced to participate in this God-forsaken 10 Week Challenge. I'm six weeks overdue for a cut and color. I clean my own house thank you very much. (And, I actually enjoy it.) I take leftovers for lunch so we can save for spring break. I don't have a latest and greatest anything. My ring...well, it is gorgeous and perfect.

You know what I do have though? I have a husband who comes home to me every single night. Who works hard on our home remodel so it is as beautiful as we want. He helps with the laundry, cooks many dinners each week and he rubs my feet. Every. Single. Night.

I have a son who is precious and funny and naughty and smart. I have parents and in-laws who love me and would do anything for me. Brothers and sisters who are smarter and funnier than anyone I know. I have amazing nieces and nephews who crack me up. I have the best friends anyone could ever want.

At Mass this weekend, Father Bill talked about envy and how in the early church people were being idiots arguing "I'm on Paul's side." "Yeah, well Peter is my man" and not being satisfied with where they were and what they were supposed to be doing. Envy sucks. We need to be content, friends.

So, I purged yesterday. This is the day my husband has been dreaming about! I emptied out all of my drawers in my office and threw away stuff I no longer need. I cleaned my pantry, my refrigerator, my cabinets. I took clothes I haven't worn in the last 8 months and put them in the Goodwill pile. Logan chose toys he doesn't play with anymore and is giving them away. We took six bags out of our home today. It is an amazing feeling. Can I hear an Amen?

In addition to church and my husband's fantasies, I was also influenced by a couple bloggers I have been stalking. (Shhhhh.)

Rachel at The Simple Family has been focused on making her life more, well, simple. Her family is eliminating what they don't need, and really considering why they spend their money. Go over there and get inspired.

Another family has taken A Year Off from shopping. They are not doing this to save money. They decided to only spend money on things that they absolutely need. One reader wrote in and questioned if Diet Coke would be a want or a need. Um, hello? Total and complete need right here! Duh.

My personal goal is to continue purging. I'm going to purge my annoying working-mom guilt. I'm going to purge the dated and ugly clothes in my closet. I'm going to purge the fear to take a chance at something I love. I'm going to purge living with limits. And I'm going to purge my resentment toward those skinny, cute moms because they ain't got what I got. Can I hear a "Preach it, Sister"?

But wait! THERE'S MORE! It's time for my 10 Week Challenge Update!

Goals Accomplished
In possession of medication---check.
Eating protein and veggies all day, every day---check.
Down two wonderful pounds---BIG. FAT. CHECK. BABY!

What's that? You want to comment? Just click on the itty-bitty words below that say "Gimme Some Sugar". Can you see them? Good. We can't wait to chat with you.


Podcastin' Cyndi said...

Thanks for commenting on my podcast blog so I could find YOU - what a great blog. I love your honesty about envy....we should all have such a highly developed conscience about it. A new podcast aired today (and every Monday) about a related topic, actually.

Thanks for listening, and I hope you'll send us around to your "sisters". :)

Sister Sassy said...

Woohoo for the down 2 lbs baby and for the purging. GO GO GO!

mom of 2 said...

We have become very simplistic in how we live. (Well, that is our goal and we do try hard at it.) We have a substantial amount of debt partly due to a failed business venture and partly due to "keeping up with the Jones's" and it sucks. We now try to buy only needed items (except at Christmas) and really think about purchases before making them. We've also been selling stuff on ebay like crazy to help pay down our debt. I know charity is great and we do still give, but our whopping credit card bills beg us to sell our stuff rather than give it away. I'll tell you though, that we are no longer wanting of the things that are bigger and better than we have now. We have truly learned to be happy with what we have!

Congrats on the 2 pounds!!!

Beck said...

I just realized that you're in Northern Michigan - we're probably not that far away from each other!
You're the only working mom? I'm the only SAHM - it's funny, but no one feels like they have a perfect life. (and if they do, who wants to know them?)

Ashlee said...

Congrats on the weight loss. I bet that feels SO good.

Loved your post today. I think all of us are guilty in some way or another of this. I don't think it's horrible to want for things, but I think it's WAY more important to look around at what we DO have and be truly grateful for it. We all have a lot more than we realize. I know I have much to be grateful for.

Sister Honey Bunch said...

Beck, where do you live??

Wade Huntsinger said...

Hey, I think I found those two pounds, would like them back, I really don't need them. Envy-poohy

I eat, sleep under a roof and usually dressed. What else do I need?

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the 2 lb loss! And the purging. Sounds like you're really excited about it!

And designer moms have problems to. The grass is ALWAYS greener...

Lisa @ Take90West said...

Congrats on the purging and the pounds...that is huge!

The Cubicle's Backporch said...

Congrats on the weight loss! I recently started trying to lose weight... it's horrible! And diet coke makes me bloated! Blah!

Lisa said...

2 lbs! You rock!!!

tired mom said...

O.K. Wade took my line on the 2 lbs. And Honey you don't need to envy me! I'll share my whitening strips with you.

dlyn said...

Great post! A simplified life is a lot easier to deal with, if you can hjust get there. And huge congrats on the 2 lbs!

Jeana said...

Doesn't it feel like a load off your shoulders to toss that stuff?

amanda said...

Diet Coke is a must have. Much like knock off handbags...i love them...I just can't help it.

Brother Jimmy Eat World said...

Amen Sister! Keep on purging and a trucking!
Brother Tom rubs your feet every single night? Man that guy keeps putting me to shame ;)
Those stick woman with nothing going on upstairs have nothing on you Sister!

saintseester said...

A couple of years ago, I did the no unnecessary shopping for lent. I blogged about it here:
and here:

It was one of the most eye-opening things I ever did for myself.

Martha said...


Preach it sistah!


The Nester said...

I bet that blonde with the strait teeth is up to her pretend bosom in debt. Plus, she doesn't have an awesome name like Sister Honey Bunch. She so envies you.

Miss jane said...