I decided in the last year that I’m not cooking dinner anymore. I decided this but I still felt guilty like I “should” cook dinner.
I definitely had this unrealistic vision of sitting down together every night, saying grace, eating a balanced meal and connecting about the highs and lows of our day. Reality: we end up fighting•everyone sighs in disgust when I put the food down• kids are never hungry because I have to feed them a “pre-dinner” because they are ravenous after school. Then a “post” dinner -again conveniently before bedtime. I make them breakfast, lunch, & snacks.
Kids have games, practices, homework, and us parents may have unfinished work from both our full time jobs and side jobs, traffic to fight and no energy left to use 15 dishes and load dishwasher for the 2nd or 3rd time that day.
Last year, one of my friends with five kids, 11 and under, said to me “I don’t cook”. I was in awe. She said that sometimes she goes to Mariano’s to get chicken and they grill it for her for free. Sometimes they have sandwiches. She doesn’t cook…ever.
She is my hero.
However, she does have time and energy to do fun things with her kids, coach them and spend time with them. Kids will remember her presence; not the amazing dinner she cooked. I decided to do this too, however I always had this nagging “should” guilt. This is also exacerbated when my daughter exclaims “you don’t feed me.”
I wrote myself a permission slip this week to myself, for myself, that I no longer have to cook dinner and permission to not feel guilt. (Concept by Brene Brown). A permission slip, means “it’s okay”& “I’m off the hook.” Like how you write a permission slip to excuse your kids for stuff; do it for yourself.
I stopped comparing myself to other families and feeling like a loser because other people eat dinner together. It might work for other families and their schedule. For my family, it doesn’t work… ever. It never has and I doubt it ever will.
My kids are old enough now to read directions and make their own dinner. You want chicken nuggets, go for it. Frozen pizza- I don’t care- go ahead. I surrender this battle. If my husband wants dinner, he can cook it, we both work. He also is a way better cook with less mess. I’m done with this standoff every night on who will suck it up and cook. 😂
Since giving myself permission and by letting go of this guilt; I have felt very liberated and free. One day last week we were all home together so I actually cooked dinner because “I felt like it.” There was no fighting, kids were starving because it was like 7:30pm.😂
I discovered that I now have more time for other things than making dinner and saying grace. I now have time to notice grace.
Despite my kids going to Catholic school, I struggle with my faith at times. With all the tragedies and evil that is done, it is difficult to not become jaded.
Which in turn may cause a person to question their faith and remembering how to stay on their own path.
How can you experience joy while people are getting killed by some senseless massacre? How are you supposed to feel content and at peace when there is terrible illnesses in this world? I feel like a real asshole experiencing frustration about my kids game conflicts or having fun with my friends when there is so much pain in the world.
I put this audiobook on hold at the library a long time ago (like 15 weeks). I forgot about it. The book became available at exactly when I needed it.
All chapters are summaries of different super soul Sunday’s that Oprah has done. (Now you may have a pre-judgement about Oprah as I once did and immediately say, “I don’t like Oprah. She bugs me. She’s full of herself.” Oprah will tell you and admit “I am full of myself, I have to be full in order to give.”) I now understand her more and realize I was judging her instead of paying attention to what her true intention is…to serve others.
Every chapter of this book gives you something truly thought provoking.
I obviously cannot write everything out for you to read and highlight it all. That’s why it’s a book, not authored by me. But, I can share how this book impacted me:
I see patients at my job who are disabled. Many have dementia and Alzheimer’s. I have to keep my boundaries up at work to stay unbiased, objective and remain detached. This is healthy and necessary to prevent burn out. These boundaries are to prevent myself from becoming too emotionally attached. The brain is truly fascinating how it can be trained to do certain things. My “fortress“ goes up in work mode as if I push a button in my brain. It just…happens.
I am sure police officers, firemen, nurses, doctors and anyone in service industry all possess a similar capability. It’s essential for survival.
Anyways, I am at home where my boundaries are not up and going through the motions of doing this online training for work…it was on Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s makes me cry.
Alzheimer’s makes my heart hurt.
Alzheimer’s makes me question my faith.
I don’t want to feel this.
I don’t want to think about it.
I don’t want to think of this harsh reality. I don’t want to think of my friends who have had parents go through this. I don’t want to think about my mother-in-law.
This CBT work training was 10 chapters, I was on chapter 6 when I felt this overpowering need to stop.
I was becoming crabby, frustrated and sad.
I wanted to keep bulldozing through it and “get it done”. Then things continued to happen; my kids needed me, I got a phone call, I had to go to the bathroom…etc.
Finally I surrendered and gave up attempting to finish the work training.
I woke up yesterday morning on my own… very early. I took this opportunity to “get this dumb training done.”
I was listening to the book-Chapter 8 on GRACE; Oprah interviews Dr. Caroline Myss.
(All the chapters are extremely well done and the audio is excellent because she has the actual recordings from the show.)
Oprah asks Dr. Caroline Myss, “What is Grace?”
Caroline: “Grace is something that will prevent you from doing something that you cannot take back. Grace comes in and says “you will be OK”. Grace is a power that comes in and transforms a moment into something better.”
Oprah asks Caroline “How does Grace work?” .
@caroline.myss: “When you are in a huge argument and you are so angry and you want to say something so intentionally hurtful and mean…and that inner voice says, “You sure you want to do that?” …That’s Grace. 🤯
Finally, something I can use!😂
She also answers questions raw & real like:
“What is prayer?”
“What is your definition of God?”
“How do you know when to surrender and let go?”
“How do I know I am making the right decision?”
You have to listen to this for yourself to discover your own enlightenment.
I will share though, Dr. Caroline Myss’s concept of “The Sacred Contract”
“The shared contract is the reason you were born. It’s not a literal document. It’s a spiritual document that our soul recognizes. It’s the feeling of “there’s something I know I was meant to do.” It’s a fundamental agreement that you simply feel because it reveals itself to you through ideas, coincidences, synchronicity’s, obligations that you can’t get out of, mad love you can’t stop, serendipity’s. People are in the dark about their reason for being here. People define it by what they want instead of what they have. People suffer when they pursue a life or chase a dream that doesn’t belong to them.”
So I listened and cried…I was vulnerable and my heart was wide open. (I try to avoid feeling this way🙈 Hello white claw, amazon, donuts, gossip, Netflix binges.) This time I sat with it. I felt it. I resisted the urge to run away and “do” something else. I resisted the urge to stop “feeling”.
I got it together eventually and turned on my computer to finish my training for work on Alzheimer’s.
There it was…
Chapter 7 SPIRITUAL & PALLIATIVE CARE FOR ALZHEIMER’S
Right there…was GRACE.
If I read this last night while crabby, frustrated and jaded- I would’ve missed what I really needed to learn. Thankfully grace intervened telling me to take a break, it’s ok. Grace was giving me permission.
I was now able to read this chapter on spirituality and what individuals with Alzheimer’s need with an open heart and open mind; despite my struggling with my faith the day before. Instead of being annoyed and complaining about this training I had to do; I was exceptionally grateful that I was given this opportunity from my employer to learn this. I realized by “hurrying up” and “just trying to get it done”; I would have missed the joy and pain of learning this.
I oddly found clarity by feeling both sadness and gratitude/joy and pain simultaneously. I was able to see the answer to my earlier question about “how am I supposed to feel joy without guilt?” to fully grasp and recognize what I read last week in Brene Brown’s Braving the Wilderness below:
“The more we diminish our own pain or rank it compared to what others have survived…the less empathetic we become. When we surrender our own pain to make others feel less alone… or to make ourselves feel less guilty… we deplete ourselves of what it feels like to be fully alive and fueled by purpose.” -Brene Brown
Below is Caroline Myss Ted talk.
Brene Brown On Practicing civility